Children of Eden

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Children of Eden Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Familiar dystopian tale pushes limits of believability.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 16 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Children of Eden is set in a dystopian future that does not seem well thought out. It might, however, provide an opportunity to discuss the factors that could lead to such a sorry state of affairs.

Positive Messages

Authority figures don't always tell the truth. Humanity can find a way to survive in the future. People can work together to expose the truth about environmental disasters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rowan has been hidden away for her entire life, so she sometimes comes across as unfiltered and needy. She has a good heart, though, wanting to protect her loved ones and new friends.


A beating, torture by waterboarding, and the somewhat accidental cutting of someone's throat.


Rowan shares passionate kisses with Lark and Lachlan. She sleeps fully clothed in bed with Lachlan.


"Hell" used four or five times. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Rowan's father comes home drunk one night.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Children of Eden, written by social media and YouTube celebrity Joey Graceffa with Laura L. Sullivan, is a science-fiction thriller set in a dystopian environment where Earth's natural habitat is presumed destroyed. It contains some violence -- including torture similar to waterboarding and the semi-accidental slitting of a character's throat. There are a few passionate kisses; the only strong language is four or five uses of "hell." Although it's not explicitly branded as such, Children of Eden seems to be the first volume of a series.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old August 30, 2019

Awesome book. Good for kids.

Awesome. It has a little LGBTQ+ in it which is good for young children to know it's ok. There is a little romance but nothing more than kissing and if you... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 14, 2016

I definitely recommend this book!

I really liked Children of Eden because I love books that have the perfect amount of realistic fantasy. I also like that it was set in the future.

What's the story?

CHILDREN OF EDEN is set a few hundred years from now, after Earth's natural resources have been destroyed and only a tiny fraction of humanity has been saved. Rowan is a second child, someone who should not be allowed to exist. After 16 years of being hidden away in her parents' home, she's suddenly thrust into the world outside, where nothing makes sense and every action is fraught with danger. As she struggles to figure out whom to trust, she moves ever closer to a startling secret that could change civilization forever.

Is it any good?

This perplexing novel uses every convention of dystopian YA science fiction: confused but tough female lead, authoritarian villains, romantic triangles, vast conspiracies. These elements are so familiar, it's hard to tell whether the use of obvious cliché is intentional or not. In any case, the novel pushes the limits of believability. Children of Eden's main character, Rowan, is sympathetic, but she never seems to stop talking and stating the obvious. The world-building doesn't seem to make much sense, and coincidence seems to be the major motivator of the plot. Many readers will no doubt be attracted by the story's breathless earnestness, but the more critical among them may roll their eyes.

Beware that the book ends in a cliffhanger, even though there's no warning that this is the first volume in a series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Children of Eden depicts life on Earth hundreds of years in the future. Why are books about dystopias so popular now?

  • How is violence used in Children of Eden? Is it ever an effective method of solving a problem? 

  • Do the authorities always tell the truth to a nation's citizens? What reasons do they give for keeping secrets?

Book details

Our editors recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate