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Torched Hardcover – March 5, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (March 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After16-year-old Ellie’s aging hippie parents are arrested for growing pot in their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, the FBI makes a deal: her parents will go free if she agrees to infiltrate the local activist group, Mother Earth Defenders (MEDs), who may be planning not only ecoterrorism to protest corporate greed and pollution but also harm to individual people. To prove herself to the MEDs and to the FBI, she helps set fire to the local Hummer dealership. But how far will the MEDs go? And the police? The contemporary mix of politics and thrilling action will grab teens, not just environmentalists, as Ellie must decide how to save her parents and save the earth. Romance adds to the conflict as she falls in love with gorgeous MED member Coyote, who is both an activist and an ardent pacifist. Both the MEDs and the FBI have good guys and bad guys, and this suspenseful story will spark discussion about what it means to fight for right “by any means necessary.” Grades 8-11. --Hazel Rochman


...the thrills and action will keep readers interested. --Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

When I was 11, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He took it to lunch and showed it to the editor of a British children's magazine - and she asked to publish the story! (For no money, which might have been a warning about how hard it is to make a living writing.)

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years - when I wrote a book a year, worked full time, and had a baby - are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 15 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been chosen for IndieNext, translated into eight languages and won awards in several states. And Face of Betrayal, which I co-wrote with Lis Wiehl, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.

I have also reviewed literary fiction, YA literature, and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

In 2014, look for two books: The Body in the Woods, the first in the Point Last Seen series, and A Deadly Business, co-written with Lis Wiehl.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. McGovern on June 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In too many books, the environmental message just about hits you over the head but the main characters are usually followers. I like Torched because it takes a different approach and not only highlights the activities of a group of activists but also shows that the line between right and wrong is not clear-cut. Questions pop up constantly but in a way that makes the reader think. To what lengths are people willing to go to do what's right, especially for a greater global -- not personal -- good? What are the implications for society as a whole when people give up all other livelihoods to dedicate their lives to activism? Do the ends sometimes justify the means? Do good people step outside the law sometimes?

My only issue with the novel is that the FBI charge against Ellie's parents seems too unbelievable. But, then again, maybe this is how the FBI really does work!
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Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

Ellie is the adopted daughter of a couple of old hippies. They love telling stories about their past as young rebels and spend their time looking out for new causes and smoking pot. It wasn't unusual, then, when members of MED, the Mother Earth Defenders, started hanging around in Ellie's living room. There were some fairly lively discussions and one pretty cute guy named Coyote.

When Ellie agreed to a couple of coffee shop dates with Coyote, little did she know she would soon be learning more about him and the MEDics' causes than she ever wanted to know. The cops had evidently been keeping an eye on Ellie's house because known members of the group had been meeting there. During a raid to arrest the group cops had labeled "ecoterrorists," Ellie's parents were arrested for drug trafficking.

Being arrested was not new to the couple, but in the past they had been younger and healthier. Now the prospect of jail time was frightening, especially for Ellie's father and his weak heart. In order to protect her parents, Ellie finds herself agreeing to help the FBI in their investigation of the MEDics.

Now Ellie is closer than ever to the handsome Coyote, but she also can't believe she is buying dark-colored clothing from the Goodwill store and planning a solo initiation attack to convince the group that she is legit. Once she is accepted as part of the group, things begin to escalate. They may be protecting "mother earth," but they don't seem to be above taking human lives to further their cause.

TORCHED by April Henry is an edge-of-your-seat thriller. The book starts with a Prologue that puts readers in the thick of the action, and things don't slow down from there until the end.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Ellie is used to her parents having groups of friends over to smoke marijuana and get stoned. She often feels more like the parent than the child, cooking for the people who drop in and cleaning up when they leave. Otherwise she spends her time trying to do well in school. But when the FBI raids her home and arrests her parents for growing marijuana in their basement, she can't go back to living life as she knew it.

The FBI most wants to find out about the activities of the Mother Earth Defenders, (MED) a radical environmental group that her parents were meeting with. The FBI will let her parents go, but only if she agrees to infiltrate MED and pass along information about any violent actions the group plans to take. Against her wishes, Ellie agrees to help.

But as she gets more involved with the group, and she begins to fall for Coyote, one of its members, she begins to see why they are so passionate about their cause. Torn between wanting to help her parents, her growing love for Coyote and her concern for the environment, Ellie must walk a fine line and lie to everyone she cares about. How can she see it through without losing everyone she cares about as well?

Torched by April Henry will keep you turning pages as you follow Ellie from fire-bombing a Hummer dealership, to tree sitting and more. Her conflicted conscience brings up great things to talk about in a mother-daughter book club. Among other things it asks the reader to ask: How far would you go to support a cause you thought was vitally important? What would you do if you could help someone you loved, even if it was dangerous? While you may expect to have a happily-ever-after ending, Henry keeps you guessing at the outcome right to the last page.
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Format: Hardcover
Ellie's parents have always been eccentric hippies. They start having MED or Mother Earth Defenders, hanging out in their front room. They all seem to be very devoted and there is a cute boy named Coyote.
It turns out that the cops have been watching her house and her parents are growing marijuana. Her parents aren't as young as they were. Ellie's father doesn't have the best heart and might not be able to handle jail.Ellie has a chosen to work for the FBI and go undercover to spy on the MEDics. She is now closer to Coyote, but it comes with a cost. The MEDics' cause can dangerous. Especially when protecting the Earth might cause a lost of lives.
Torched is a fairly great book. The characters are fairly awesome. The plot is really exciting. It was really action packed. I felt that there were a few things that I didn't like, Ellie and Coyote's relationship seemed over developed. The message was amazing though, that sometimes too much of a good thing can turn out to be overall bad.
Peace out, Sarah.
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