'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Sunday, 3 November 2013

REVIEW: After Eden by Helen Douglas

After Eden by Helen Douglas 
After Eden (After Eden, #1)
Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her. 

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thanks you Bloomsbury*

“I tried to imagine myself as an old lady, grey and wrinkled, with my life behind me. And suddenly I knew what I wanted. Not in the details, but the broad sweep of things. I wanted my life to be like one of my favourite books: a big, fat novel, each page filled with smallwritten words as though the only way to cram so much life in was to make the writing really small. I wanted to be brave, take risks, make a difference, fall in love. The characters would be colourful, the landscapes exotic. I wanted my life to be a page-turner.” 

This was such a beautiful little book. A simple, time-travelling novel which had me fully immersed from the first page. This is one of those rare exceptions of YA literature which portrayed a romance which felt so comfortable to me. Most of the book is predictable (though I was surprised by one aspect) but that's part of what I loved. I was reading something familiar but with time travel involved. Time travel is still a fairly new area of literature to me, but I am really enjoying it so far. First All Our Yesterdays now After Eden, can't have gotten off to a better start really!

Helen Douglas' writing is really lovely. Her narrative is very poetical and it has some absolutely wonderful lines. As a debut this book is brilliant. It's fresh, fast-paced and captivating. I was held by her world building and loved that it was set somewhere that was relatively familiar; Cornwall. The story is very simple: Ryan has come back from the future in order to prevent an even occurring which has incredibly damaging consequences in the future. I really loved his character. He was fairly honest, not too goodie-goodie and someone I really enjoyed finding out about. I loved the relationship that developed between him and Eden as well and all of the symbolism behind certain aspects of the book.

I loved the character of Eden as well. She was so fresh and real. The friendship that she and another male character, Connor, was truly great. A friendship (without the feelings) that I once had in my childhood. I found myself pitying Connor as the story went on, but I also found him incredibly frustrating. He seemed so pushy and ridiculous. I have to give the author her props though, she definitely knows how to write teenage characters! I think that's why I didn't mind the fast pace of Ryan and Eden's relationship - when you're a teen everything happens so quickly and your first real relationship feels absolutely perfect. I thought it definitely added to the novel.

After Eden is a cute and wonderful little time travelling, YA book. It explores so many emotions: the characters are soon to be completing their GCSE's and leaving school as well as dealing with all of their teen emotions. It's a lovely read and I'll definitely be picking up the next one and am so glad that I got the chance to read this. 

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