Author: Michelle Haley
Reading Level: Young Adult
e-book, 212 pages
Date Published: May 4, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
EDEN is a supernatural young adult novel about a small town girl who is on the brink of discovering the truth behind one of the world's most infamous legends. Arianna Foster lives in a one-horse Georgia town and is just beginning to develop feelings for her best friend Gabriel. When an unexpected and beautiful stranger from her mother's past asks Arianna to spend summer vacation with her, Arianna feels compelled to follow the stranger to a magical and mysterious place called Eden and the icy-eyed boy who is also luring her there through her dreams. What Arianna finds will have the power to indefinitely alter and extend her life, but who Arianna meets there will have the power to indefinitely alter her soul. In the end she will have to choose between Julian, the dark angel who is the keeper of the secrets she unlocks, and Gabriel, her archangel who protects her from the danger she faces. EDEN is a young, edgy twist on a legend as old as time itself.
Eden starts off very strong, with a death and the blossoming of a sure-to-be-close bond. Ariannna is introduced as this sweet, family-loving outsider. She views herself as someone unworthy of others, never having friends other than her ‘angel’ Gabriel, and that didn’t bother me at first. Both Arianna and Gabriel are easy to like in the beginning, but once they get into a fight, their immaturity showed. The two of them ignore each other and then attempt to make each other jealous. It was annoying, but bearable.
Once the paranormal aspect comes into play, via Arianna’s aunt Ava, the story spins into entirely new territory. Meeting all the new people at Eden – the lavish estate owned by Ava’s mysterious boss Julian – is an overload of spirited characters that are animated and intrigued by their new houseguest. Even though Ethan, Savannah, Walker, Sebastien, and Jade aren’t fleshed out completely, they all offered a little something to the plot.
The big mystery behind Eden and Arianna’s family is fascinating, but it’s overpowered by the love story. Normally, I enjoy a love story in my paranormal reads, but I had issues connecting to Julian. The never-aging older guy with the teen girl is overdone and kind of creepy to me. I could deal with that here, but Julian is unappealing with his good guy/bad guy act. Arianna’s love/hate thing for him bothered me too. At times in the story, she’s very mature and thinks things through, but when it comes to Julian or Gabriel, she becomes this whiny, annoying girl.
Eden has a lot to offer with its unique and thought-provoking plot, but it is somewhat eclipsed by exasperating characters that flip-flop in their thoughts and emotions. With more consistency in her actions, Arianna could have been an amazing character, but she, along with Julian, fell short for me. Gabriel has his moments and I found myself liking Arianna much more when she was in his presence. Ava is an excellent sister-like figure and I enjoyed all the scenes between her and Arianna and Ethan’s quiet intensity captured my interest immediately.
Michelle Haley has attacked a topic that I’ve never seen done before in YA and she has done it in unexpected ways. Eden tackles the fragility of life and the choices we must make to be the people we want to be. Even though I had some issues, character-wise, I was engrossed with the premise and seeing exactly what was going on in Eden.
Opening line: I met him the day my parents were buried, and I’ve lived for him ever since. ~ pg. 3
Favorite lines/passages: “What fun is life without the knowledge that one day it will be your last? I love the fragility of life.” ~ pg. 120
2.5 - there's definitely an audience for it*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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