Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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?
Publication Date: August 18, 2013
This was a really good read! I’ve never read a young adult book about a girl escaping a cult and I thought Escape from Eden was incredibly well done. The Edenton cult was scary! I was biting my nails at the end and hoping everything turned out okay for Mia and her love interest Gabriel.
Mia was easy to sympathize with. Against her will as a young girl, Mia is taken by her mother to a South American commune where their reverend has recreated a Garden of Eden. Mia begins to expect more nefarious things are going on once she connects with a new member by the name of Gabriel.
I really liked Gabriel. He was the resident troublemaker, but I loved how much depth he had. His back story was interesting and heartbreaking and made him an appealing YA love interest. The secondary characters were also great, the villains were especially terrifying.
The plot was suspenseful and there were some twists thrown in that were completely shocking. At times, I had to take a breather because I was so overcome with disgust by the reverend and his actions. The book was written in such a way that I honestly couldn’t tell if Mia would be getting out of Edenton alive.
The romance was sweet and earnest and I enjoyed the back and forth between Mia and Gabriel. Mia was strong when she needed to be and it was great to see a female lead with a backbone.
Definitely a must-read for fans of YA thrillers or anyone interested in books about cults. I’m not sure if there’s going to be a sequel, but I hope so.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for review!
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