Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dark Eden, by Patrick Carman

Will has fears, but not fear like most people.  His fears are darkly, deeply, crippling phobias.  After two years of unsuccessful therapy, his doctor and parents decide to send him to a week long treatment program with six other teenagers suffering from other phobias.  From the beginning, Will realizes something is wrong, that one by one they are being cured, but at what cost?

It seems like young adult fiction is taking a turn for the darker these days.  And though stories of monsters or sparkly vampires have their own type of darkness, this book is somewhat more sinister because it plays on something we all experience- fear.  I really enjoyed this story, and thought a lot of the plot twists were quite clever.  The writing is really original, and I love the classic literary references sprinkled throughout.  I can imagine a young adult reader, after having read this book, might be apt to look into a lot of those literary references, which to me is a bonus.

One thing that did trouble me was character development.  The character of Will is well developed, since this is really his story, but I would like to have seen more development of the other six teen characters.  I did not feel like I cared about them, nor did I understand why Will would care about them, and I even got some of the characters confused at times.  

I really liked the ending of the book.  It was certainly unexpected, and parts of it remain shrouded in mystery.  To me, that is a brilliant way to end a story, with a few loose ends.  It makes the story memorable.  I think a lot of young adult readers will enjoy this book; it appeals to both male and female readers.  While it is dark, it is also a fairly clean book.

I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.

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