Monday, December 27, 2010

The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going

Title: The Garden of Eve
Author: K.L. Going
Publisher: Harcourt
Hardcover, 232 pages
Date Published: September 25, 2007

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Evie reluctantly moves with her widowed father to Beaumont, New York, where he has bought an apple orchard, dismissing rumors that the town is cursed and the trees haven't borne fruit in decades. Evie doesn't believe in things like curses and fairy tales anymore--if fairy tales were real, her mom would still be alive. But odd things happen in Beaumont. Evie meets a boy who claims to be dead and receives a mysterious seed as an eleventh-birthday gift. Once planted, the seed grows into a tree overnight, but only Evie and the dead boy can see it--or go where it leads.
For eleven year old Evie, moving with her father from Michigan to New York is torture. Not only is she leaving behind her family and friends and the only life she’s known, but she’s leaving behind her Mom, who died ten months ago from cancer. For Evie, the apple orchard means nothing and her life is devoid of magic because her mom is gone, but with the gift of a seed an adventure blooms. One that may help Evie believe in magic once more.

Evie’s story is heartfelt with lovely little touches of fantasy. As a character, Evie is wholly realistic. Her grief radiates off the pages and is enhanced by the stark atmosphere around her. Her new home of Beaumont, NY is full of dead trees and empty buildings. Thought to be cursed, the orchard that her father just bought is not only their home, but also a place that sits directly beside a cemetery, constantly reminding Evie of her loss.

Evie’s father reminds me of people I’ve met in the past, lost in their own lives and doing the best they can in the only way they know how. He’s not the best, most sensitive father in the world, but he loves his daughter with his whole heart. Snippets of flashbacks to Evie’s mother Tally bring the woman to life and make both Evie’s and her father’s grief resonate that much more.

The fantasy elements arise with the story behind a seed given to Evie by Rodney, the man who used to own the house. Rodney had never met Evie, but he insisted that his sister give a girl named Eve the seed. With this, the Biblical story of Adam and Eve begins to play out. Evie goes on quite the adventure with a ghost boy named Alex, where they both learn that magic is all about believing.

K.L. Going has weaved a beautiful tale about grief, magic, hope, and life beyond death with The Garden of Eve. I’ve read some reviews that complain that the book is too overtly religious and has too many Biblical references, but I’d disagree. School age children are not going to be reading this book and thinking about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. All these things are mentioned, but religion is so far from being the focus here. The Garden of Eve is the perfect story for a blustery day – with the right amount of grief, countered by a touching story of believing in the magic that still exists after death.

Opening line: “Once there was a beautiful garden.” ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: Watching him now was like meeting someone on the street who you hadn’t realized was missing – you felt all the pleasure of seeing them and all the pain of missing them at once. ~ pg. 29
And this one captures Evie's grief:
“How long ago did your mom die?”
“It’s been ten months now,” Evie said.
“How can you live without her?”
Evie studied the darkened trees. “Sometimes I don’t want to.” ~ pg. 115
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
 
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6 comments:

I Eat Words said...

I really like how you put the opening line and your favorite line! I never thought of doing that. And I love your site. :)

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Aww, thank you so much. *hugs*

I tend to have issues with the favorite line though, because I usually have more than one and can't decide which one to post. I have an entire word document of other fave lines that were too long or I just didn't post.

brandileigh2003 said...

I haven't heard of this one but it sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review.

E.J. Stevens said...

Wow, this sounds like a fabulous read (and I love that cover!). Great review!
xx,
E.J.
From the Shadows

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

It's a great book for middle grade aged students. I picked it up a long time ago, but I'm happy I finally got around to reading it.

~The Book Pixie said...

I've been reading more MG lately and this sounds like a really lovely book. And that cover is so stunning! Thanks so much for the review. Will be adding this one to my wishlist. :D

~Briana

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