A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
- Author: Joey Graceffa
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Keywords Press
- Publication date: October 4, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 278
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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