Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Review: A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens

A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens
Publisher:Grove Creek Publishing
Publish Date: October 20, 2008
Paperback, 248 pages
ISBN: 978-1933963907
Young Adult, Fiction

My Review:
I have read several of Jennifer Laurens books now and I have never been disappointed.  She has a writing style that I really enjoy, it's almost lyrical and she is good at really getting to the heart of teenagers.  A Season of Eden is no different than other books I have read by her.  I raced through it, felt like I was one of the characters and thoroughly enjoyed the book's entertainment value.
Eden is a high school senior, she's popular, she has a boyfriend and great friends, her home life isn't so great with a stepmom she doesn't like and a dad who has ignored her since marrying her stepmom.  But she takes life in stride and everything seems to go her way.  She starts taking choir because she needs and easy A to finish out her Senior year, but she is thrown when a very handsome young teacher enters the classroom that first day.  Suddenly she is less interested in her boyfriend (though she confesses the spark was gone before) and more interested in choir.
Mr. Christian is new at teaching but he is passionate about music.  He loves teaching and it shows.  He is attracted to Eden but knows there are boundaries he should not cross because he is a teacher and she is a student.  Now don't start going ick, student-teacher relationship.   It's not like that.  Eden is 18 and James (Mr. Christian) is 22.  And the relationship that starts is almost sweet and magical.
I don't want to giveaway much more, but I really like the self-discovery that Mr. Christian inspires in Eden.  I like her in the beginning and like her even better in the end, he really makes her into the person she can be, without really changing her.  The character development is amazing.  I like how Ms. Laurens seems to get right into the teenage girl psyche in this book.  It never feels put-on, Eden feels real.  The way she falls for Mr. Christian seems right on target for a teenage girl and her feelings for others in her life as well.  The emotional well runs really deep in this story and I enjoyed that aspect.
The book moves quickly and I found it hard to put down, the feelings felt like my own as the book progressed.  I can only imagine how teenagers will feel reading this book.  It's great for lesson-teaching (in small ways) and for pure entertainment value too.
Some of my favorite interactions and quotes from the book are:
"I'll take this saccharinely sweet stuff to the garbage bins." I started to pick up a stack but his hand wrapped around my wrist. I froe. Delicious fire shot through my body where his skin met mine. "Don't."   His voice was coarse. "We'll keep them after all." He let go of me and I looked at where he'd touched me.
He stepped back. "I need to get back to work." He inched backward toward the open door of the office.  I didn't move. Then he turned and went inside.
 This is a great one about what is expected of the popular crowd:
I walked toward the faculty parking lot, winding my way to the main covered walkway to the final strip of buioldings and outdoor halls that would take me to the lot.  I thought about what Leesa had said.  It was requisite that my friends and I walk around with smiles. We were the best dressed, lived in the biggest houses, belonged to the right clubs, drove the nicest cars. That was more than the picture of perfection--it was the reality show of perfection.
And a final one that shows how Eden starts changing how she thinks:
I'd listened to enough in class that the repulsive reaction I'd had initially was nearly gone now.  As I drove down PV Drive, I tried to listen to the melody, like he'd taught us to.  The violins were strong, like a wind blowing through the trees.  In my mind I saw a dark forest. When I heard tinkling bells, I imagined the leaves on the trees shimmering with the sound.
As a parent, there are no warnings I would give for this book, there is very little bad language (maybe one or two instances of damn or hell) and no sex.  There is kissing and alluding to sex in the past, but that is all.  There are great lessons in the book yet teenagers will enjoy it for the book contents as well.

My Rating:  5.0/5.0

About the Book:
He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible. I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us. "I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him. He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed. "Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them. "Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please." "You're going to get me in trouble," he said.

About the Author:
Jennifer, aka JM Warwick was born and raised in Southern California and her hometown of Palos Verdes Estates flavors her books: A Season of Eden and An Open Vein. She doesn't limit herself to writing one genre, and was the first to author four romance novels centered around the popular sport of ballroom dancing. Now, she focuses on writing young adult. She has YA novels published under her YA romance name of Jennifer Laurens: Falling for Romeo, Magic Hands, Nailed and the Heavenly series: Heavenly ( 2009) Penitence (2010) and Absolution (2010) A Season of Eden and Overprotected. Two are under her other YA author name: JM Warwick - A Season of Eden and An Open Vein. Jennifer lives in Utah and has 6 children.

FTC Information: I received this book through The Teen Book Scene to review for the current tour.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.