Escape from Eden

Escape from Eden

4.4 18
by Elisa Nader
     
 

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Since the age of ten, Mia has rebelled against the iron fist of a fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join a fanatical family of followers. At "Edenton," a supposed Garden of Eden deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the reverend's strict and arbitrary rules--even about whom they can marry. Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed

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Overview

Since the age of ten, Mia has rebelled against the iron fist of a fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join a fanatical family of followers. At "Edenton," a supposed Garden of Eden deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the reverend's strict and arbitrary rules--even about whom they can marry. Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in and the curious out. When the rebellious Gabe, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees her chance to escape and to free her family. But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound's facade are more shocking than anything they imagined. While Gabe has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friend and freedom fighters. But there's no time to think about love as they race against time to stop the reverend's paranoid plan to free his flock--but not himself--from this corrupt world. Can two kids crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman whose only concern is his own secrets?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In her first novel, Nader handles pacing with finesse. The story builds dramatic tension very effectively as the stakes are raised with new revelations, violent confrontations, and tough choices.... Many readers will find Mia's first-person narrative a riveting read." --Booklist

"The chemistry between Mia and Gabriel is palpable in their teasing dialogue and sizzling moments of physical connection. Its rewards...are many: fast-moving action, a capable heroine and a resolution that leaves plenty of room for a sequel." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"Nader has done something amazing: written a really original novel, one full of characters you'll care about; smart, witty dialogue; and plenty of shocks and thrills. A wonderful balance of light and dark." --Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone Series

"An exciting, terrifying, page-turning thrill ride you will not be able to put down." --Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess, Ten, and 3:59

"Chilling, suspenseful, and evocative, Escape From Eden is one of the most surprising love stories I've read in ages. Elisa Nader is an exciting new talent in YA fiction and her first novel will have people lining up to join her cult. Consider me the first member." --Bennett Madison, author of The Blonde Of The Joke and September Girls

"Debut author Elisa Nader hits a strong note with her Escape from Eden. We're not dealing with a superficial narrator here, but rather someone who internalizes a lot more than your everyday YA heroine. Truths are realized quicker than some actions reveal; sensitivities are explored and accepted as part of humanity's very flawed nature." --Examiner.com

"Get ready to stay up late as Nader takes you on a twisty, fast-paced journey in Escape from Eden. Nader manages to...keep the thrill-pace high without compromising a great story...Escape from Eden is a fast-paced thriller with a modern twist that readers of the genre will enjoy." --Authors & Appetizers

"I'm a sucker for a swoon built on a flirty, love/hate relationship, and Escape From Eden doesn't disappoint. Elisa Nader tells a good story... Both the pace and the intrigue build quickly, and there isn't any downtime once the plot gets going. I soon found myself...gleefully anticipating the next twist." --Forever Young Adult

Kirkus Reviews
In a harrowing and often disturbing adventure, two teen members of an exploitative cult try fleeing to safety. The Flock, under the leadership of the Rev. Elias Eden, lives in Edenton, an isolated community surrounded by jungle. Mia, 16, has lived there for six years and longs to leave, unlike her more pious peers. When Mia is asked to help make cookies that later turn out to fatally poison 11 Flock members, she is both guilt-ridden and horrified. Along with Gabriel, a smart-mouthed recent arrival from New York, Mia begins to investigate the inner workings of Edenton and to attempt an escape. Nader, a first-time novelist, pulls no punches in her high-stakes action scenes; setbacks and casualties are many, and readers will wonder until the very end whether Mia or any of her loved ones will make it out alive. The chemistry between Mia and Gabriel is palpable in their teasing dialogue and sizzling moments of physical connection. What with mass poisonings, child abuse, sex trafficking and a Hunger Games–esque fight to the death, Mia's story is not for the faint of heart. Its rewards, however, are many: fast-moving action, a capable heroine and a resolution that leaves plenty of room for a sequel. Gripping. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440563928
Publisher:
Adams Media
Publication date:
08/18/2013
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,438,653
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Elisa Nader is a writer and UX designer living near Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter. When she's not writing or designing, she's avoiding putting away laundry. Escape from Eden is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @elisanader.

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Escape from Eden 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Liked book u should read it
lafleurdeplume More than 1 year ago
I can’t remember who recommended ESCAPE FROM EDEN by Elisa Nader to me, but I’m so glad they did!  This gripping YA thriller follows Mia, a teen who has been living in an utopian society called Edenton since she was ten.  The cult-like setting is hidden away in a South American jungle.  Right from the get go, it’s obvious Mia has her doubts about the restrictions and duties placed on her, but when a new boy (Gabriel) moves into town he essentially turns her world upside down.  Unlike many of her friends, Mia can still remember her life outside Edenton, and she desperately holds onto a few fragments of unauthorized material from that time.  Ultimately, she must choose between the safe Edenton life with her younger brother and mom or escaping with Gabriel to face the dangers of the outside world. The idea of a derelict society run by men under the guise of religious superiority is not a new one.  Reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, this book’s villain is a creepy Reverend who is the founder, manager, and religious leader of the heavily guarded, gated community.  The Reverend is both feared and worshiped within the confines of the society, and the examples of his ‘justice’ are reason enough to want to get out of Dodge.  I think one of the things that resonated with me so deeply was the fact that places like this can (and probably do) exist.  What Nader does so effortlessly is weave this information inside the story of a girl who is grappling with becoming a woman who can make her own decisions.  As a member of the outside world, seeing Mia’s living conditions through her eyes made me (the reader) more invested in her.  As Mia becomes aware of her situation, I was actively cheering her on to be bold.  Most importantly, I loved the way Nader ends this book.  It’s not quite a ‘happily ever after’ but rather a sense of hope with enough room to make a sequel.  Five stars for this debut and I eagerly look forward to the next adventure!  
Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that you’re either going to really enjoy or your going to hate. One being your take on religion and how devoted you are. Some people may be offended by this book. I however, am going to hell, so I found the book to be entertaining. Mia lives in Edenton. A place that’s barricaded off from the world and it’s technologies. Everyone blindly follows their beloved Reverend. This man can do no wrong, even when he outwardly poisons his own “flock”. I mean, God hates greedy people apparently and you greedy lil’ bastards must pay for your sins via death. *nods head* Sure. I mean the Reverend was only carrying out the Lord’s command. *shrugs shoulders* Are you believing the B.S that I’m giving you? No? Yeah, well it didn’t fly with Mia either. Unfortunately, everyone else was nodding along in understanding as their flock members were dying a horrible death. Thus, the reason why Mia wants to escape. The Reverend is a demented masochist and his flock is a bunch of blind sheep being lead to their own slaughter while singing the praises of their saviors, the Reverend and the Lord up above. The people staying there weren’t necessarily stupid but they were brainwashed into believing there was nothing else for them and that this was their only salvation. *rolls eyes* Although it was comforting to know that not everyone was as brainwashed as they appeared. Mia and Gabriel being among them. Although Mia had her moments that if I were Gabriel I would have just left her behind because she could see what was going on, knew it was wrong but would still have her doubts. My one complaint was Gabriel. Why does he have to be your typical bad boy? Why not a geeky guy with glasses who’s parents just decided to up and join the cult… er I mean Edenton? He was your generic hot/cold bad boy giving out mixed signals left and right. I liked that the author took a risk with her debut novel. Not only is it a crazy subject but there are various layers of taboo mixed in with a few dashes of suspense that I was captivated from the get go.
WonderWmn More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading so many different cults and religions popped into my mind; the compound on the HBO series Big Love, Branch Davidians, strict Baptist, etc. The author was able to bring the story alive without offending any particular cult or religion because she seemed to bring to the table a mix bag of them. The brainwashing that you hear about is well played as the story progresses. The story has a bit of shock value to it. You have an idea what the prayer circles are, but until you read this book you won't get the full jist of it. When you do, you will be angry and sickened and as the story goes on and you learn more, the angrier and disgusted you will get about them. The author sheds light on topics that are happening in the real world, past and present, and you will find yourself rallying along with Mia and Gabriel as they work to help overthrow the puppet and puppet master. I was sucked into the story as soon as it started, the way the people described reminded my first and foremost and throughout most of the book are of the fundamentalist sec of the Mormon religion which broke away from the LDS church while the Reverend reminded me of a family members minister/pastor of their Baptist church, when I was a child. This intrigued me into reading even further and quickly the author snagged me for the haul. This curiosity mixed with the different layers of the story make for an interesting read. Don't get me wrong, this is not a book with a religious message. This is a fictional story that has bits of mystery, thriller, killing, sex, romance, death, etc. This is a story through and through and I recommend it to anyone who likes any of what I had listed. I do suggest the reader be 15+ due to the nature of the sexual content that is not graphic, but the subject matter may be a bit heavy or confusing for those younger. Why not a full five stars? Even though Mia wants out, I don't think she'd go along with Gabriel as fast as she did. Plus I think her attitude would have gotten her in trouble sooner than it did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You know those books that you don’t just read but experience right alongside the main characters? Like the great Harry Potter series, this book is up there with the best. I felt every single emotion that these characters must have felt, felt the hairs on my arms stand up on end, and admired the determined strength that Mia had throughout the novel, the faith that she had in humanity despite all that she had witnessed in her life, and her hope for a future for not just herself but for her friends and family. The concept of this book intrigued me as soon as I read the blurb, and I knew immediately that this was going to be one of those storylines that if executed properly, would blow me away. And oh did it blow me away. ‘Escape from Eden’ to me had a hint of dystopian witch-trials to it. I held the same shock and fear within me as I read this book as I have when I read ‘Witch Child’ by Celia Rees and ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller. The creation of the fanatical preacher and what the power of words can cause his followers to do in his name was chilling. I had my hand to my mouth in shock and fear when the preaching began to take a deadly turn after a refreshment break during the preacher’s ‘Bright Night’. Nothing I can say will do this chapter justice, so I just had to use this passage to show how chilling this story is! “Now,” said the Reverend. He stood then, folding his hands behind him. He began to pace. “Tonight, I’ve orchestrated the ultimate lesson on greed.” All movement ceased. Only wide-eyed gazes shifted to follow the Reverend walk back and forth along the edge of the stage. Silence reigned. He smiled out over us. “Those of you who ate one cookie will be fine.” I shot a confused look at Juanita. She shrugged. “Those who ate two cookies will experience a little stomach trouble, nothing more.” Around the pavilion hands went involuntarily to abdomens. My own stomach, even though I hadn’t eaten any cookies, roiled. My palms began to sweat. I rubbed them against my skirt. “Those who ate three will spend the rest of the night vomiting.” Panic stabbed me. A round of gasps swept across the Flock. “And those who ate four or more?” He paused, scrutinizing us as we sat staring up at him, dumbfounded. “Will be dead before sunrise.” Absolutely chill inducing, right? The introduction of Gabriel’s character was a lifeline to myself and to main character Mia. I felt as helpless reading the book as Mia must have felt at knowing her chances at escape were low. The relationship that forged between Mia and Gabriel was beautiful, fun and at times heartbreaking. I loved that despite the years of tyrannical preaching that Mia had been subjected to, she still felt human emotions that at times almost overwhelmed her. I loved that Mia felt jealousy when she saw Gabriel with her best friend, and the kindness with which he treated her. The mystery behind the creation and goings on in Eden was paced perfectly. At first you feel for Mia when you realise that she feels trapped in this society that she never chose to be a part of, and then gradually as the deeds of the preacher and his followers become more and more dark, you begin to wildly guess at what the ulterior motives of the characters are. I really liked how well-rounded all the characters were, especially the secondary characters like Grizz who I grew to love despite his dedication to the preachers cause. I liked that he felt conflicted at some of his orders, and that he always showed some kind of emotion. The scenes that he had with Gabriel, whilst mostly being in the way to punish Gabriel for his troublemaking behaviour, gave some light relief and also gave me hope that Gabriel would be his saviour if the occasion arose that he needed it at the end of the story. The action scenes were written to perfection, and I was on the edge of my seat as I waited to see what the fate of these characters I had grown to love so much would be. The way that a whole community turned against each other due to the power of one man was frightening. Overall, this was a fantastic, scary, chilling, mind-blowing and all round brilliant story. This is one of those books that reminds me of why I love reading so much! 5 Stars!
Choc-o-litChick More than 1 year ago
A really sharp chick named Judith Viorst once said, “Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands—and then eat just one of the pieces.” Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt after reading Elisa Nader’s novel, Escape From Eden because after I finished the final page, I went to reach for the next piece…and there was none to be had. Nooooooooooooooooooooo! Nader’s novel starts in the thick of things, like a dense South American jungle, as our unwitting protagonist, Mia, sits through a raging sermon by the utopian leader, Ethan Eden. From there, I learned the basics of the theology of this society, but thankfully (praise baby Jesus!) nothing too deep that would catapult this reader into a snore fest. Instead, I delved into the rebellious thoughts of Mia, and how she is jonesing for the opportunity to fly the coop, only to discover the pen is literally lined with razor wire. She is briefly distracted by the arrival of hot and saucy Gabriel, who willing leads her around the fence for a taste of what’s beyond her reach. Be warned, the content of this young adult novel added plenty of spice to the original YA dystopian recipe. There are bare butts, brutal blood-shed, and SPOILER ALERT…a sex trafficking scandal, not to mention our hottie’s potty mouth. Would I give the stamp of approval to a teen to read this novel? Abso-friggin’-lutely. There’s nothing in these pages that a kids hasn’t heard in the halls of a modern-day high school or seen depicted on the silver (or small) screen with a PG-13 rating. Nader’s writing is strong, and her banter between characters is quick, witty, and humorous in places where the reader needs a break from clenching her butt cheeks together during the adrenaline-filled close calls Mia and Gabriel are constantly battling. As far as I know, there isn’t a sequel; thankfully, the ending was strong enough to leave this chick satisfied, yet testing Viorst’s theory to the strength of eating only one of the four pieces of chocolate. Truth, sista. It took strength, indeed.
PCRachel More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars Going into Escape from Eden, I think I was expecting a book about a girl who lives in a cult (I'm not sure what else to call it), but because she doesn't like living there, she decides to escape with a boy she likes. (So basically a complete and total love story.) You could say that I got parts of that (I wouldn't call it a love story, though there's romance), but really, I got so much more. And I mean that in a very good way, for this book was GOOD. It's told from the POV of Mia, a sixteen year old who's spent six years of her life living in Edenton and under the rules of the Reverend. Mia didn't go to Edenton by choice (she had to go with her mother and younger brother), so her thoughts aren't always what they should be, and she wants out. When a new family comes to join Edenton, Mia sees something in the rebellious Gabriel--who doesn't want to be in Edenton, either. After realizing that they both have the same idea (and dislike of where they are), they plan to work together to escape Edenton. (And I'm telling you now, there's some romance between them. It's definitely not clean or perfect, but I loved it, I loved Gabriel, and I loved those two together. It was great.) But of course, plans don't always work out. Edenton is an eden set in the middle of the jungle. It's run by the Reverend (I don't like him at all), who claims that he'll fulfill God's wishes and all that. The people--aka the Flock--live by a set of rules, and they follow them, no questions asked. They do their duties, they live where they're supposed to, they court when they're told they can, they marry who they're told to, they don't speak against the Reverend, and so on. They don't talk about the outside world, and the outside world isn't supposed to be come in. (Mia isn't even allowed to have paper and a pencil so she can draw.) But once again, things aren't always as they seem. I don't want to say too much to avoid spoilers, but Edenton is a lot more than it appears to be. Really, some of the things (okay, maybe more than some) that happened were pretty dang messed up and disturbing. But it was all done and written well, and it completely worked. I understand that some people may avoid this book because they make thing it's religious and all that, but it's not. And if that's why you're not reading, please don't do that! I promise you, it is so much more than that, religion isn't the center of the story, and you should absolutely read this book. Escape from Eden is a really, really good book, almost flawless. (I can't think of anything that really bothered me, except maybe for some commas, or lack of.) While I'm not sure that I loved it, it at least comes pretty close. Actually, I think this may be one of those books that I grow to like even more over time. The story was fantastic, full of twists and turns and thrills (and some steamy romance). So many things happened, and they were done quite well. I'm pretty sure I said "Oh, nooo," and had several freakouts and reactions throughout the book. I had some inklings, but I don't think I actually predicted anything (which was great). Escape from Eden did so many things well, and it was constantly unputdownable. As I neared the end, I thought to myself that I didn't really want the book to end. I'm definitely looking forward to more books from Elisa in the future, and I wouldn't say no to a sequel. You won't want to escape this book while reading it! (I had to put a pun somewhere.)
BerlsKS More than 1 year ago
I received this book for free from Book Nerd Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. My Initial Reaction… Escape from Eden immediately sucked me in and held my attention until the very end. The characters were very well written and believable. The plot moved the story forward well, and although there were a few moments I felt were a little less than believable or explainable, overall it kept me anxiously awaiting the next step. The Characters… As good as the story for Escape from Eden was, it was the characters that made it for me. Mia, who has lived in Edenton since she was 10 years old, is so well written. Mia grew up in this cult and is questioning the things she’s been told to believe. She’s different from the others around her and that’s starting to make a tangible difference in what she wants in life. What I loved most though, was that Elisa Nader recognized that someone who’d grown up with that level of brainwashing would have a bit of an internal struggle to overcome. Mia is strong and she knows right from wrong – and she’s struggling to make the right decisions for herself with that knowledge. But there’s a certain amount of fear that come from growing up in a cult, not to mention love and concern for her mother, brother, and other friends. She’s also dealing with new, unfamiliar feelings. All this combines to make a beautiful complex character, who grows throughout Escape from Eden. As things are revealed to her Mia gets stronger and morphs from someone who seemed timid and uncertain to a brave, strong, independent young woman. I couldn’t help but love her. Gabriel, whose family has just joined Edenton, stirs something in Mia that she’s never felt before. A part of this is that Gabriel is more like Mia than she knows. Having just come in from the outside world – and not willingly, but forced by his family – he’s not “drinking the kool-aid.” This makes Gabriel both dangerous and oh-so appealing to Mia. And he recognizes something in her, that she is different, and thus is drawn to her. He’s also a complex character, with may layers that reveal themselves slowly throughout the book, as he too grows and changes. Mia and Gabriel develop a relationship that depends so much on their desire to be free and is complicated by confusing romantic encounters. I loved the way Nader wrote their relationship – it was so incredibly believable. There is no insta-love here. Instead you have two teenagers, thrown into a very intense situation and they grow close as a result. But Mia is so confused by what their relationship; she doesn’t know how to read the signals he’s sending and that makes her doubt and suppress her own potential feelings. The supporting characters are also really well written. I loved that Nader was able to so convincingly show characters, entirely through Mia’s eyes, in so many different stages of belief and disbelief. You’ve got characters that believe thoroughly and could never be convinced otherwise. You have some who are scared not to believe. You have others who are wrestling with accepting truths that they don’t want to believe and others who’ve always been aware. It’s incredibly well done and believable. As a character driven reader, these characters really pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. The Story… Escape from Eden is set within a remote jungle in South America where a cult – Edenton – has been established as its own little Garden of Eden, supposedly protecting its members from the outside world. There’s so much more to this cult than religious manipulation though and the secrets are pushing in on you from the very start. I quickly formed opinions and suspicions about many aspects – and was pleasantly surprised that I was often wrong. There were some predictable moments, but there was enough going on that I don’t think anyone could solve every mystery or call of twist or turn. Nader certainly keeps you on your toes! Some of the shocking moments were truly appalling and worked really well to move the story forward, all while twisting your gut, or if you’re like me – making you throw things (thankfully not my eReader!). There was one moment in particular that really got to me, but later didn’t seem to fit the story and I kept waiting to see the incongruities work themselves out. They didn’t – and perhaps I was over-thinking things – but it wasn’t enough to make me dislike the story. Concluding Sentiments… Nader did a really fantastic job of shocking the hell out of me at times and making me invested in the characters throughout. I enjoyed the twists and turns and was emotionally invested – a distressed – throughout. I definitely recommend for a good young adult dystopian read.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars 'Escape from Eden' is a thrilling young adult dystopian novel that follows main character Mia as she continues her life at Edenton under the supervision of the Reverend. Edenton is supposed to be a modern day "Garden of Eden" located deep in the jungles of South America. Mia has lived here since she was ten years old and her mother fell under the Reverend's spell. She doesn't dream of the things the other girls do at Edenton - courting and getting married - Mia dreams of escaping for good. When the gorgeous Gabriel and his family arrive at Edenton, Mia believes she might have found her way out. Along the way, Mia and Gabriel uncover secrets of epic proportions - the Reverend and his paranoid plan to save his flock from the corrupt world for good. Will Gabriel and Mia be able to stop the Reverend before it's too late? Or will they have to sacrifice much more than just their freedom in order to save the ones they love? This was an intriguing dystopian novel filled with twists and turns and tons of secrets. Although the plot wasn't wholly original, as it reminded me of a couple of books recently released, the author did a great job keeping the reader on their toes trying to guess what was going on and what would happen next. The characters were well written, especially those of Mia and Gabriel. I loved getting to know both of them and watch their friendship grow throughout the novel. The setting was an interesting one - a remote jungle in South America - and it was the perfect place for this crazy "utopia" to hide. The writing was well done and had lots of great imagery and details, although at times it felt like the pace was a bit slow. Overall, this was an interesting dystopian novel that will keep readers guessing and racing to find out how it all will end. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Have you seen any of the news story about Jonestown?  A big news story of the late 70s where a crazy fanatical man took the lives of his followers including men, women and children.  One could say that Edenton made me immediately think about the many things I have heard and read about the life and times in Jonestown.  There were some details about Edenton that I hope were only unique to its members.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
I’m dating myself, I know, but I remember Jonestown very well. For those of us on the outside, it was unbearably sad but also a real shock to our sensibilities because we had never really experienced anything remotely like this. There had been other megalomaniacs before Jim Jones—Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung come to mind—but, so many years later, most of us just didn’t contemplate the possibility of a “civilian” having such total control over the people who believed in him. Those other men operated with immense cruelty but they were generally removed from the acts of their followers while Jones was right in the midst of it. Besides the incredible sadness of all the lives lost, we were confronted with the reality that some people are so lost and in search of meaning in their lives that they could be completely swayed by the glibness of a madman to the point that they would murder their own children because he told them to do it. There have been other cults with their own kinds of disasters and leaders, like Charles Manson in the 1960′s and David Koresh in the 1990′s, who also could twist the minds of vulnerable people but Jim Jones is a name that will always be the epitome of cultish horror. In recent years, though, cults have become less of a news item. They certainly still exist but their activities are no longer in the public eye as much as they were back then. That makes what Elisa Nader has done even more remarkable than a casual reader might realize. Ms. Nader is far too young to remember Jonestown and her target audience certainly won’t but she has created a story that brings to life how a cult leader like Jim Jones can operate. Certain traits hold true with Reverend Elias Eden including isolating his people from general society, controlling what they eat and where they go , even naming the community after himself as another subliminal means of imprinting on these people who are not allowed to keep their own family names. What’s so amazing, in real life and in this story, is how far those people will go to support their leader and I think Escape from Eden will help today’s young adult readers understand the serious pitfalls of such a life. Yes, the scenario is frightening and sad and a matter of incredulity for those of us on the outside but here is where Ms. Nader introduces an element that relieves the sense of doom—she creates hope in the persons of Mia and Gabe, two young members of the hidden society who don’t believe, who seek to break free and perhaps bring an end to the tyranny. I appreciated the support they gave each other although I didn’t particularly care for the potential romance or Mia’s propensity to let her attraction to Gabe get in the way but it’s such a relief to have these kids bring hope to an untenable situation. Mia, in particular, is refreshingly not always the brightest bulb in the box and Gabe has his own tragic background to overcome but they have the passion to survive. Along the way, the reader is faced with intense suspense and fast-paced action, frequently feeling the need to chew fingernails. Elisa Nader Book Quote The combination of appealing and credible characters, and some who are not so appealing, with such a bonechilling plot led me to race through the story because I just had to know what was coming on the next page while I was also dreading the end. I was afraid of what might happen but wanted the story to keep going. Elisa Nader has brought us a real winner with Escape from Eden and I hope we won’t have to wait too long before her next work. Perhaps she could come up with a novella or two to tide us over in the meantime ;-) .
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
Not what I was expecting. I went into this book, thinking it would be a standard dystopian-esque type of read. But, what I got was thrills, secrets, surprises, and a truly lovely book. Escape from Eden was a fantastic YA romantic thriller and I really enjoyed reading it. Mia was a heroine who was done with being quiet. After being at Eden so long, she's kept her mouth shut about what she really thinks of the "utopia" long enough and she decides to take a stand. She was a strong character, one who was determined to make things right. I really liked her. I thought she was a lovely heroine. Gabriel was a little iffy at first. He doesn't immediately come off as a nice guy. Not to mention his rather dark past. But, after a while, we see his softer side. He was a great character. He was sweet, brave, and intent on taking down a dictator. I really liked him and I thought he was great. The romance was fairly light. Even though Mia and Gabriel spend most of the book together, their more focused on the problem at hand. But, they were still sweet together. They were a lovely couple. I had a few minor complaints about this book. For one, why was everyone else in Eden so passive and content to let the Reverend dictate their lives? I understand the brainwashing the goes on in these hyper-religious communities, but it didn't quite fit in this book. Why did no one say anything about what was really going on when they seem to remember it all? Why didn't that break their trust and cause them to question anything? Why did only one person native to Eden see anything strange about what was going on? Why would parents who had only just arrived to Eden abandon their child to die at the Reverend's hand? Why didn't anyone else do anything? It just didn't seemed quite right. And, my other complaint is just that I wanted a little more from the ending. It seemed to stop abruptly and it could have used an epilogue, so that we see what happens to the characters after that tumultuous ending. But, other than that, I had no big complaints and those two weren't enough to inhibit my enjoyment of the book. I still really liked it. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The thrills were nonstop and had me on the edge of my seat. The secrets surrounding Eden were definitely shocking. It totally blew me away when I found out what was really going on. I really enjoyed the story and, though I wanted more from the ending, I thought it was good. Escape from Eden was a thrilling, romantic, keeps-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat YA read. I really enjoyed this wonderful book. If you're looking for a great YA book that will keep you hooked, this is one you'll want to check out. *I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
donniedarkogirl More than 1 year ago
Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader is a fast paced thrill ride from beginning to end. My heart pounded so many times while reading with the anticipation of what would happen next. There are certain scenes that will most likely stand out in my mind forever - two of which made me shed some tears. This is a dystopian novel that takes place in a crazy religious cult that would be a nightmare for anyone to live in, especially for the kids whose parents forced them there without any choice.  Mia is everything you want in a heroine - she's brave and clever and asks questions. While everyone else are either too afraid or too brainwashed to see that what's going on is wrong, Mia begins asking questions - questions that the Reverend doesn't want her to ask. I really admired her because I don't know if I could be as fearless and strong as she is. I felt sad that her mother chose this religious cult over her own daughter, which was obvious every time Mia was admonished by her for asking to leave.  I loved every page, every paragraph with Mia and Gabriel. Gabriel made me laugh with his sarcasm and spoke his mind no matter what the consequences. He had a sparkle and a liveliness that made me think in other circumstances, he'd play pranks on friends and family. He has that kind of personality. There was a ton of chemistry between Mia and Gabriel, too, and I kept hoping they'd end up together.  Escape from Eden is a superbly well written Young Adult dystopian novel with plenty of mystery, suspense, and action. I was shocked with some of the actions the Reverend took - so shocked I read certain scenes two or three times to fully grasp the magnitude of what just happened. I wanted to relive the powerful emotions I was feeling right then and there. There were twists and turns I never saw coming that hit me as hard as a punch to the gut. This is a novel that you'll love and will stay with you afterwards for a long time. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour.  
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Elisa Nader’s YA suspense adventure novel, Escape from Eden, grabs the reader right from the start with first person narration and a pleasantly snarky teen narrator. Transported to the middle of the jungle, living in a religious cult, waiting on the cusp of adulthood, Mia sets up breakfast for the commune before bed, bakes cookies to order, lives in the girl’s dorm, and wonders if her friend will get to wear pink when she goes to Prayer Circle. When a new family joins the cult, Gabriel’s honest anger brings a refreshing glimpse of a long-lost world. But Mia still has to sit through long boring sermons, and the dangerous jungle offers no escape. This is Edenton, and everything’s going to change. Cross Hunger Games with Jim Jones and other familiar cults. Add two great protagonists, plenty of secrets, confident storytelling and excellent timing. Then hide yourself away from distractions, because this book will keep you glued to the pages until story’s end; seriously good YA coming-of-age fiction, with action, suspense, undercurrents of romance that go just far enough but never too far, thought-provoking guilt and innocence, and surprises with every chapter. This YA novel should be a classic. Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this book and promised my honest review. I honestly loved it.
Christine_Kohler More than 1 year ago
ESCAPE FROM EDEN has the best suspense pacing and romance of any YA novel I've read since Hunger Games. The tension was taut, the characters sympathetic, the situation harrowing. Author Elisa Nadar did a marvelous job handing tough topics in a sensitive manner.  Note: I am a Merit Press author and received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Did I enjoy this book: Well, I started reading on Tuesday afternoon and finished the book early Wednesday morning. It’s not often a book wins out over sleep these days (especially since the kiddo is working on cutting his last molar), so I guess you could say I thought it was pretty okay. The idea isn’t new – member of a “utopian society” discovers that life isn’t as dreamy as she’s been led to believe – but the story is still unique. It’s darker than I was anticipating, but it worked. I wasn’t expecting to be surprised, and I was. Often. I wasn’t expecting to be quite so invested, but, well. I couldn’t get enough. I’ll admit that the whole “rebel teen girl heads into danger to protect her family” line is a bit tired, and there were a few “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” moments, but the characters are vivid enough, and the story is twisty enough that they’re easy to forgive. Nader’s style is compelling; I want more! Would I recommend it: Absafreakinglutely! It’s awesome! And if you’ll excuse the pun, I think Escape from Eden would make a killer movie. Will I read it again: You know, I just might. As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Book Reviews. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Andreat78 More than 1 year ago
I want to quickly point out that, for those who do not like books about religion, Escape from Eden is not a religious book. Yes, it does take place in a religious cult, but the story is essentially about two teens who are desperate to escape, are faced with shocking revelations, and are faced with the ultimate choice.   I've always been a bit fascinated with cults. I know that sound weird, right? The Jonestown Massacre happened a few months after I was born, so I obviously don't remember that, but it's an event that I remember being mentioned from a young age. Then there was the Branch Davidian tragedy that was also heavily covered by media. Then take into consideration that I had the poo scared out of me when I went to a church service with a friend that felt more like the beginnings of a horror movie. With the promise of a better life to attract people into joining, cults are kind of the ultimate dystopian tale. There is no huge cataclysmic event or war to change the world and cause the shift, just the ravings and promises of a lunatic.   Escape to Eden was a heavy-topic story, but didn't read like a heavy book. This may seem confusing or contradictory, but that is the best way I could think to describe it. From the outside, the issues faced in the book, about freedom of choice, slavery, sacrifice, make Escape to Eden seem like a really heavy, draining read. The author, though, did a great job of presenting the story in a way that evenly revealed the disturbing conditions of Edenton, and the people in power, so that I was able to absorb the revelations without feeling overwhelmed.   Escape to Eden read like a movie. The author did an excellent job of describing the Edenton compound, the jungle surrounding it, the people who inhabit it. I could imagine everything so clearly. The began with Mia's thoughts of escape, wanting a life of choice. Once she meets Gabriel, then becomes part of a horrific event, the pace quickly speeds up. Revelation after revelation is thrown at Mia and Gabriel, never giving me a chance to lose interest. I liked that despite the obvious attraction between Mia and Gabriel, and that she does have thoughts about him at times, the focus is always on escape.   Escape to Eden was a truly interesting story filled with action, sorrow, and hope.