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Rootless Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.; First Edition edition (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545387892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545387897
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-In a worst-case-scenario future, climate change has taken a harsh toll. The waters are rising violently, the land that is left is a dusty wasteland, and the only thing still growing is the all-powerful GenTech Corporation's bioengineered corn (aka "superfood"). Banyan, 17, is an artist, like his missing father, creating whole forests out of scrap metal, plastic, and electronic components for the wealthy. Chance meetings with some unusual people send him on a quest to find Zion, which might contain not only the last remaining trees on Earth, but possibly his father as well. What he eventually discovers is unexpected, to say the least. Themes of loss, redemption, and sacrifice are explored, along with some big questions about science and family and love. Banyan is a strong character with believable motivation and behavior. There's a lot of violence and misery, but also a surprisingly sweet romance between him and the almost suicidally daring pirate Alpha. Supporting characters are well done. Fans of the Mad Max movies, The Hunger Games, and other blood-pounding, life-or-death adventures will find much to like here, and will look forward to further installments.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

After a cataclysmic world event dwindled the world’s natural resources to almost nil, man-made trees have become merely art installations for the very rich. Banyan is one of the best tree builders around, though one would hardly know it from the way he is starved for food and work. But his latest project, constructing a tree based on a tattoo on a rich man’s wife, takes a turn when the woman’s daughter shows him a picture of a man tied to a real, living tree. More shocking than the tree is the man—it’s Banyan’s missing father. Banyan sets out on a journey fraught with dangers including pirates, flesh-eating locusts, and perhaps the biggest of big corporate baddies: GenTech, a company that manages the masses by controlling the limited food supply of “corn.” In his ambitious debut, Howard constructs a crumbling, brutal, ignorant, mystical, and barren world, and he gets his environmental message across clearly as he sets up the next book of Banyan’s continuing adventures. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones

More About the Author

Chris Howard was awarded a Publishers Weekly "Flying Start" in Fall 2012, following the release of his debut novel, ROOTLESS (Scholastic). The follow-up, THE RIFT, will be available on ARBOR DAY, April 25, 2014, and Chris is currently working on the final book of this sci-fi trilogy that's recommended for both teens and adults. Before he wrote stories, he wrote songs, studied natural resources management, worked for the National Park Service, and spent eight years leading wilderness adventure trips for high school students. He was born and raised in the UK, but now lives in Denver, CO, with his wife. Visit him for exclusive ROOTLESS content and lots more at

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 39 customer reviews
Rootless is an adventure story with some crazy twists.
For a first novel, I found it exciting and looking forward to the next book in the series.
Chris Howard created an amazing world with fascinating characters.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo (Bookish blog) on April 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Bold, powerful, and thematically daring, Rootless is a masterpiece debut novel from Chris Howard. This astoundingly compelling and immensely satisfying novel tells the story of Banyan, a 17-year-old tree builder and an artist, who dedicated his whole life to creating trees from pieces of scrap metal and electronic elements, and is now about to be launched on a wild quest to find his missing father and the remaining trees on Earth.

"They figured me too young for a tree builder. I could see it in their eyes. Bunch of rich freaks, staring at me like I needed to impress them. But I did need to. That was the problem." (quote from the book)

The world described in Rootless is completely mesmerizing. It's dark, ruthless, sad. Filled with misery and pain. Life is cheap in this world. People die from hunger, diseases, or from the hand of another. GenTech (a big corporation) controls the food supplies. Their genetically engineered superfood provides everything that a body needs, but people don't get enough of it. And there is nothing else to eat - all the animals are dead, plants are gone, and water supplies are short. The only thing that grows in this desert of a world is a genetically modified corn, but GenTech owns the cornfields and they'll kill anyone who tries to steal from them. And so people starve, their weakened bodies get sick, their lives are cut short. And even if you're lucky enough to get enough food, there are other things out there that can - and will - kill you. Like the mutated, flesh-devouring locusts. Or the pirates. It's a mad, mad world.

"Everyone's got to have something to believe in, that's what Pop always told me. He'd spent his whole life trying to make the world worth living in. And I was damned if I was going to let him die someplace alone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Asheley on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I had a great time reading this book. Actually, I couldn't put it down. Rootless is an adventure story with some crazy twists. Tons of action. A great male leading character on a journey. A mean bad guy and a bad corporation. Locusts, pirates, poachers, stuff like that. People chasing people. Some weapons, some fighting, and some people die for their causes. There is a lot of hope and there is a little bit of romance.

The world-building is great. The language and imagery are vivid and so easy to visualize. I practically watched a movie of this book in my head while I read it. The characters are colorful. The plot - just, wow. The plot is fast-paced and action-packed. There are even what I call "important things" or social and environmental issues tucked away inside of all of the fun of this book, but it was never too heavy for me.

Rootless by Chris Howard is a strong start to what I expect will be an awesome trilogy. I recommend Rootless for fans of adventure stories, dystopian stories, and YA male leads. And everyone else too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Seventeen-year-old Banyan lives in a world without trees. In fact, he lives in a world without birds, animals or plants, as well, during a desolate time in the far future following the Darkness. He also lives in this world all alone. His mom starved when he was just a baby, and his dad disappeared a year ago and is probably long dead. Now he travels the desolate remains of the country, selling his craftsmanship to the rich. Banyan is an expert tree sculptor. Taught by his dad, Banyan digs through discarded scraps for metal, wires, glass and lighting to sculpt tree works of art. He earns enough food to survive and enough fuel to drive to his next job. He does take great pride in his work, yet it's quite a bleak and lonely existence.

Of course there are two exceptions to that zero plants/animals statement. First are the specially engineered corn crops produced by the mega firm GenTech Corporation. These corn crops feed what's left of the population and fuel their cars, plus they are the only plants impervious to the ravenous locusts. These locusts, the second exception to the zero plant/animal statement, consumed every single edible plant life including the trees. So now, with nothing else to eat, the locusts have turned to feeding on human flesh.

Then one day, Banyan's bleak world suddenly offers a spark of hope. His current tree building job introduces him to a band of people on a mission. A woman of this group has an intricate tattoo of a tree on her skin, a tattoo that maps a way to a paradise of real, living trees! Anyone who finds and claims this priceless treasure would rule the world. Banyan's love of trees peaks his interest, but what really sets his mind to this race is the recent photo he's given --- a photo of his father, very much alive, chained to these real trees!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Hoover on November 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Five things about ROOTLESS:

The whole concept of building trees is AWESOME! Yes, even if there were still trees in the world, I would still want one built for me. With glowing lights. I kind of want one now in my hot, Texas backyard to provide some shade-I-desperately-need. When my Bradford Pear out front finally dies, I am searching out Banyan.

This story is seriously crazy and cool and out there! It took me in directions I never expected when I started reading the book. I expected a dystopian similar to those I've been reading. What I got? Something totally cool and different!

I adore that the cover matches the story! Different. Eye-catching. Way cool. Sure to appeal to boys and girls, just like the story.

Touch of romance? Yes! Somehow it sneaked in there when I wasn't even expecting it and from a completely different direction than I expected. And I kind of adored that!

This book takes so many different turns and leaves so much open, I can seriously hardly wait until next year when I get my hands on book 2! Well done, Chris, on making the story complete while still leaving so much open!

In short, ROOTLESS is highly recommended for boys (finally!) and girls, fans of dystopian, those who haven't yet been introduced to dystopian, fans of sci-fi, seventh grade and up. It's fast and scary and has such a freaky and vivid vision of the world of the future. Bring on book two!
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