Title: Escape From Eden
Author: Elisa Nader
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: Hardcover; 272
Release Date: August 18, 2013
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who are looking for a haunting read dealing with a cult mindset.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape.
But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s façade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?
Mia is our main character and she's a brilliant one at that. Feisty, smart, and the one person in her compound who remembers life on the outside. Following this story from Mia's point of view made it all the more intriguing. Imagine growing up in a world that you hate, but can't escape. From the moment I arrived in Edenton with Mia, I knew there was something dark under the peaceful facade. As the cracks began to widen, and I discovered what was there, I couldn't look away.
The synopsis focuses on the romance between Mia and Gabriel, but that isn't what drives the book. I'll admit that their relationship did add another layer. Gabriel is the perfect companion for Mia, especially as they struggle to flee from the madness. What really pushes the book forward though is the slow decline of the "Eden" that these characters are trying to escape from. If you're looking for a book with a sweet romance, or a boy-meets-girl story, you might want to look elsewhere. This one is much deeper than that.
Truth be told, the ending was the only thing that wasn't spot on for me. The rest of Escape From Eden flies by, and I happily devoured it. Much love goes out to Elisa Nader for crafting such an intelligent, and fierce book! I don't see any mention of a sequel, but I'd welcome one. Keep Elisa Nader on your watch-list. Her writing is well worth your attention.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.