delicate eternity logo
A haven for lovers of the written word
separate post

after edenWho #1: Helen Douglas

Who #2: Bloomsbury (UK & ANZ)

What: After Eden (After Eden #1)

When: January 1st 2014

Where: GoodreadsKoboAmazonBook Depository

Why: Mysterious boys. You could say they are a weakness of mine.

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review.

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.


After Eden was a quick cute read, perfect for a summer afternoon.

The story of After Eden was easy to follow; there were no giant or unexpected reveals, but the storyline was also interesting. After Eden follows our main character, Eden, as she goes through her last year of school. New boy Ryan arrives – cue fangirling by the masses, but he only has eyes for Eden. This story was sweet in its predictability.

Sadly, none of the characters felt truly real in After Eden. There were moments where uniqueness and believability would shine through – see the telescope scene at the dance – but overall, I was left wanting a bit more from our characters. They had the potential to be very well rounded, and the story overall could have given rise to it. But it kind of feel flat, unfortunately.

I felt as if Eden was your run-of-the-mill YA protagonist. The only thing that made her stand out a little bit was the fact that she was a vegetarian. I like it when characters have unique and defining characteristics like this one. However, when Eden was eating cheese, I found myself wondering if it contained microbial rennet or not, because then it wouldn’t actually be vegetarian. It makes me wonder if Douglas researched vegetarianism, or just assumed no one would know about the case of the rennet. Being vegan, I was slightly sceptical of Eden’s vegetarian ways. And even though Ryan was a vegetarian for slightly different reasons, I was kind of swooning over him because of that fact. I have never read a book about a vegetarian boy, and I found that I very much liked it. Very much.

I think one of the main things that After Eden was lacking was suspense. Whenever something was revealed, there seemed to be no lead up. I wasn’t surprised by any turn of events, even though I thought this book was about aliens before I realised it was about time travel. I think if the reveals of important information had been a little bit more ‘led up to’, for lack of a better term, After Eden could have been a more exciting read.

One of the upsides of this novel was the relationship development between Eden and Ryan. The love part did escalate quite quickly, but the book itself spans quite a few months, even though it is quite small. But what I liked was the progression of Eden and Ryan as friends. They actually spent time with each other, and got to know one another before diving headfirst into a relationship (which didn’t actually happen for a variety of reasons). I liked the cute and awkward teenage love scenes that Douglas included between Eden and Ryan, they were amusing to read.

Ohmygosh, our main character actually had friends in After Eden, that weren’t just there in times of girl chat or dire need. There was pool, and studying, and actual things that teenagers take part in – like drinking, and dancing. I was pleased to finally read about healthy teenage friendships in After Eden.

Overall, I did like After Eden, and it was an enjoyable read. I am interested to see where Douglas takes the story, especially since it is alluded to that Eden time travels in the next book. I would like to read the descriptions of future places in the sequel.

© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

Your Turn: When you know a lot about a topic mentioned in a book do you scrutinise it more than you would if you knew nothing about the topic? Do you think suspense is a necessary ingredient for a novel? Let me know in the comment section below!

separate post
Posted on: March 10, 2014 • By: Chiara

12 Responses to Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas

  1. I think if I didn’t know a topic that well, I would still probably scrutinise it. The author should make you understand the gist of the topic so I keep a close eye for that.

    I’m really excited to read Aften Eden though because, hey if the romance is that good I can handle predictable plot :D

  2. I find myself frustrated when a character is supposed to be an expert in something and they have the details all wrong. I have a degree in psychology and I was recently reading a book about a woman doing a clinical trial on something or other. I was almost screaming at the book because I’m not sure the character had ever even heard the word ethics before let alone had her trial screened by an ethics board! And the giant faults just kept getting more and more annoying :P

    I’m not saying that authors have to be experts in everything – clearly that’s not going to be possible but they should steer clear or do more research on parts.

    Like with Eden and the vegetarianism – why have her eat cheese at all? (not having read the book it may have been a plot point? but they could have just avoided it all together.

    I liked the review Chiara. Sounds interesting – although not sure I’d enjoy a book where the premise (aliens/timetravel) is not completely obvious for so long.

    • Chiara says:

      Yes, I think if someone’s using a profession or a lifestyle that a reader may know a lot about – they need to be careful.

      It would have been better just to avoid the cheese thing altogether, in my opinion. It just brings up the question of whether it was researched or not.

      Thank you! :D

  3. This book sounds really great! And I love the pink on the cover :)

  4. Kelly says:

    I had similar feelings for this one – it was a nice, fluffy read! I didn’t mind the lack of suspense, since it went along well with the overall lightness of the story.

    • Chiara says:

      I think it’s nice to read cute and fluffy pieces every now and again. Sometimes every book I pick up is about the end of the world or something equally dramatic. This one was like a breath of fresh air. :)

  5. I love time travel books, so I’ve been thinking about reading this one. Most of the reviews have been just ok, though. I do like the fact that Ryan and Eden are friends and that the author has cute and awkward love scenes between them. I actually don’t mind that it lacks suspense if it’s meant to be more light and fluffy, which it sounds like it was. Great review!

    • Chiara says:

      It’s not your average time travel book, because there isn’t any IN the book – if that makes sense!
      I definitely was a fan of the awkward love scenes. I thought they were cute.
      And yes, the lack of suspense added to the light feel of the book, so I didn’t mind too much. :)

  6. Brea Johnson says:

    I have this one ready to read now! Too bad about the predictability, but a cute romance can always win me over.
    And healthy friendships in YA? No way! :O

    I am most definitely critical about topics that I feel I know well books- mostly though, I like to see if the author actually has taken the time to do some research. If they have, I feel a lot more appreciation towards the book and the author for taking such care and effort.
    A really good example of this is Crash into You by Katie McGarry. I know nothing about cars, but neither did she when she realised her main boy was a car fanatic.
    I read this interview and she goes into so much detail about what she had to do to get a better understanding. Including going to mechanics and legal car races to suss it out and learn all the regulations, rules and basic car workings. I just held that book in my hands afterwards, and saw just how much work the author had to do to create this! Not just the hours of writing, but everything else to make it so much more real.

    I really rattled on there, sorry. xD

    • Chiara says:

      Yes! The cute romance and actual friendships were definite upsides of this novel. :D
      You got that so right. I was critical of the author for mentioning something that most likely was incorrect. It felt like Eden being a vegetarian was just a plot device rather than a well researched aspect of her personality.
      That’s so cool! I definitely have so much respect for authors who immerse themselves in the lives of their characters like that. Your comment actually makes me want to read that book now. :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *