After Eden By Helen Douglas

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom, a biography of her best friend, written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose... And she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

It was inevitable that the entire school would be talking about Ryan Westland, even sixteen year old Eden, but what she didn't expect was to capture his attention. Eden lives in Cornwell and dreams about her life being that from the pages of a novel, wanting to be brave, take risks and make a difference. Little does she know that she'll be given the opportunity to change the world.

There is something about Ryan that intrigues Eden, although best friend Connor doesn't seem to share the same opinion. He's may be attractive and insanely popular, but the quiet achiever prefers to join the Astronomy Club at school. He can talk about species of plant life and trees, yet seems to have never heard of Hitler. But he's persistently friendly, and the two teens settle into an easy friendship of sorts, and Ryan is accepted into Eden's group of friends, against the protests of Connor. Connor and Eden have been friends since they both began their schooling, but never having been romantically involved. Eden sees Connor as a brother figure, and wants nothing more than for him to reciprocate the feelings of mutual friend Megan. But Ryan has a theory that Connor sees Eden as more than just his best friend, as proven by Connor's overprotective nature where Eden and Connor is concerned.

On a school excursion for art class, not only does Ryan reveal his extensive knowledge of stars and solar systems, but how his homeland, Wolfeboro New England is slowly dying. The once stunning autumn trees that the city is well known for, no longer exist. His father is part of an environmental organisation that protects indigenous species and vulnerable habitats. But Eden can recognise his responses as being rehearsed, almost as though he knew what Eden was going to ask him. But as the end of the school year approaches, the Leavers Ball is on everyone's mind. Eden doesn't have time to confront Ryan as she's faced with the impossible decision, whether to attend the ball or not. Megan wants to ask Connor, Connor wants to ask Eden and Eden wishes that Ryan would take a chance on her and take their carefree friendship to the next level.

It's clear that Ryan likes Eden and enjoys her company, but she barely knows anything about him other than his vague and wooden responses, never delving into who the real Ryan Westland is. But when Ryan leaves his jacket behind, Eden takes the opportunity to visit him at home, hoping to learn a little more about who he is. Clearly having Eden in his home makes him uneasy, his sister Cassie is rude and uninviting and his father Ben seems more than a little concerned. But what Eden is about to discover will force Ryan to reveal more than Eden is ready to hear.

Accidentally picking up a text book she assumed was hers, Eden discovers a biography written by Connor, in the year 2081. How is it even possible? Ryan has a copy of a biography that was written by the Connor Penrose published almost seventy years in the future, simply titled Journey To Eden. As the facts start to add up, Connor's biography, Ryan starting school just weeks from graduation, not being able to recognise commonplace foods, never having heard of Hitler, Ghandi or Mandela. Reminiscing about the dying trees caused by an industrial accident that Eden finds no record of... Yet.

But what she knows will put her in danger, as Ryan begins to reluctantly tell her the truth. This is the opportunity that Eden has been waiting for, the seize the moment and make a difference. But saving the world is a bittersweet moment when the boy you've fallen in love with, was destined never to meet you.

After Eden was an interesting read. Eden is a typical teen who is trying to find her place in the world after the death of her parents. She has a small group of friends that don't seem all that close, and best friend Connor seems to want more from her than she is willing to give. Eden and Ryan meet by circumstance and are instantly attracted to one another, but Connor is determined to sulk, even though he's hasn't expressed any interest in Eden romantically, until Ryan arrives. This isn't a love triangle, as Eden has no interest in her best friend, but she's more than willing to play along as long as Ryan achieves his objective. Ryan isn't able to tell Eden anything due to something he refers to as Temporal Integrity. Honestly, it felt as though it was barely a brief explanation, only adding that a man known as The Cleaner will ensure that no trace is left of the mission.

The storyline had a Twilight feel to the flow and character development, which younger teen readers will enjoy. Mature young adult readers will be able to appreciate a fun, light read, as will teens who enjoy astronomy, but sadly the storyline lacks any real substance for late teens and adults. Purely for the young teen market, who'll enjoy Eden and Ryan's story.

After Eden
(After Eden: Book One)
Written By Helen Douglas
Published 07 / 11 / 2013
288 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia


  1. Thanks for your review Kelly, I didn't find this one too interesting because of the seemingly cardboard cut out story. Thanks for sharing, I do think younger readers would enjoy it.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  2. The premise sounds pretty intriguing, and I don't always mind a lighter read when I'm in the right mood for it! I hadn't head of this book at all, so thanks for the review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. I've heard a little tiny bit about this doesn't seem something I would be hooked on. I did think the premise sounded intriguing though.


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