Monday, August 5, 2013

Eden Is A Place On Earth

Expected Publication:  November 5th, 2013
After Eden (After Eden # 1)
By: Helen Douglas
Bloomsbury USA Children's
ISBN-13:  9781619631304

The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever.  Actually, not just her world.  Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world.  In a few weeks, Eden's best friend Connor will discover a new planet -- one where human life is possible.  The discovery will make him famous.  It will also ruin the world as we know it.  When Ryan asks for Eden's help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend's greatest achievement.  And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have ever imagined.  Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart.  That girl is Eden.

Grounded in a realistic teen world with fascinating sci-fi elements, After Eden is a heart-pounding love triangle that's perfect for dystopian fans looking for something new to devour.

     Talk about a misleading synopsis.  That last sentence especially, when they tell you that fans of DYSTOPIA will devour this book!!!  There is absolutely zilch that is dystopian about this book (other than a ruined future).  And even then, that would be considered more post-apocalyptic and not truly dystopian.  This book is more to appeal to the sensibilities of fans of light science fiction, with fantasy elements (I never quite know how to classify time travel).  Let's just get it out there: Eden is a bit of a Mary Sue.  But while I was reading the book, I didn't really notice.  I liked the aspect of her and Ryan being friends before they got romantically involved.  Probably the best thing about this book for me though was the easy bridging of the cultural/linguistic gap between Britain and America.  Normally if I'm reading a British teen novel, the slang is so overwhelming that it gets in the way of my enjoyment, as I have absolutely NO FREAKING CLUE what's going on!  In this book, it's told straight off the bat that it's set in England, and there are some word choice differences.  But it's nothing that gets in the way of enjoying/understanding the book.  Which was awesome for me as an American.
     That said, this book was mostly focused on romance, possible romance and lack of romance, rather than the time travel aspects/planetary discovery.  Eden does not share her best friend Connor's feelings, so when he starts acting strange when Ryan enters the picture it throws off the entire balance of them being 'best friends.'  But honestly, I never really saw them being best friends in this book.  I got no background or scenes with them together than really made me understand their supposedly close relationship.  If anything, the author seems to go out of her way to make him seem like a complete douchebag.  Connor's attitude seems to be that it's okay to be friends with Eden, but if she decides to be romantically interested in someone it had better be him -- or else that friendship doesn't mean jack shit.  The rest of the group of friends, beyond Ryan & Eden & Connor, isn't really fleshed out all that much and they are pretty much just placeholders who move along the plot of the book without any actual purpose.  There were some sweet things about this book.  I liked when Eden and Ryan planted the apple tree and buried the time capsule.  Also, the conversations about Ryan not knowing what pizza is or who Hitler was were pretty funny. 
     The momentum of the plot was slow for the majority of the book, picking up a little closer towards the end.  The time travel 'cleaner' (aka hitman who takes care of anyone who might suspect anything) wasn't all that surprising in his identity.  The ending in regards to Connor's discovery of the planet he names Eden, which carries a destructive virus, was rather anticlimactic.  It also didn't hinge upon Eden as much as they'd originally thought.  The sweet romantic scene with Ryan and Eden at the end made me smile.  But I spent the majority of the book wondering how the Hell Ryan got this assignment, when he's obviously kind of a bumbling moron.  Whatever, I guess.  It was enjoyable for the piece of fluff that it is, but don't expect much in the way of actual sci-fi in the plot, there isn't really a love triangle, and THIS IS NOT A DYSTOPIAN.  Thank you!  I'd recommend if for a bit of fun, light reading.
VERDICT:  3/5  Stars
*I received this book as part of Around The World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is November 5th, 2013.*

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