ARC Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas – Could have been better

November 4, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

ARC Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas – Could have been betterAfter Eden by Helen Douglas
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on November 5, 2013
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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When mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school Eden Anfield is intrigued. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So how come he doesn't recognise pizza and hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.As Eden falls in love with Ryan, she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written fifty years in the future. Unravelling Ryan's secret, she discovers he has one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

When I heard that this book had time travel and sci fi elements in it, I was immediately intrigued, but overall it was a disappointing. Not because it was badly written by any stretch, but because it felt like it was written for a middle grade audience.

Eden is instantly attracted to the new, mysterious boy Ryan who shows up at her school and is intrigued when he seems interested in her. Ryan seems confused as he doesn’t know what pizza and who Hitler is, but he knows everything about astronomy and the environment. She confronts him and discovers the mystery behind Ryan, who is from another time and place.

The time travel was done quite simply; used as an explanation about why Ryan was there from the future and simply that the Law of Temporal Integrity prevents him from telling anyone about time travel and what happens in the future. Of course that doesn’t stop him, because he’s so in love with Eden he tells her absolutely everything, risking her life from the cleaners who are responsible in covering the time traveler’s tracks.

This book contains all your stereotypical YA romance conventions that I can’t seem to avoid, insta-love, a seemingly perfect main character and a love triangle. From the moment they lay eyes on each other, Eden and Ryan are instantly attracted and want to get to know each other. Eden’s best friend Connor seems to get the short end of the stick, as she just “thinks of him as a brother” but it’s so incredibly obvious that he has feelings for her. I disliked how Eden just thought of him as an “underachieving beach bum” which is a mean thing to say about your best friend. This is exasperated by Ryan below:

He’s so ordinary. He’s just Connor. He’s good academically, but he’s not exceptional. I know at least a dozen people in Year Eleven who are cleverer than him. – Eden

…He just bummed around for a few years being spectacularly unexceptional. – Ryan

Aside from that, Eden is actually a decent heroine, she makes sensible and mature decisions within the book and her actions actually made sense. I can’t say the same for Ryan, who decides to spill his life story to Eden and is obsessed by “beautiful women”.

After Eden never really seemed to take off for me. Everything was incredibly predictable, the characters were bland and the ending was tied up nicely with a bow. It would be a good introductory paranormal to get into for the middle grade audience but I need something that packs a bit more punch.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. After Eden will be released 5 November 2013.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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31 responses to “ARC Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas – Could have been better

  1. Hmmm, I had been tempted to request this one on NetGalley but looking at the books pending review I decided not to, and I'm glad I did. It just sounds a bit too typical and too formulaic.

    Great review, Jeann!
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  2. Bummer! Sad you did not like After Eden 🙁 I will totally pass on this book. It's just not my cup of tea. I don't like how it is predictable and the characters were just 'mehhh' errr basic. lol. I think I won't enjoy this book mainly because of the characters. I don't like it when there are stereotypes like the football player and cheerleaders are 'cool' and snobby and all that lameness cause that is so not true. Hope your next read is better 🙂
    Leigh @ Little Book recently posted…Review-A-Thon Game #1: Whose EYE is it Anyway?My Profile

  3. Oh dear… I don't think this one's for me. It looks pretty bland, to be honest, and I'm getting so tired of everyone being instantly attracted to each other… I just want to read a book where that DOESN'T happen. Does such a book even exist?

    You review's lovely as always, though 🙂
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    • Yeah, I think we are all sick of insta love and everything, it's just so lame. I have found a few that don't feature insta love, keep an eye out in my reviews 🙂 Thank you Celine!

  4. Gah. It disappoints me when a book is marketed for the YA genre and reads more like a MG. It's one of my ultimate pet peeves! I'm sorry that you didn't really love this one. Also I'm kind of questioning the time traveler guy – I hate when people give into stereotypes like this! How does he not know about Hitler and pizza if he's from the FUTURE? O.o

    Again, I'm sorry that you didn't like this one! Lovely review! (:
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  5. Oh no! I'm sorry this was such a disappointment for you, Jeann. I avoided this book because time travel books have never really worked for me and it seems like I made the right decision.

    There's just a lot I don't like about this book judging from your review. Insta-love and annoying love triangles. And I honestly dislike the main character from that quote. That's a really mean thing to say about your best friend. Anyways, I'm sorry this didn't work for you and I hope your next book is brilliant.

    Lovely honest review, Jeann. Thanks for steering me away from it.
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Review : Pawn by Aimee CarterMy Profile

    • Yeah, I love the concept of time travel but unfortunately this one was a miss. So many annoying YA cliches, I wish we could avoid them but they are a part of the genre now. No problems Nick!

  6. I just read a book that fell this flat, too, Jeann. It's a shame because it seems like this one has so much potential – especially offering both time travel and sci-fi! Thank you for the honest review though 🙂

  7. Oh-uh, I think I've had way enough of YA stereotypes. That's quite disappointing. I've heard about this book, but not read a review yet. (I was tossing whether to request it, actually.) I'll probably stay away! I really, really love freshness…*sigh* 😉 And it never sends a good message when the protagonists don't treat their friends well.