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Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader – Book Review

September 4, 2013

17245704

Escape from Eden

by Elisa Nader

About the book:

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?

Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader has it all. Action, suspense, manipulation, blackmail, sexual tension, and humor. It didn’t take but a few pages for me to be completely hooked. I was so absorbed in this story that I skipped dinner, a movie with my family, and ice cream. OK..I didn’t really skip the ice cream, but I did continue reading while I ate!

Nader weaves a tale that makes readers uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable because it’s possible. These aren’t vampires or talking animals. There are real people dealing with a possible scenario. Real people who make difficult decisions and are forced to confront the ugly side of humanity. This encounter with evil binds readers even more closely with the heroine of the story, Mia. I wasn’t even 50 pages in before I started truly feeling for her situation. My heart broke with her when she realized what she had done to her loved ones and it raced with her’s when she was in danger. What made it even more real was that Mia wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes. She didn’t always have the solution to the problems that faced her. She was a normal teenager–real.

Her interactions with the hero Gabriel had me reacting in a myriad of ways. I laughed out loud–a lot–at their banter. The hostile flirting made me smile and endeared the characters to me even more. The heart felt conversations and confessions had me tearing up and wanting everything to work out for them. I loved how they leaned on one another and that it wasn’t just Gabriel rescuing the damsel in distress. Mia kicked some serious butt!

The action sequences were well thought out and written. I didn’t get bored with them because they lasted too long, and they weren’t the same fights over and over again. Nader switched things up and made me feel as though the fighting that happened could actually happen in real life. She kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering who would land the next punch.

More than anything, I applaud Nader’s courage for tackling a topic that is so serious and deep. There is more to this book than you think. Sure, it’s about a crazy guy setting up a dictatorship in the middle of the jungle, but there’s so much more. There’s betrayal, heartbreak, misplaced guilt, questioning of identity, and another issue that I won’t reveal 😉 Because of these issues, Nader is forced to use more adult language than I was originally expecting. There is some intense violence, quite a few lower level swear words, and a few funny, but more adult sexual innuendoes. Since these are present, I recommend readers are at least 16 years of age or older.

I loved this book, and I hope Nader decides to write a sequel that goes into more detail about the aftermath of what happened to the characters. This story will make you uncomfortable, but I believe that being uncomfortable is necessary in life. How else do we learn about others and–most importantly–ourselves?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2013 8:32 pm

    Oh wow, I’m just now reading this review. This sounds like exactly the type of book I want to read. I love it when authors push the readers into uncomfortably real situations. I’m so looking forward to reading this!!!

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