Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa, Atria/Keywords Press (October 4, 2016). ISBN: 9781501146558. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS.
Rowan had the misfortune to be born a twin in a future society where families are only allowed one child. Her twin brother Ash gets to go to school, make friends and travel between the inner circles of the sealed area that’s all that remains habitable of the planet following an ecological collapse. For sixteen years she’s been hidden inside the family home, one of very few in the city made of stone. She does homework copied from Ash’s assignments and lives vicariously through what he’s able to tell her about life at school. She desperately wants to have a friend and imagines how it might feel to meet and befriend Lark, her brother’s sort of girlfriend.
One night, after getting very disturbing news from her parents, Rowan gives in to temptation, climbing over the wall surrounding her house and disappears into the inner part of the city. It’s a life changing experience, setting her on a course that not only creates a huge chasm between her and her parents, but forces her to question her emotions, who she’s attracted to and how much of what everyone in Eden believes is true. Her journey takes her to the very tough part of Eden, one that’s not supposed to be there, has her meet people she couldn’t imagine existing before her trip over the wall and leaves her (and the reader) in a monumental cliffhanger at the end. There better be a sequel!
Teens who like their dystopia with lots of bells and whistles are going to devour the book.