In a time in the not-so distant future, all bees have gone extinct. This has completely changed the way agriculture is produced leaving a lot of people jobless and food insecure. Sasha Severn is the daughter of the infamous “Last Beekeeper”. 11 years ago, her father was arrested for keeping bees, which had become illegal because the government took it upon themselves to confiscate all beehives in order to “save the bees”. Now 22, Sasha returns to her childhood home in search of her Father’s research, but stumbles across a group of squatters living there. These people quickly become her new found family, despite the fact that she has to keep her identity as the beekeeper’s daughter a secret. That is not the only thing she has to keep secret. Sasha has witnessed the impossible. A honey bee, alive. People who claim to see bees are silenced and many have even disappeared. Sasha desperately wants to uncover the truth, but she also wants to keep her new friends safe and secure.

      This beautifully written post-apocalyptic eco-thriller jumps back and forth between timelines. One, following little eleven-year-old Sasha and the circumstances around her father’s arrest, and the other in the present, as she battles a jumble of emotions, including anger for her father having to leave her all those years ago, and suspicion that things are not adding up. 

      With the perfect amount of mystery, worldbuilding, and character building, The Last Beekeeper, is very compelling. Finding out that author, Julie Carrick Dalton, a backyard beekeeper herself, was inspired to write this story after her own colony of bees died two summers in a row from the chemicals that her neighbors were using on their lawns, really makes this story very timely and important. 

      I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good old-fashioned dystopian fiction, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking that the story could very easily not be fiction. It makes you think about the absolutely essential role of pollinators and helps you remember not to take for granted the creatures that do so much for our planet and our way of life that we may not even realize.

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