Before I really delve into April Henry’s Torched, let me just say that I am not an enviromentalist. I do, however, think something must be done before the earth is completely destroyed. Do I know what that something is? Not so much. Am I willing to do anything to save the planet? No. There are some lines that I will not cross.
The main character in Torched faces a dilemma of her own. Ellie’s parents have just been arrested for a variety of marijuana-related charges, but the FBI is willing to drop the charges if Ellie will go undercover to infiltrate an environmental group suspected of ecoterrorism. The FBI suspects the group, MED, or Mother Earth Defenders, is escalating its efforts and will soon turn to violence to further their cause. Ellie is charged with the task of providing the feds with information on the group’s activities and evidence of violent actions.
Ellie, or Sky as she’s known in MED, is soon entrenched in the group. She knows that some of their actions are questionable (like blowing up a Hummer dealership), but MED stands by its claim to harm none. Ellie even falls for a fellow MEDic named Coyote. This complicates her agenda even more. She must decide if she wants to stand with her new friends in defense of the environment and risk losing her parents if she doesn’t cooperate with the FBI.
When things go sour and MED gets a new, more aggressive leader, Ellie knows it is time to act before someone is seriously hurt or even killed. Ellie knows that steps must be taken to save the environment, but she is not willing to risk human lives to do it. What will she do? Will she succeed before innocent lives are lost? I’ll let you find out when you read Torched by April Henry.
Torched is a great book, and I think it would be a good starting point for discussions on the damage we are doing to the planet, how we can turn things around, and how far some people are willing to go to change things.