The Right & the Real

I pre ordered my copy of The Right & the Real, the new YA novel by talented writer Joëlle Anthony, but if I hadn’t, the book trailer would have made me buy it.

The solo electric guitar playing of Nathan Tinkham is all  you hear when you watch the trailer for The Right & the Real, and his raw, emotionally wrought version of Amazing Grace combined with the images and written words is chilling.

I wrote about Joëlle Anthony’s previous novel, Restoring Harmony, here. I can’t wait to read The Right & the Real, Publisher’s Weekly says it’s a harrowing page turner.

You know where I’ll be tonight.


Restoring Harmony


I’m not going to write a synopsis of Restoring Harmony because enough other reviewers have done that, but I am going to voice my praise.

Mixing music with the dangers of a dystopian world is a stroke of genius and in writing Restoring Harmony Joëlle Anthony has created a wonderful story for middle grade students and young adults.

Her Canadian heroine, Molly McClure, is a talented musician but more importantly she is a sweet and loving person. Filled with generous gestures and kindnesses, Restoring Harmony reminds us that these things are desperately needed in our world today.

In any story labeled dystopian the reader can be certain something very bad is going to happen. We start to worry when Molly loses her shoes and our brows furrow further when her Grandmother is slow to recognize her when she shows up at her grandparents’ house after her grueling journey through the broken urban landscape of Seattle. In Restoring Harmony civilization has all but disintegrated and when Molly realizes her friend is involved in a mob like organization, the story becomes truly scary.

But by using gardening to symbolize nurturing and music to symbolize hope and connection, Ms. Anthony paints the future not only with the dark colors of despair, but with the light hues of goodness. In doing so she reminds us that darkness may very well descend on our real world if we don’t wake up and show more support and love for one another.

Family is one of the main themes of Restoring Harmony, which makes the book ideal for parents to share with older children as a read aloud.

This story is an inspiration to live the way Ms. Anthony writes, that is, to lead with the heart. In an era where cynicism and sarcasm often rule the day, I’m happy to find a writer like Joëlle Anthony who values innocence, hope and love. Like fiddler Molly McClure’s music, Ms. Anthony’s writing is capable of restoring a bit of harmony to us all.