This Side of Paradise by Steven L. Layne, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise

4.5 48
by Steven L. Layne

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When his father relocates the family to Paradise to work for the mysterious Eden Corporation, Jack Barrett uncovers a sinister plot that threatens everyone he loves.


When his father relocates the family to Paradise to work for the mysterious Eden Corporation, Jack Barrett uncovers a sinister plot that threatens everyone he loves.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jamie Hansen
Nasty Adam Eden is back, seeking revenge on the brothers, Jack and Troy Barrett, for their part in frustrating his nefarious plans to create the perfect and soul-less society described in the first volume of this series, This Side of Paradise (Pelican, 2005). Eden is really the evil alter ego of the boys' father, Chip, whose being was taken over by the malevolent and seemingly indestructible black-clad figure. With his ideal village of Paradise destroyed, Eden has re-established himself at the fake Paradise Hotel in Las Vegas, where highly-trained clones and androids assist in his lucrative trade in stolen human organs. First, Troy disappears. Following a sequence of fairly improbable circumstances, stalwart Jack, hunky Troy, and their gorgeous girlfriends find themselves captives of Eden and his minions, and threatened with organ-harvesting surgery. With all the teens in peril, it falls to the boys' feisty grandmother and her makeup tote of gadgets to organize a rescue mission. Fortunately, she has an improbably capable support team in combative favorite aunt, Millie, her incontinent bulldog Mr. Whizzer, and a spirited trio of seniors in super-hero costumes from Sunny Days Retirement Home. Although flawed throughout by baffling metaphors, awkward sentences, and occasionally confusing shifts in narrators and viewpoints, this futuristic thriller ensures an abundance of teen appeal with plenty of violent action and liberal dollops of ribald slapstick humor. Familiarity with the first book in the series is helpful, but not essential. Reviewer: Jamie Hansen
High schooler Jack Barrett's father has an inherent drive for perfection. He works for a mysterious Eden Corporation, and his is forcibly relocated to Paradise, a village that is literally owned by Eden's CEO. There, Jack unwittingly uncovers a secret plot that threatens the lives of everyone he loves. As Jack delves further into the secrets of this remote village, he learns to what lengths his father and fellow villagers are willing to go to achieve perfection. Soon, Jack is confronted with an ethical dilemma — does he expose the terrible secret in this Utopian universe and risk alienating his father, or does he expose the secret and reveal to the world the depths and depravity of this sinister world? In a fast-paced, action-packed plot, Layne raises ethical questions about the drive for perfection and the pacing of technological advances being made by our society. Layne exposes the deficits of a Utopian society with a unique and alarming twist that adolescent readers¾especially young readers who like their adventure stories laden with science fiction¾will particularly enjoy. Engaging characters, witty humor, and page-turning plot make for an exciting read. 2001, North Star Books, 215 pp., $15.99. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Jeffrey S. Kaplan; Orlando, Florida
Jack and Troy Barrett's father has always been difficult and demanding, but since working at the Eden Corporation, he has become a violent and terrifying monster. Ignoring his family's protests, Mr. Barrett forcibly moves them all to Paradise, a planned community owned and controlled by the mysterious Mr. Eden. After Mrs. Barrett disappears, leaving a dolllike imposter in her place, Jack, who narrates this fast-paced thriller, realizes that nothing is what it seems and that inexplicable evil lurks beneath Paradise's idyllic façade. Jack, along with the free-spirited Troy; Jack's girlfriend, Jori; and feisty senior citizen, Gram, team up in the best traditions of pulp fiction to uncover a sinister plot threatening his own family and perhaps the whole world. Layne's tale is a heady mix of conspiracies, alternate identities, androids, clones, chase scenes, and sinister underground laboratories, with a creepy schizophrenic villain that readers will love to hate. The novel moves at the breakneck speed of a Saturday-morning cartoon, giving little opportunity to provide motives or develop realistic protagonists. Readers should avoid pausing to savor the style, speculate about the characters, or guess the next plot twist. The striking cover art that depicts a bruised, bound-and-gagged teen will draw browsers. Recommend this title to thriller fans who will enjoy the ride without worrying what makes the vehicle go. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, North Star Books, 215p, $15.99. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Jamie S. Hansen SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002(Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-High school junior Jack is happy running with his 72-year-old motorcycle-riding, roughhousing grandmother. He is less at ease with his demanding "corporate giant" father, Chip, for whom only the best will do. Mom has been drinking too much lately and his ninth-grade brother Troy is a wrestler who is "handsomer than all get-out." Trouble begins when Dad announces he is moving the family to Paradise, a company town built by his boss, the mysterious Adam Eden. Eden provides his employees with everything-beautifully landscaped and appointed houses, modern high-tech schools- in his carefully gated community. The boys are surprised that Mom is not there to make the move, but that's only one of the mysteries. What does it mean that nobody ever leaves Paradise? Why is everyone so stiff and cold? Who lays out their school uniforms each night and how is it that Grandma has an electric drill in her makeup bag when she needs it? The characterizations are zany, the plot is a straight-out Stepford wives takeoff. Turns out that Dad is psychotic; as split-personality Chip/Adam Eden he has murdered Mom and peopled his community with less-than-perfect clones and androids. When Troy's clone sacrifices himself for Troy, Chip/Adam exclaims, "Not my son! He's the one I chose. He's perfect!" There are too many weaknesses and absurdities in the plot to enjoy even the first half of the book as realistic fiction, and too many internal inconsistencies to enjoy it as horror/science fiction.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Paradise comes at a price in this taut SF thriller by newcomer Layne. High school junior Jack Barrett always knew that his father was a perfectionist, but it's been even worse since Dad started working for Eden Corporation. Now his mother drinks, his grandmother frets, and his rebellious younger brother Troy lives to annoy their father. When Dad insists on moving to the Eden-owned village of Paradise, where the homes are luxurious, the landscaping impeccable, and all the inhabitants serious, hard-working, and content, Jack soon suspects that there is something very wrong indeed. Why isn't Mom there to greet them? Where does Troy vanish in the middle of the night? And what mysterious power does Mr. Eden, the company's owner, hold over their father? Jack's a likable teenager, with an appealing self-deprecating tone, but the other characters are paper-thin. Cocky, iconoclastic Troy is less charismatic than arrogant; Gram, while sassy and resourceful, can also be irritatingly omniscient; and Jori, Jack's love interest, is simply too beautiful and spunky for belief. In fact, the entire plot is utterly preposterous-the secret of the village certainly won't surprise anyone who has read any of the myriad variations on its dystopic theme-but the breathless pace and tidy resolution of dangling ends partially compensate for its implausibility. If Layne has not created the subtle commentary on human progress that he aims for, he certainly has crafted an entertaining, suspenseful thriller with a genuinely chilling villain. Good fun. (Fiction. 12-15)

Product Details

Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

STEVEN L. LAYNE is a professor at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, where he also serves as director of the Master of Education in Literacy program. His work has been recognized by organizations such as USA Today, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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This Side of Paradise 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg best book ever
Cheerleader1 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I highly recomend this book to anyone who likes mysteries! I loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a outstanding book! I was in love with it and it always keept me wanting more. I toatlly recomond this book to you guys. This ways a great reading!!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Layne is a great guy and is super funny! Loved this book gonna read the next...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book outloud to my 7th grade classes every year - and they always love it. The cliff-hanger chapter endings always leave them wanting more! As a middle school teacher, it is great to find a book that the students really enjoy. We were all very excited to see that Dr. Layne did write a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cindy Ho More than 1 year ago
Read it in 6th grade as a class and i still really like it.bought a copy for my sister and me.very interesting keeps you read,great read for kids an easy to understand.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read! At first i was worried because I personally dislike si-fi but this was super-good. It would keep me up at night and when I put it down i couldn't stop thinking about it! The sequel is great also and highly reccomended if you are in grades 5-8 or even adults depending. Anyway, it's a great book.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Not only is this a heart-pounding read for adults, but this incredible YA also received the Hal Clement Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for Young Adults. And, boy, were they dead-on correct with that choice. We begin our story inside the home of a happy family. Well.let's say a normal family. Dad is a hard working man who loves his new job at Eden - which is, literally, the perfect company to work for. His two boys are Troy - who possesses a rebellious nature that's equaled only by his handsome face and extremely well-defined muscles; and, Jack - who is a kind, decent young man who wants nothing more than for his family to live a happy existence. Mom is a good woman, too. Although, lately, as Dad has started talking more and more about the world of Eden, and has begun to chastise Troy for being hard-headed and obnoxious, Mom has taken to hiding various bottles of alcohol around the house so she can take a "snort" to calm down. The other person to make up the household is Gram. Gram is a great lady who the boys are so close to that they all form a tight triangle, and take care of each other when Mom and Dad begin to "lose-it" right in front of them. Soon, Dad comes home and lets the family know that they are moving to a company house on company property, and the boys will be attending a private school owned by, you guessed it, the company. Eden is a place that has built its own world far away from the hustle and bustle of regular life, and they've titled their community "Paradise." Almost immediately after Dad's strange announcement, some extremely odd things begin to happen. A man with a black hat and long overcoat appears at one of Troy's games and takes pictures of him as he's competing in a championship wrestling match; Dad gets almost vicious with Troy as his loud mouth gets him into trouble; and, Mom disappears - supposedly to go set up their new house in Paradise. The world is soon turned upside down once the boys ride through the gates of this supposed utopia. Jack finds himself choking with fear as the people around him begin to lose themselves in the eerie new world they call home. Only a young woman named Jori who operates the gates of this Heaven on Earth seems to be a normal human being, and will end up having to help Jack save his family from their imprisonment. Every page is an adventure in this fantastic story. The writer takes us from strange and compelling to eerie and off-the-wall scenarios that literally keep you hooked until the very last page. Quill says: Shut off the cell phone and turn off your computer. Leave the light on as you read, and check under the bed every once in a while to make sure that no demon is hiding there. This is literally the book for anyone who has ever thought there was something more than a little "off" about their relatives.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jack's father has always been a perfectionist, but lately, his need to control every aspect of the family's life has stepped up a notch. Mr. Barrett, Jack's dad, has been offered a wonderful opportunity with the company he works for, the Eden Corporation. Eden owns a gated village in Paradise, a nearby town, where only the most successful and devoted employees are invited to live. The village is all-inclusive and there is no need to ever leave. The village even has a school for the children of the employees.

Mr. Barrett's family isn't handling the news of the move very well. His wife has been drinking more and more since Mr. Barrett's controlling nature has intensified. Troy, the youngest child, has used his rebellious attitude to spark conflict within the household. Gram, Mr. Barrett's mother and the boys' biggest protector, doesn't mince words when it comes to how crazy she thinks moving the whole family to a strange community is, and Jack, the oldest son, tries to keep the peace by attempting to please his father and trying to keep Troy under control.

Eventually, the day comes and the family packs up and moves to Paradise. Jack's mother has gone ahead in order to get the house ready so it is just Mr. Barrett, Jack, Troy, and Gram following the moving van. Once they reach the entry gate, Jack sees a site that leaves him speechless. Jori is a beautiful girl that works at the entry gate of Paradise and a girl that he definitely wants to get to know better, but for some reason, Mr. Barrett doesn't want him to have anything to do with her. His exact words are, "She doesn't belong in Paradise." This statement is just one of the things Jack, Troy, and Gram consider strange when they get settled in their new community.

Everyone seems too happy, their mother hasn't been seen since they've arrived, and Mr. Eden, the owner of the Eden Corporation, has been sneaking into the Barrett's house at night and taking Troy somewhere after knocking him out so he won't wake up. The boys, with a lot of help from Gram and Jori, attempt to get to the bottom of all the mysteries and find a way out of Paradise.

THIS SIDE OF PARADISE is a science fiction thriller reminiscent of THE STEPFORD WIVES. It was awarded the Hal Clement Award for best science fiction novel for young adults in the United States. This is Steven Layne's first novel and is far from perfect, but at the same time, has many characteristics that will appeal to young readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the way that I feel my heart beating when I get to the suspensful parts, but then it's time to stop reading. To dream of the book all day makes the day go by so much easier! I recommend this book to all kids that are in fourth to ninth grade!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Side Of Paradise:by Steven Layne Revewed by:Kelsey Sickles [[age12]] The book Paradise was about a family who were moving to a new town named Paradise. The family's eldest Troy was a problem for all of them. He did very harsh things. When something goes extremly wrong there is no assistance. When someone is hurt there is no medical assistance. There is no locical reason to call for help. I think that this is a lituer that people will want to read over and over agian.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'This Side of Paradise' is abut a boy named Jack who his family has to move to a place called Paradise for his fathers job. Well his dad wants to be perfect in every way. So Jack is trying to wacth over his family because all the father cares about is his boss Mr.Eden. Weird things been going on like Jacks brother Troy has been taken out of bed by someone but when Jack checks his room again Troy is there in bed, unharmed. So Jack had to leave Paradise to get some information about the disaperance of his mother and why is the people in Paradise is acting weird.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book called This side of Paradise was an okay,but not a great book. To me this book is not that intersting and sometimes I got lost. The book is 218 pages. It is short but to me there was only one time I felt bad. That is because his mom has a drinking problem.If I could change one thing about this book I would add more detalis.But over all I rate this book okay,but not a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'This Side of Paradise' is abut a boy named Jack who his family has to move to a place called Paradise for his fathers job. Well his dad wants to be perfect in every way. So Jack is trying to wacth over his family because all the father cares about is his boss Mr.Eden. Weird things been going on like Jacks brother Troy has been taken out of bed by someone but when Jack checks his room again Troy is there in bed, unharmed. So Jack had to leave Paradise to get some information about the disaperance of his mother and why is the people in Paradise is acting weird. Jack finds out that Mr. Eden which is really Jack's father, is trying to kill Jack's family besides Troy. Jack is trying to save his family and leave Paradise for good. This book is an amazing book and i would recommend that our library should have copys of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'This Side of Paradise' is filled with mysteries and surprises. Jack and Troy Barrett live in the town of Dave n Port. Once there father gets a job in Paradise, it is all down hill. The Barretts think Paradise is a nice town, but there wrong. At school Jack and Troy notice that everyone is a little wierd because they were all doing the same thing. When they get down to the office they meet Mr.Eden. They don't know it yet but, Mr.Eden is there father.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This side of paradise is a great thriller mystery that will keep you bussy if you have nothing to do. it tells how a family has problems in life. The dad who over reacts to every thing. Th emom who is an alcohalic. the boys Jake and Troy are worryed about moving because there dad got a new job. Also how the dad has gone mad the day of the move he beats up troy. another good thing is that this book is for 7th-10th graders. this book is good if youlike suspense and love to read.