Blog tour time again *twirls* and today it's Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader (: For the rest of the tour you can check out the tour schedule at YA Bound Book Tours
Firstly thanks to Elisa Nader and YA Bound Book Tours for providing a copy of the book for review as part of the tour <3
"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?"
Date Read: September 12 - 17 2013
Release Date: August 18th 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Source: Review copy via tour host
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ (Actual rating 3.5)
In a year of post-apocalyptic Dystopians, science-fiction and new-adult debuts, Escape from Eden was a really refreshing and different read – it touched on a subject I don’t think I’ve ever read before and I really enjoyed it.
Set in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, the cult following of Eden is led to believe that their way of life is perfect and their town of Edenton is a utopia. Except for our protagonist Mia who dreams of life outside Edenton and remembers a different time of freedom back in the normal world.
“Edenton was created to shelter us from these temptations and keep our focus on the worship of our true God.”
I quite liked Mia’s character and voice for the most part. She definitely grew on me as the book went on; in the beginning I thought she was a bit dull and I was VERY worried about her reaction to new Edenton boy, Gabriel – it was scarily close to insta-love and Nader put the brakes on just in time. That aside, I saw her determination as the story progressed and her ever growing doubt of the Reverend’s claim that Edenton had a perfect way of living. While bold most of the time, her actions could also be justifiably called stupid. I thought she ran into situations too much without thinking things through properly but I guess those actions can be excused because of the brainwashing nature of the compound. What really annoyed me about Mia though was how she kept getting distracted by Gabriel. He’s a boy, get over it. There were so many times where his close proximity in dire situations nearly cost them their lives because being so close to sexy Gabriel made her freeze up. HELLO THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS AT HAND *face palm* Otherwise I think I did like Mia. She was devoted to her mother and younger brother, she cared about her friends and had morals and strong values, but Nader didn’t make her out to be a saint/godly – and I loved that as Mia was quite relatable for that part.
“Weren’t things supposed to improve as you got older? You grow into yourself, understand who you are?”
Gabriel was the character I absolutely loved. He was switched on, quick to act and really efficient. I absolutely love characters like that. Whilst he still had that act-now-think-later attitude, his actions were justifiably smart. He didn’t dawdle, got to the point and I loved his snark. Ohmygoodness his snark was like the best part of the book. But Gabriel wasn’t without his faults. He’s haunted by a traumatic past and there’s no denying that for all his awesomeness, he’s also a player and a bit of a prick sometimes.
“Gabriel squinted, looked past Doc’s fingers, and said, ‘Hey Doc, did know your dreads are as thick as Snickers…’”
The secondary characters were an interesting mix. The Reverend himself was very rarely encountered first-hand by Mia – he was sort of in the distance but I think that highlighted his role in their compound and how close he really was to his people. I liked how many of the Edenton “family” annoyed me – they were all brainwashed and their actions and ways of thinking reflected this. More than once I got so pissed at Mia’s mum and her bunk mates I wanted to throw my Kindle but I think that shows Nader just did her job very well; she wrote characters that were such ardent followers of this cult it was highly believable!
Now the romance was quite interesting. Romance didn’t play a particularly large part in the book per se, but attraction and Mia’s reactions to Gabriel were very evident. I’m not sure how I feel about that as I mentioned before I got really annoyed with Mia’s priorities going all out of order as soon as Gabriel entered the scene. Nonetheless, Nader writes (first) attraction very well without the need to be graphic!
“My stomach fluttered. It was as if my body began to blossom, awaken, after seasons of cold.”
The plot played out as I expected it to – aka I predicted the main twist BUT I really liked how everything unfolded. It was enjoyable, action packed and you know what? For once, the protagonist doesn’t save the world on their own. And I loved that. Because it’s so unbelievable when a teenager just has the capacity to change a whole society and save everybody – Nader did the wonderful thing of using Mia as a catalyst that drove many events; I’m not saying Mia was passive-aggressive, she did a LOT but she didn’t do it all on her own and it made me relate to her all the more!
“All impulse and nerves, I spun and darted up the road, legs pushing and pushing, blindly leading me away…”
Overall, a very enjoyable YA that touches on a subject not dealt with often, written wonderfully in a manner that flowed and with characters that were fun and believable!
“Doubt everything, find your own light… Knowledge is freedom… Faith is not wanting to know what’s true.”
Add ESCAPE FROM EDEN to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17245704-escape-from-eden
Buy LinksAmazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440563926/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1440563926&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwelisanader-20%22
About Elisa Nader
Hi. I’m Elisa. I like cheese and reading and TV show marathons. Writing is scary, but not as scary as, say, Civil War amputations. I’m an Aquarius. Uh… let’s see… I’m not very good at writing my own biography. Or autobiography. I guess this is reading more like a slightly incoherent personal ad.
Find her at the following places: