Book Review: After Eden (After Eden #1) by Helen Douglas

After Eden - Helen  Douglas

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


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!