I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Escape From Eden by Elisa Nader
on August 18th 2013
Genres: Thriller, YA
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Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape.
But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s façade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?
This book is so fun… in a morbid kind of way. It’s dark and twisted, but oh so well done. I loved every minute of it! There is a creep factor running through the story, even from the first page. I was left with a dark foreboding in my gut. It was only a matter of how wrong this situation could go. And it goes SO wrong!
I was on the fence about putting a maturity warning on it. The main characters are all mid teens, but there is a lot of mature material within these pages, including violence and mild sexual content. I wouldn’t suggest it for younger, or overly sensitive teens.
One of the best things that Nader manages is the world within a world. The majority of the book takes place in the compound, and there is a whole infrastructure within those walls. She creates a believable living situation, the likes of which I never could have imagined without her help. Even with the exotic South American location, it was more the religious super-structure that struck at me. I was raised by open minded parents, who gave me the freedom to discover my own religious beliefs, so it took a lot to have me believe this zealous lifestyle. She totally did it! I bought it hook, line and sinker!
There is a large cast, though only a few major players. Mia was instantly tugging at my heart. A reluctant member of the colony, she is only there for her mother and younger brother, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming of life beyond the borders. It isn’t until Gabriel comes to the colony, kicking and screaming, that she truly begins to see the truth in front of her face. I loved the villains in this story, but I was so on edge that I had a hard time identifying who they were. Who can be trusted when you’re surrounded by lies? This is the kind of guessing game that I love from a book! My only complaint about the characters was that the parents were virtually non-existent. While it made for a more exciting story, I can’t imagine ever being so detached from my own kids in this way.
There is so much to take away with you after reading this book. This is the kind of book that makes you think and rethink. While the morals don’t smack you in the face, if you’re looking for one, you’ll have plenty to choose from. It’s dark. It’s thrilling. It’s fabulous. Easy for me to recommend. And, if I haven’t convinced you yet, it’s on sale until the end of the month! $1.99!
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