The Garden of Eve by K. L. Going, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Garden of Eve

The Garden of Eve

4.5 21
by K. L. Going
     
 

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Evie reluctantly moves with her widowed father to Beaumont, New York, where he has bought an apple orchard, dismissing rumors that the town is cursed and the trees haven't borne fruit in decades. Evie doesn't believe in things like curses and fairy tales anymore—if fairy tales were real, her mom would still be alive. But odd things happen in Beaumont. Evie

Overview

Evie reluctantly moves with her widowed father to Beaumont, New York, where he has bought an apple orchard, dismissing rumors that the town is cursed and the trees haven't borne fruit in decades. Evie doesn't believe in things like curses and fairy tales anymore—if fairy tales were real, her mom would still be alive. But odd things happen in Beaumont. Evie meets a boy who claims to be dead and receives a mysterious seed as an eleventh-birthday gift. Once planted, the seed grows into a tree overnight, but only Evie and the dead boy can see it—or go where it leads.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Believably and with delicacy, Going paints a suspenseful story suffused with the poignant questions of what it means to be alive, and what might wait on the other side."—The Horn Book
"Symbolism abounds in this beautifully written book."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly

Feeling bereft 10 months after her mother's death, 11-year-old Evie Adler is even sadder when her father uproots the two of them from Michigan and buys a dead apple orchard in Beaumont, N.Y. The town is colorless and cold and "there didn't seem to be any life at all. Even the crows had stopped flying overhead." Evie's only playmate is Alex, the ghost of a 10-year-old boy whose death the town still mourns and who frequents the cemetery next door to the orchard. Her dad, meanwhile, has no luck in the orchard, which people claim is cursed. The former owner, a stranger, has bequeathed Evie a small seed, which his sister says might have been from the Garden of Eden, and might have played a part in the disappearance of another sibling. Evie plants the seed and hopes it will transport her to a magical garden where her mother will be waiting. What works best in Going's (Fat Kid Rules the World) novel is the skillful depiction of Evie's grief for her mother and the wonderful life they shared. What complicates the story and makes it confusing is the odd combination of magic and religious symbols (for example, the ghost Alex turns out to be a twin brother named Adam; the seed instantaneously sprouts into a fruit-bearing tree). The emotional ending, with a surprising twist, ties the story together, but seems contrived. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7
After losing her mother to cancer, Evie Adler, nearly 11, moves with her father from Michigan to a seemingly "cursed" apple orchard in bleak Beaumont, NY. Evie's belief in magic, the imaginative streak she once shared with her mom, has waned. Practical and rational Father throws himself into his work to bring the orchard back to life. Evie makes friends with ghostly pale "Alex," who loiters in the cemetery near her home and bears a strong resemblance to a recently deceased local boy. Elderly Maggie inserts herself into the Adlers' lives, offering warmth and a strange birthday present from her brother, the orchard's deceased former owner. It's a single seed with magic that only the children can sense. Planting the seed, Evie and Alex enter a lush, flip-side version of Beaumont where they can control life-but at what cost? This is a poignant tale with endearing characters (especially the resilient, likable Evie and stubborn but charming Alex), well-drawn settings, and surprising plot twists. While allusions to the Garden of Eden are present, the story is not overtly religious, presenting the powers of love and belief-whether in oneself, other people, or something that can't be rationalized. The theme of death is inescapable but the ending offers readers a sense of healing. In her fantastical setting, Going realistically portrays the different ways that people grieve and the emotions accompanying loss.
—Danielle SerraCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
It's been ten months since her mother died, and Evie feels the loss every single day. Having moved into an old house rumored to be cursed doesn't help matters any, but at least Evie is distracted from her father's withdrawal by the strange residents of their new town. There's Alex, a boy that lingers in the cemetery claiming to be a ghost, and Maggie, a shopkeeper who presents Evie with the gift of a single seed. Evie becomes convinced that the seed hails from the original Garden of Eden, and decides to use it to find her mother. Instead, she learns almost too late that unnatural life can be a far more terrible and destructive thing than natural grief. The book is most effective when it seeks to understand and clarify Evie's pain. Unfortunately, it loses ground when, instead of concentrating on a single fantastical element, Going creates an uncomfortable melange of ghosts, magic and the Book of Genesis. The emotions may be sound, but the story demands a tighter focus on the otherworldly. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152066147
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/06/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
602,924
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Fork in the Road

The final bend on the last road would take them to Beaumont. Father wanted to go straight but there was a fork in the road, so he stopped their old truck, packed full of their belongings, and got out to stare down each darkened, narrow lane. Maybe they were lost and they’d have to turn around and go home to Michigan.

Evie hoped they were lost.

She rolled down the window despite the cold. “Let’s go back,” she called, but as she said it Father took several steps forward and disappeared into the thick fog. Evie waited, and when he didn’t answer she sat up straight in the front seat, her heart pounding in her chest. She pushed at the door, but just as it opened Father reappeared piece by piece, his solid figure emerging from the deep gray.

“Can’t tell which way to go,” he said, coming back to the truck and leaning on the edge of her open window. He was wearing his padded gardening jacket and thick leather gloves, but his cheeks were red and the skin around his beard was windburned already. Cold filled the truck. “Fog’s too thick, and I sure don’t remember there being a fork in the road.”

He scratched his chin and took the crumpled directions from his jacket pocket. He’d gotten them months ago, before he’d visited the property, scribbling them onto the back of a grocery list because it had been nearest to the telephone. Milk, eggs, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, take Route 71 east until you reach exit 7, then go 70 miles on Route 77. . . .

Evie brought her knees up to her chest and shivered in the late October air. Her pant legs rode up her ankles, letting the cold sting her bare skin. The pants were too short, but they were the last ones her mom would ever buy her—the last of her pretty clothes with no grass stains on the knees from rolling down hills or holes in the sides from catching on thorns. She wouldn’t get rid of them no matter how small they got. She’d tried to stop growing instead, but it hadn’t worked. Her legs were long and gangly, like a boy’s.
Evie pulled her socks up as high as they would go and tugged at her winter coat to bring it lower. She peered down each road, only they both looked the same. Nothing but trees on every side, stretching as far as the eye could see—a thick forest between two great mountain ridges. The day was bleak, and the trees stood like sentries standing guard.

The truck door opened and Evie’s father slid back into the driver’s seat.

“I wrote down ‘straight,’” he said, pointing toward the crumpled paper. “I’m certain it was straight until town. It’s the strangest thing.”

Evie twisted her hair into a curl, but it fell flat again as soon as she let go. Mom’s had never done that. She sighed, and a flock of crows lifted up at once, as if released by her breath. They spiraled into the fog and their calls filled the air like a thunderous warning.

Evie shivered.

“We should go home,” she said again. “We must have made a wrong turn.”

She thought over the drive from Michigan to New York, and each turn seemed like a wrong turn. How could they move so far from Mom?

Everyone thought Father was making a mistake. Everyone. She’d heard them whispering, and no one had come to help them pack or see them off because Father wouldn’t let them. Not even his own mother had been allowed over.

“I don’t intend to take help from the same people who are talking behind my back,” he’d told her, but it had felt awful to leave with only the neighbor next door waving from his front window. After that there’d been highway after highway and an overnight stay in a hotel that didn’t have a TV and smelled like stale crackers.

Father had tried to say it was an adventure they were on, which wasn’t like him at all, but Evie only scowled and stared out the window, occasionally kicking the dashboard. Adventures were things that Mom went on, not Father, and they didn’t begin at five thirty in the morning with a stalled truck that took half an hour to start and empty roads going nowhere.

“This is all wrong,” Evie muttered, but Father shook his head.

“Nah,” he said, “this is it.”

His dark eyes flashed the way they did when there was trouble to be figured out. They’d flashed that way the day he’d told her about buying the land. Only seven months after Mom died, he’d come to dinner all excited about a phone call from an old man.

“Fifty acres, Evie, and he’s practically giving them away because the orchard hasn’t been producing fruit. People around there think it’s a curse, but they’re just superstitious, that’s all.” Father had paced around the kitchen, waving his arms as he spoke.

“They talk themselves into believing in curses and bad luck, but that’s just foolishness. It was disease that made those trees sick and it’s hard work that will make them better.”

Evie didn’t care whether the stupid trees got better. Why should trees get better when people didn’t? Even the old man had died not long after that phone call. She’d crossed her fingers and toes that the deal would fall through, but it hadn’t. The old man’s sister had sold them the property instead, just as her brother had wished, and now three months later they were on their way.

Evie frowned and stared out the window.
“I hope we never get there,” she mumbled, but Father just glanced across the front seat of the truck and sighed. He reached over and smoothed the hair from Evie’s forehead. Her bangs hung in her eyes because Father never got around to cutting them—not even when Evie asked him to. “Tomorrow,” he always said. “I’ve got a sick tree that needs attention, but I promise to do it tomorrow.”

Except tomorrow never came and now the scissors were packed along with everything else. Evie pulled away and Father put his hand back on the steering wheel.

“We’re almost there,” he said, real soft. “I’d guess another five miles will get us to Beaumont, provided we pick the right road.” He paused, then looked over, catching Evie’s eye.

“You pick, Evie.”

Even now her stomach still turned somersaults.

“You pick, Tally.”

It was Mom’s job to pick. Always had been. Father said she had a perfect sense of direction, but Mom always said the wind told her which way to go.

Evie could picture her mother getting out of the truck to inspect the fork where the roads met. She would stand still and tall, her spiraled hair pulled back in a headband. She’d be wearing the cargo pants Evie loved, with all the pockets in them, and the thick leather sandals she wore all year long, even in the winter. Then she’d wait, breathing long and full until she knew which choice to make.

“The answers are always out there, Evie,” she used to say. “You just have to wait until they whisper in your ear.”

Evie wanted to get out and stand in the exact spot where she’d pictured her mom standing. The wind was blowing strong and seemed to have something to say, as if this time when Evie stood still, she might hear something other than deafening silence. She wanted it so badly her insides stung like scraped knees on pavement, but already she could feel her muscles tightening and her ears closing until even the sound of the crows faded into the distance.

“Go on,” Father nudged, but Evie shook her head.

Father’s hands gripped the steering wheel. Then at last he turned the key in the ignition and the old truck rumbled to life. He breathed out long and loud until it seemed that all the air had escaped his lungs.

“Left it is then,” he said at last. “One choice is as good as another.”
Copyright © 2007 by K. L. Going

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Meet the Author

K. L. GOING is the author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book; Saint Iggy; The Liberation of Gabriel King; and King of the Screwups. She lives and writes full-time in Glen Spey, New York.
www.klgoing.com

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The Garden of Eve 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
For eleven year old Evie, moving with her father from Michigan to New York is torture. Not only is she leaving behind her family and friends and the only life she's known, but she's leaving behind her Mom, who died ten months ago from cancer. For Evie, the apple orchard means nothing and her life is devoid of magic because her mom is gone, but with the gift of a seed an adventure blooms. One that may help Evie believe in magic once more. Evie's story is heartfelt with lovely little touches of fantasy. As a character, Evie is wholly realistic. Her grief radiates off the pages and is enhanced by the stark atmosphere around her. Her new home of Beaumont, NY is full of dead trees and empty buildings. Thought to be cursed, the orchard that her father just bought is not only their home, but also a place that sits directly beside a cemetery, constantly reminding Evie of her loss. Evie's father reminds me of people I've met in the past, lost in their own lives and doing the best they can in the only way they know how. He's not the best, most sensitive father in the world, but he loves his daughter with his whole heart. Snippets of flashbacks to Evie's mother Tally bring the woman to life and make both Evie's and her father's grief resonate that much more. The fantasy elements arise with the story behind a seed given to Evie by Rodney, the man who used to own the house. Rodney had never met Evie, but he insisted that his sister give a girl named Eve the seed. With this, the Biblical story of Adam and Eve begins to play out. Evie goes on quite the adventure with a ghost boy named Alex, where they both learn that magic is all about believing. K.L. Going has weaved a beautiful tale about grief, magic, hope, and life beyond death with The Garden of Eve. I've read some reviews that complain that the book is too overtly religious and has too many Biblical references, but I'd disagree. School age children are not going to be reading this book and thinking about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. All these things are mentioned, but religion is so far from being the focus here. The Garden of Eve is the perfect story for a blustery day - with the right amount of grief, countered by a touching story of believing in the magic that still exists after death. Opening line: "Once there was a beautiful garden." ~ pg. 1 Favorite lines: Watching him now was like meeting someone on the street who you hadn't realized was missing - you felt all the pleasure of seeing them and all the pain of missing them at once. ~ pg. 29 And this one captures Evie's grief: "How long ago did your mom die?" "It's been ten months now," Evie said. "How can you live without her?" Evie studied the darkened trees. "Sometimes I don't want to." ~ pg. 115
Anonymous 6 months ago
My old principle tried to read this to us during lunch back in second or third grade. Then came the summer.
JH1012 More than 1 year ago
When I started this book, I didn't have high expectations, but I didn't think it was going to be terrible. When I reached the end, though, I was disappointed. It was a little too broad, a little boring, and quite shallow. I think if the author had gone more in depth with some or most of the topics that the story covered, I might've enjoyed it a bit more. All in all, it wasn't awful and the plot is satisfying enough.
cindylb More than 1 year ago
Good book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really, I am giving this book 4 and a half stars, but that doesn't seem to be an option. I have been waiting about 2 years to read this book, although it feels like forever and ever. Finally, during my banning of new books, I was able to get it through PaperbackSwap and I am so glad I did. It is a short, simple tale of loss. Evie is a wonderful little girl struggling with the death of her mother and her recent move from Michigan to New York. In her new town she makes wonderful new friends and finds herself on a mysterious adventure. Ultimately, Evie must face a heart-breaking choice and she chooses quite well.
taylor18 More than 1 year ago
this book is wonderfull in so many wayes.it has advencher,mistery,a littel funny and so many wayes.i think the book desers an award for well every thing:)the book is wonderfull.ones you start reading it you can't stop till you finshed.best book ever:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Garden of Eve By K. L. Going The Protagonist in The Garden of Eve is Eve. Evie (her nickname) doesn't believe in magic. She used to, before her mom died. At first Eve doesn't like her new home, Beaumont, New York and wants to go home to Michigan, but she grows to like it. Her best friend in Beaumont was a boy that claimed he was a ghost named Alex. Eve is smart and likes stories. She also has dark hair with long bangs that get in her face. In The Garden of Eve many events happen. Eve and her dad move to a "cursed" apple orchard in a small town called Beaumont, New York, far away from Michigan, where her mom died. Evie didn't like Beaumont,and she thinks it's weird. On the first day she sees a boy that's supposedly a ghost, who ends up being her best friend. For Evie's Birthday she gets regular clothes from her family and a card from her mom, which she wrote before she died. She doesn't dare to open it. She also gets a box with a seed in it from the owner of the "cursed" house who supposedly killed his little sister named Eve when he was about fourteen. Eve and her best friend Alex go and plant the seed in the middle of the orchard where Rodney (the old man Evie got the seed from) was buried. Something truly magical happens to the two children. A huge tree appears with apples. They each take a bite of one. They go to a world, just like Beaumont; actually it is Beaumont, but way better. It has sunlight and nice paintjobs, but not one person. They also have powers of some sort, which they can make objects live. The fun doesn't last for long though, when the tree starts to shrivel. Eve races to the tree and takes a bite of the apple. Eve is back to the real Beaumont, without Alex and is going to solve the hardest mystery that she's ever solved. The main setting is Beaumont, New York and the time is about Present. The theme to this story is to be thankful of who you are and of what you have today and now. I liked the garden of Eve. It had different mysteries and parts that I said "wow that really happened?"There were pretty intense parts too. Also I think "Alex" seems really cool. One connection that from the book that another book/movie had, was Coraline. Eve and her friend went to a whole new world just like where they lived, but way better. But there was a cache, and a problem getting out of this parallel universe, just like Coraline. The other connection that another book/movie had from the garden of Eve was how Eve moved to a small town with mysteries and rumor. That reminded me of Twilight. Bella, with her dad Charlie, move to a small town with mysteries and rumors. There's also a guy with a huge secret (even though it might not be true) that Bella and Evie can't stop thinking about. Twilight and Coraline were books that were a little bit like the Garden of Eve.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Evie's mother used to make up stories for her. They were magical, beautiful, and so terribly missed when her mother died. Evie is miserable without her mother, and her father decides to sell the home their family had once shared and move onto an apple orchard. That only makes life more miserable for Evie.

The apple orchard is grey, the trees are all dead, and they haven't produced fruit in years. Evie's father is busy beyond belief working in the orchard. That leaves Evie with endless hours of time alone. In the cemetery she meets a boy who tells her his name is Alex. Except Alex is the little boy from their new town who died. His gravestone is right there.

Evie begins to spend more and more time with Alex. She also receives a mysterious seed that grows into a tree overnight. And that tree produces apples. Apples that, when bitten, take Evie and Alex to a magical place--lush plants and life are everywhere. It's exactly like the town they live in now, except everything is beautiful. Plants are growing everywhere. Father's orchard is growing well; beautiful curtains are on her house. It is the way it would be if her mother lived there.

Is this the place where her mother told her she'd meet her? She said that after she died, she'd wait for Evie in a beautiful garden. Evie had given up on all of that magic and nonsense. But, maybe, just maybe, she'll find her mother. But why does Alex keep running around? What is it that he's looking for so desperately? And won't her father be worried about her?

Should she stay in this beautiful place? Should she go back? Is this where Alex is supposed to stay? Should she leave without him?

It's difficult to explain the complexity of THE GARDEN OF EVE. It is beautiful, painful, and I wasn't even able to convey the suspense and surprises that fill the pages without giving away too much of the story. This book is sad. It is hopeful. It is magical. This will be another award-winner for the author, K. L. Going.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful. The author puts you in the mind of eve. Very great cover too. I'm going to add this one to my list to keep forever . Lovely done K.L going .
Guest More than 1 year ago
Evie¿s mother used to make up stories for her. They were magical, beautiful, and so terribly missed when her mother died. Evie is miserable without her mother, and her father decides to sell the home their family had once shared and move onto an apple orchard. That only makes life more miserable for Evie. The apple orchard is grey, the trees are all dead, and they haven¿t produced fruit in years. Evie¿s father is busy beyond belief working in the orchard. That leaves Evie with endless hours of time alone. In the cemetery she meets a boy who tells her his name is Alex. Except Alex is the little boy from their new town who died. His gravestone is right there. Evie begins to spend more and more time with Alex. She also receives a mysterious seed that grows into a tree overnight. And that tree produces apples. Apples that, when bitten, take Evie and Alex to a magical place¿lush plants and life are everywhere. It¿s exactly like the town they live in now, except everything is beautiful. Plants are growing everywhere. Father¿s orchard is growing well beautiful curtains are on her house. It is the way it would be if her mother lived there. Is this the place where her mother told her she¿d meet her? She said that after she died, she¿d wait for Evie in a beautiful garden. Evie had given up on all of that magic and nonsense. But, maybe, just maybe, she'll find her mother. But why does Alex keep running around? What is it that he¿s looking for so desperately? And won¿t her father be worried about her? Should she stay in this beautiful place? Should she go back? Is this where Alex is supposed to stay? Should she leave without him? It¿s difficult to explain the complexity of THE GARDEN OF EVE. It is beautiful, painful, and I wasn¿t even able to convey the suspense and surprises that fill the pages without giving away too much of the story. This book is sad. It is hopeful. It is magical. This will be another award-winner for the author, K. L. Going. **Reviewed by: Dianna Geers