Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas

October 28, 2013 3 - 3.5 Stars, Helen Douglas, Predictable, Science Fiction, Time Travel 8 ★★★

After Eden by Helen Douglas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's on November 7, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet—one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

Grounded in a realistic teen world with fascinating sci-fi elements, After Eden is a heart-pounding love triangle that’s perfect for dystopian fans looking for something new to devour.
I enjoy stories about time travel, but one of my big challenges can be trying to wrap my mind around the science.  Often, an author’s explanation can be so complex that I eventually give up trying to figure out whether the author has covered all the bases involving the paradoxes of time travel.  In After Eden, Helen Douglas keeps the science simple and accessible, but there were some plot points that didn’t make sense.  For just one example that happened to be mentioned in the synopsis, would someone a mere 100 years in the future not know who Hitler is?  Think about what we know today about rulers who existed thousands of years in the past.  This might seem like a small point to nitpick, but Ryan is the time traveler whose ignorance of Hitler is referenced numerous times throughout the book, and it’s one of the things that makes Eden question the veracity of his background.  I’m puzzled by the author’s decision to include this in the story; it seems sloppy, and the plot could have easily moved forward without it.

OK, now that I got that off my chest, I did enjoy After Eden.  Ryan has traveled back in time to prevent a catastrophe.  He must pose as a high school student while disguising his true purpose.  Eden and Ryan are both nice, polite, and completely unexceptional.  (Well, excluding Ryan’s whole time travel thing.)  It’s no surprise that they quickly become attracted to each other, and their relationship is sweet, if not a tad boring.  Eden must also handle her relationship with her best friend, Connor, who seems to want to transition their relationship beyond friendship.  Connor is one of the big missteps in this story.  I’m not sure what Eden finds appealing enough in him to label him as a best friend.  His main characteristic is his jealousy of Ryan, and Eden must continually swat him away like a pesky fly.  Maybe he’s a great guy, and he had a personality transplant the moment Ryan hit the scene, but this is not made clear.  As with the Hitler reference, I’m puzzled why the author portrayed him in this manner.

Problems aside, this is an easy, light read with pleasant characters, except for the Big Bad who every reader will identify long before Eden and Ryan do.  The ending was a bit sappy and highly predictable, but still sweet and satisfying.

Note – I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review posted at Goodreads.


8 Responses to “Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas”

  1. Kristen Williams

    I so agree about the Hitler thing! I’m about halfway and I’m liking it but I had trouble with that plot point too. It doesn’t make sense why he wouldn’t have been educated a bit more before traveling in the past. He can recite Shakespeare but doesn’t know what a hamburger or Hitler is? Hrm. Sloppy is the right word for it. Another nit-picking issue…why is the MC always without her coat? How many times will she walk in the cold and/or rain dressed in clothes that make no sense and forget her jacket. Annoying for some reason. Ok…it is a fun book though. haha

    • Stephanie K

      Totally agree. He was sent on a mission to save the world (it doesn’t get any bigger than that), but he seemed incredibly unprepared.

      I didn’t even mention the pizza thing. Even if all of the ingredients to make pizza disappeared over the course of 100 years, wouldn’t people still be aware of it?

  2. Ellie M.

    Hmm that’s really interesting. I always try to find the science behind time traveling but sometimes it’s so hard to grasp how the MC actually does it!

    • Stephanie K

      Sometimes my head spins when I’m trying to understand an author’s explanation. It wasn’t a problem with After Eden, which was nice.

  3. Sarah Johnson

    How odd that the writer would write that a time traveler doesn’t know who Hitler is. It does sound like a pretty decent book. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Great review.:)

  4. Joyous Reads

    Okay, I think I will have to take a pass on this one. I was looking forward to reading this but I’m one of those nit-picky readers as well. Great review!

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