Publication Date: November 7, 2013
Published: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Source: Cuddlebuggery - Little Blogger, Big Ambitions
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.
Thanks to Cuddlebuggery and their Little Blogger, Big Ambitions program for providing me with this copy of After Eden by Helen Douglas.
I don't read a lot of Sci-Fi. Not because I don't like it, but when I'm looking for new reads I tend to go for what I know, or what I'm feeling at the moment. This story, while not labeled science fiction, had the elements of a science fiction read; time travel, astronomy, aliens (kind of).
Eden and her friends are living their average lives when in walks Ryan. He's hot, smart, artistic, which we are reminded of many many times in the first hundred pages of this book. But the main thing about him, he's mysterious. That is until Eden puts together the puzzle that is Ryan and becomes the lone person to know his family's secret.
I wouldn't call this a triangle, per say, but there's definitely enough jealousy and curiosity that it could have easily become one.
There are some interesting tidbits about astronomy, and the way that the time travel is explained is believable. These aspects I loved. The plot itself was good in theory, but I found it predictable. Before I reached the halfway mark I figured out who the "bad guy" was and since the majority of the book pointed at a love story between Ryan and Eden I figured it would conclude just as it did.
My biggest problem with this story, however, were the plot devices. Everything always works out perfectly for one reason or another (i.e. Ryan showing up at every turn, the limitless credit he carries around in his wallet, Eden being gifted a car a day before she'll need it). It isn't that I expected this author to let anything bad happen to her main characters, but there are too many helpful coincidences.
As far as I can tell there will be a second book coming out. I felt this could standalone and probably will leave Eden and Ryan's future to my imagination.
If you can look past the Ryan-gush-fest and predictability I recommend giving this book a chance for the straightforward-storytelling.