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REVIEW: Cornish teenage sci-fi romance has complex plot and mind-blowing ending

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

By Jessie Rose Parker

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If a new boy started at your school and he’d never heard of pizza, you’d definitely be suspicious.

In Helen Douglas’s superb new book, American teenager Ryan makes friends with a boy called Connor and a girl called Eden.

Without giving too much away, Ryan isn’t American at all, but from another planet, called Eden – which is not as much of a coincidence as you might think.

The book starts off as the story of an ordinary girl and her best friend. Then this guy arrives, who she really likes, and before long it’s about time travel and saving the world.

Eden soon works out that Ryan (real name Orion) is actually from the future after finding a biography of Connor – written 50 years from now – in his room.

But she’s not supposed to know and has to keep it a secret. Ryan also has to keep quiet about Eden knowing his real identity because his family are not really his family, but members of a mission from another planet.

Ryan and Eden then have to stop Connor from discovering Planet Eden, which is only visible once every few hundred years. That might all sound complicated – but Helen Douglas tells it neatly.

Brilliantly written, with lots of twists and turns, it’s a very good idea for a teenage novel because the secretive plot makes you feel like you have to keep the secret as well.

After Eden has a really complex and clever plot that keeps you hooked. It’s like a Sherlock Holmes story in that when you’re reading it you’re trying to work out how the different strands will tie up. The ending is mind-blowing.

It’s a sort of science fiction teenage love story, but it also contains a lot about stargazing, so even though it’s fiction there’s plenty of factual information about astronomy.

My only criticism of After Eden is its cover, which shows a fairly ordinary picture of a girl that doesn’t match the story very well. I never like it when publishers give you an image of the characters rather than leaving you to imagine what they look like while you’re reading it. But that’s only a little thing because After Eden is a beautiful, exciting and memorable read.

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