Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her.
As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.
It started off rather slowly, possibly due to the fact that I didn’t really have any connection with the characters. Eden was a fairly bland character; she had little personality to begin with and once Ryan was introduced, she quickly fell straight into a puddle of instalove. She was jealous, insecure, and really oblivious, so reading her narration could be slightly painful at times. Ryan, the new boy at school, was just… there. Sure, he was mysterious and the mission that he was on was kind of interesting, but he didn’t have much of a personality. And Connor, the best friend, drove me crazy. He spent most of the book pining over Eden, who never noticed that he was interested despite being told many times by Ryan. This would have been acceptable behaviour if he didn’t spend the entire book arguing with Eden merely because he was jealous; for two people who claim to be best friends, it was often hard to tell that they even liked one another.
Once Eden discovered Connor’s yet-unwritten autobiography, the plot began moving at a much quicker pace. I really liked the sci-fi aspects of the story: the constellations and time travel were explained quite well and the reasons why Ryan came back were interesting.
Overall, After Eden was a disappointing read. The concept behind the story was interesting, but unlikeable characters and too much instalove made it difficult to enjoy.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.