Total Pageviews

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pump Up Your Book Presents: A Garden On Top Of The World by Virginia Aronson; #BookTour, #NowAvailable, #OutNow, #Live, #Review

Title: A Garden on Top of the World
Author: Virginia Aronson
Publisher: Dixi Books
Pages: 112
Genre: YA Ecofiction
Rating:  4 Stars
#amreading #bookhoarder #blogtour #bookstoread #newrelease #greatreads #puyb #pumpupyourbook

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book for review from Pump Up Your Book and the author.  I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

The year is 2066 and life in Greenland is much warmer and more crowded, and lacking in fresh food. Sixteen-year-old Jonnie lives in the Relocation city of Shamed, where hundred-story high rises house extended families from American coastal cities relocated after the Sixth Sea Rise. Work and school are conducted from overcrowded apartments, while the homeless camp out on the streets below. Jonnie is intersex and identifies as she, although her family pressures her to identify as he.

Jonnie’s parents run a high-tech call center out of their apartment.  Her older siblings work there, and Jonnie must share a bedroom with two much older nieces. For quiet and privacy, Jonnie often retreats to the empty rooftop.

Red is a homeless man who takes up temporary residence in a pigeon coop on the roof. After Red talks about the seeds in the birds’ droppings, Jonnie gets interested in heirloom seeds. Jonnie knows little about how food grows because meals come in packages ordered online and delivered by drone. Armed with a new understanding of old-fashioned garden-grown food, Jonnie is determined to create her own garden on the roof of her high rise. Along the way, she meets a former cryosphere scientist, a botanist with an urban indoor garden, and twins her own age, one of whom is intersex.

A GARDEN ON TOP OF THE WORLD is environmental fiction for ages 12 and up. Jonnie’s search for who she is and what she might be able to offer the world is one that will resonate with readers of all ages. The information she learns about healthy food, sustainable agriculture, and urban gardens may inspire readers to start their own gardens.



 My Thoughts:

This story is one that anyone from teen on up could enjoy. I may be a reader that loves all things romance but I’ve learned that there are times where you need to get outside your comfort zone. If you don’t, you could miss a book like this.

It’s one of those books that would be good for a book club. There’s plenty to discuss and ponder here. The author has created something that might be considered our future unless we change our ways. I found it interesting how the author used something that has been out for a while but hasn’t really been in the limelight until it started being used to help people, and how she uses it here I hope never comes true. But that piece of equipment did have me think of Star Trek.

One thing our author does is show that even teenagers can be smart. Jonnie does something that even I as an adult may not have thought to do. Our young adults are starting to care about the world around them and this could be something for them to consider. I even think that at some point I may even check out Ms. Aronson’s resources. It’s not too late even for me to make a change in my little piece of the world. This book left me with one question, “will our author put pen to paper and create another ecofiction style book?”


"This is the way the world is fed."
Just think
about how our world might change in the near future. With the increase in
global temperatures, polar ice caps will have experienced significant melting,
causing significant rises in sea levels. Coastal cities will be threatened and,
unless adequate precautions have been taken, vulnerable areas of the world may
have to be evacuated. Food and land will become more scarce, feeding the world
much more difficult.
Right now less
than a hundred thousand people live in Greenland because most of the country is
snow and ice, permafrost. But if our earth grows much warmer, less hospitable
areas of the world like Greenland could become more populated as cities facing
massive water intrusion relocate residents.
How many people
might be homeless if the global situation becomes dire? How many will be
unemployed? With advancements in automation, how many will be unable to find
In the coming
decades, what will the world look like? Where will we live? What will we eat?
Will people be different than they are today?
Medical experts
have cited an increase in births of intersex babies. Human sexuality is
changing, becoming more fluid and less defined. In the future, as the global
population advances to 10 billion, such developments could be seen as
adaptation, a desirable evolutionary change.
What about
sexual (and racial and ethnic) equality? What about pollution? What kind of
technological changes will there be in 30, 40, 50 years?
Now imagine
that you are a young person living in the year 2066.
And now, meet

Once I finish
my schoolwork, I have nothing to do until dinner. Everyone else at my house is
working. When I remove my headgear, I can hear them. Talking, talking, talking.
The sound is a deep, bone-rattling drone, interrupted by occasional bursts of
laughter or yelling.
So annoying.
My family is in
the call center business. This means they don't do anything; instead,
they talk for a living. Talk, talk, talk. And the work is international. This
means they talk all day long and right through the night. You would think they
would want some peace and quiet when they're not working, but this is not the
case. Even off-duty, my family is always talking. Always gossiping and
laughing, shouting and arguing, blathering on and on.
I'm the
youngest and there are a lot of them and only one of me, so I rarely get to
speak. Not that I want to yack all the time. I prefer quiet. A serene, calm,
peaceful quiet. So I've had to adapt. Most of the time I tune them out.
But sometimes I
can't block out the noise. That's when I sneak out. I wish I could do
something, like hit the streets and explore, but this is not allowed. They think
I'm still too young to be out alone where there's poverty and crime. So
instead, I go up to the roof. It's not much and there's nothing to do, but it
is quiet up there.
I'm going to
head up there right now.
First I put on
my niece Kamara's soft blubber boots and my dad's dog-fur coat. I slide thick
white Dura-Soy socks onto my hands to keep them warm. Nobody at my house owns
gloves. My mother says there's no need to go outside in the bad weather. We
have everything we need right here, in our home.
I'm not so sure
this is true for me. Being stuck inside, studying and hanging out all day, is
so boring. Only when I'm reading or researching or doing interesting schoolwork
am I content. When my mind is engaged, it goes elsewhere. Zoom! But escape is
only temporarily. I always come back here, to a crowded apartment in a crowded
building in a crowded city.
I want to go
new places. I want to do amazing things.
Right now,
however, I have to complete high school. I'm a year ahead, a junior at sixteen.
I like being challenged, but digiworld education is pretty easy. However, I
love environmental history class and nature science. I love looking at how the
world around us used to be, the early people and their simple lives, the wild
animals and their natural homes. Everything was so different back then. Nothing
looks like it did in back in 2000, 2025, even as recently as 2050. There's been
so much rapid environmental change and so many social adjustments, it's a whole
new world.
I glide through
the living room without disturbing anyone. They rarely notice me anyway, tucked
in their tiny cubicles, encapsulated in their surround-sound head screens. I
don't walk past my parents, though. Those two have eyes in the back of their
heads and they could snatch me by the hoodie and hold me here. Maybe even
assign some useless chores. Or, even worse, try to make me do some call work.
No thanks.
But I'm
invisible, so out the door I slip and up the stairwell I go. Up, up, up,
jogging two stairs at a time, eventually slowing to a brisk step-up walk. My
breath comes out in frosty spurts. The stairway is cement and holds the winter
It's a good run
up the stairs to the top, so I use it as exercise. I want to be fit and strong
so I can go on adventures. Explore other parts of Greenland, then explore the
rest of the world. But I'm sort of huffing as I power up the flights. Sitting
inside all day is not good training.
At the
ninety-ninth floor, I stop for a moment to admire my lucky talisman. An
abandoned spider web, which has been here as long as I've been coming up from
the second floor. Dusty and wispy, it hangs in the corner off the rough gray
wall. The web is perfect, an incredible design still intact. I wish a spider
lived in it. I would love to see a real live insect, observe one in its natural
I remove the
sock from my hand and reach up, gently feeling the soft silk. Impressive how a
female spider can create such gossamer material inside her own body. I'm not
sure what I will create inside mine because I am intersex. That means I am part
male and part female. I may have eggs, I may not. Whatever is in store for me,
I will never be able to weave beautiful webs, that is certain.
I drag myself
up the final flight and lean against the door to the roof. The heavy steel is
especially difficult to push open today, which indicates it's extra windy
outside. I shove the door with all my strength and, with an aggressive grunt,
manage to open it wide enough that I can slide through. I'm small and thin,
making it easy for me to fit into some of the places I wish to go. Only I want
to go everywhere. Travel the world. Visit the moon. Take up residence at one of
the space hotels, and jump on the shuttle to Mars.
Yet here I am,
stuck in the sad city of Shamed with my loud telemarketing family.
The wind is
biting, it chews at my face and neck. I pull up my hood, feeling sorry I didn't
borrow my niece Kamara's seal headdress. That kooky thing makes me look like I
have a pile of blubber on my head, but it keeps my ears warm.
I hurry across
the vast expanse of the empty roof to my spot. A small bench sits between the
solar heating units. The afternoon sun is still bright and, tucked here out of
the wind, I am soon warm and cozy.
I drop the hood
and turn my face to the sun. Winter all over the globe is mild and brief these
days, but here in Greenland it used to be brutal. Back then, nobody could sit
outside in March, their face to the winter sun.
Warmed enough
now, I pull out my dad's World War Three binoculars and stare at the activity
on the streets below. Most working people are inside, at home, probably on
their headgear. Those hanging around outside are homeless. Too many Shamed
residents are unemployed, and lots of families lose their apartments and end up
on the streets. My family is lucky to be employed.
Two raggedy men
sit side by side on the icy sidewalk, waiting for donations. I watch an elderly
man stop to give them something, but I can't tell what it is. It's flat, kind
of square, so it looks like an old book. But books are exceedingly rare, so I
doubt anyone here would donate one. After the guy shuffles off, the two beggars
argue over the donation. I watch them fighting over their prize until I'm
The streets are
harsh today. Gusts of cold wind rip off seal hats and shake solar lamp posts.
Kids dressed in layers of oversized clothing huddle in doorways. I feel sorry
for them. If you have no place to live and no screens, you have nothing to do.
You can't even go to school.
I check the
sky, looking for birds. But I don't see any. Usually I don't. There are so few
trees in the city that birds are as rare as books.
As I scan the
neighboring buildings, I peek in the uncurtained windows. I'm imagining what
the residents' lives are like in the apartments that surround ours. Sometimes I
can see people moving around their rooms, and I create stories about them in my
mind. The women care for others like my mother does. The men have interesting
work that keeps them from being bored with the limits of city life.
Two kids who
look around my age live in the building just south of ours. A girl and a boy, I
think. It's hard to tell because so many kids are intersex. They might be
twins, they sure look a lot alike except one has like an afro and the other has
long straighter hair. They study and eat together, often huddling to talk. They
nudge each other, make funny faces, laugh. Watching them makes me feel both
happy and sad. I wish I had someone like that in my life. My siblings are much
older than I am. Even my two nieces are in their twenties. My mother told me my
birth was a bit of a surprise. Had to be, she was over eighty when I was born.
My parents have great-grandkids who are around my age. So my grandnieces and
grandnephews are teenagers too.
There's no sign
of the twins today, and nothing much to see in the other windows. The frosty
wind whistles in the distance as I look across a seemingly endless vista of
rooftops. Rooftop after rooftop, stark gray and lifeless. No people, no
furnishings, no swimming pools or pretty tile patios like in the historic
photos of old city buildings in places like New York and Miami, Paris and
Shanghai. Here in Shamed, the city skyline looks like an empty parking lot,
just gravel and asphalt that stretches as far as you can see. In the early part
of the millennium, lots of cities had restaurants and observation decks on
building rooftops. How cosmic that must have been! Dining close to the stars!
Looking out at the brilliant blue sky, the green vista below with flowering
trees and pretty parks. Birds flying by, settling in the treetops. And singing!
When my parents
were kids, they lived in an alive world. Such a different world than mine. I
feel ripped off. Still staring though my spy glasses, I sigh heavily.
grumpy, are we?"
I jump off the
bench, my binoculars bouncing against my chest, then whacking my chin. I can
feel my heart racing faster than it did when I jogged up the stairs. I've never
seen anyone out here on the roof. Nobody comes up here but me.
An old man with
reddish gray hair stands a few feet away, his arms outstretched. A smirk
escapes from beneath his bushy beard. After a few seconds of us just staring at
one another, a large blue-gray pigeon suddenly appears and lands on his right
I startle and
step back, but he grins. "Wait. There's more," he says.
Another pigeon,
a pudgy brown one this time, lands on his left shoulder. He rolls his eyes and
that makes me laugh. I can't help it, he looks crazy!
he says, his grin widening when a white dove plops down on the crown of his
head. "That's better."


Virginia Aronson, RD, MS, is the author of more than forty books. She is the Director of Food and Nutrition Resources Foundation, a non-profit corporation that supports individuals, organizations, and
communities actively seeking to improve access to healthy food, nutrition education, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and a socially just food system. She is the author of two books of ecofiction:
A Garden on Top of the World (Dixi Books, 2019) and Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life.

Website Address:

Hosted By:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comments below.