Friday, December 8, 2017

Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan, 2017

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It starts like any other day for Jess. Get up, draw on eyeliner, cover up tattoos, and head to school. But soon it's clear that this is no ordinary day, because Jess's best friend, Eden, isn't at school . . . she's gone missing.

Jess knows she must do everything in her power to find Eden. Before the unthinkable happens.

So Jess decides to retrace the life-changing summer she and Eden have just spent together. But looking back means digging up all their buried secrets, and she soon begins to question everything she thought the summer had been about, and everything she thought she knew about her best friend . . .

(288 pages)

Eden Summer isn't really a book I ever would have picked up on my own–too YA for my tastes–but I was still intrigued when a copy of it showed up on my doorstep a few weeks back. I love murder mysteries, so I hoped the search for Eden would involve lots of character analyses and shocking plot twists.

Well, I was right about the first part at least. There isn't much action in the book, mainly just characters wandering around and talking/remembering, but we definitely get to know the main characters very well. I quickly came to realize that I have very little in common with Jess and Eden, both of whom are very emotionally scarred and who make some very questionable lifestyle choices. Jess lives with her mother, who decided late in life that she was actually lesbian, and is struggling to deal with her own trauma-related demons while simultaneously hunting frantically for Eden. We get to know Eden quite well through flashbacks throughout the book, learning all about the anguish she feels after her older sister died in a tragic car accident. As for the third main character, Liam, we know less about him. We mainly just know that he's Eden's boyfriend and that he and Jess have been trying to support and shelter Eden throughout the summer.

It's hard to describe why, but I just didn't really like the characters very much. I feel sorry for both Eden and Jess for their prospective traumas, yes, but I also really hate the way Eden treated her sister in the month or so before the accident. And I love that Jess is so supportive of Eden after her sister's death, but I also can't accept the action she and *ahem* someone else did shortly before Eden's disappearance. It's simply unacceptable.

Also, a content warning: the language in Eden Summer is pretty awful. There are a lot of swear words scattered throughout it, including several uses of the f-word and "hell" as a swear and also some derogatory references to Jess's lesbian mother.

Like I said at the beginning of this review, I never would have picked up Eden Summer on my own. I think I'm glad that the opportunity to read it was dropped into my lap, because it's good for me to shake up my reading habits once in a while, but I am ready to set it back down and move on to something more my usual speed.

Disclaimer: I received an unsolicited complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in order to provide an honest review.

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