By Helen Douglas, published by Bloomsbury.
Goodreads synopsis: 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.
My Review: After Eden just blew me away! I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, as I’ve seen the (vibrant and gorgeous!) cover popping up all around the blogosphere. Why were so many people eagerly anticipating this book?
After reading it, I definitely knew why. After Eden was absolutely amazing.
It all began as a bit of a typical, high school set book: our protagonist a typical girl, not too popular, but not an outcast, and the mysterious new American boy. I quite enjoyed seeing Eden start to figure out everything: as she is drawn closer to Ryan whilst finding out some strange things about him (like how can he not know who Hitler was?!). As well as the whole time-travel thing (watch out. In a little while I will be going into a full on rant about that.), there was also this subplot, which was a tiny bit predictable but still very enjoyable: Eden’s best friend is in love with her, and this is all slowly revealed and really shakes things up. The plot was really well structured: there was a great build up to Eden’s discovery, with her playing the detective. And then, it was well paced, with drama and a developing relationship that made a plan at the ending come together. It was all really clever, with some great plot twists and shocks!
Eden was a really brilliant protagonist. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to like her or not at the beginning, but I grew to really love her. she developed really well throughout the events of the book, too, which was great! I found her to be a really strong heroine- although it was a bit strange that she just accepted that Ryan was from the future, I loved how she was so willing to help him, putting aside any shock or screams and helping to save the future of Earth. A lot of pressure, right? Than there was also her relationship with Ryan. I loved that aspect of the book! It made for a really tragic love story- because he would have to return to the future, maybe meet her great grand children, and never see her again. It was heartbreaking to even imagine poor Eden being left behind in his past, to be replaced by her future generations. However, there was a brilliant outcome to their love story, which I absolutely adored! The ending really showed how caring and loveable Ryan was. The author has portrayed him as the typical YA heartthrob, though he seems so much different from your Jace or Tobias (not that they’re not awesome!). I really understood him, even though I think the focus was intended for Eden’s feeling. Team Ryan!! I also really loved the story behind his name: there are a few future-people in this book who are named after constellations. Ryan changed to Ryan when he went back in time. His real name is so clever!
*this paragraph will contain spoilers!*
Okay, rant time. As a proud Whovian (Doctor Who fan, for those of you who are unfamiliar), I cannot help but notice the extreme flaws in the whole scientific aspect of this book. This part may be a little spoilerish if I get carried away. t will also likely be incredibly confusing. Apologies in advance! So, if Ryan was to use the help of Eden to save the Earth by stopping somebody she knows from discovering something that will affect the future, if Ryan goes back into the future, shouldn’t he have forgotten her? Because everything would have been repaired and so there would never have been a problem in the future and so he would never had gone back in time so there would be a nine month long empty gap in his life. Wouldn’t this then cause a paradox that could disrupt the continuity of space and time? How could he then have traveled back to see Eden again? Because his meeting her would be non-existent, so how could he have known her to go back and see her? My inner science nerd got so annoyed at this! So if you are reading this book very carefully and noting the scientific aspects, you will probably notice this.
Overall, though, and aside from the whole time travel thing, After Eden was just so amazing. I loved the whole idea for it, it was so imaginative! Eden was a really great character, and it was so interesting to read about how she discovers what happens in the future. It’s also really genius how it all links to her, especially her name. Ryan was a character that it was quite hard not to fall in love with. Jace Wayland, watch out! The plot was really engaging, and rich with detailed imagery that made the story really spring to life. Helen Douglas is an amazing author… I really can’t wait to read her next book!
I received a copy of After Eden from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.