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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