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Friday, January 3, 2014

Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader

Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: August 18, 2013
Source: Publisher
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Rating: A

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 fa├žade 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?

I really wish that I got to read Escape from Eden sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, my classes got in the way this past semester. Eventually... winter break came and rescued me from my exams and semester long projects, which means I finally got to devour this little beauty. After finally reading Escape from Eden, I can honestly say it was nothing short of sensational.

I've always had a slight interest in cults and how the brainwashing typically comes into play. Why are these people so gullible? How can they really believe everything this cult leader is saying, no matter how bizarre it may be? Living in the world that Nadar created was mind-boggling in the best possible way. Sure, this novel is a work of fiction but after doing some research about cults this past semester, I've come to learn some of the events that occurred in  Escape from Eden aren't that far off from some real life events that have happened in the past. After learning that, well, I'm officially creeped out.

The first half-ish of Escape from Eden wasn't totally eventful but it was still completely compelling. You get to learn about the community, Edenton, that Mia and her family resides in. I found Mia to be relatable and authentic in her actions and was happy to root for her throughout the story. The romance in the story isn't the main focus and I enjoyed that, because much bigger and more important things were happening. For how much romance there is, it's done well and adds a little something to keep readers interested.

The second half-ish of Escape from Eden is shocking and sickening and I loved every minute of it. I kept catching myself trying to read ahead to see what happens, and then covering the rest of the page up to contain myself. I really respect the author and publisher for keeping Escape from Eden a standalone novel because I'm sure it could have easily been turned into another trilogy in the YA world. BUT, they kept it a standalone and it worked out perfectly.

If you couldn't already tell, I completely recommend this book to anyone interested in cults or even wanting an exciting read. If you decide to check it out, I'd love to know what you think! Leave a comment down below and let me know your thoughts.