Title: Even in Paradise
Author: Chelsey Philpot
Publisher: Harper (HarperCollins)
“When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about her. Most people do . . . or think they do. Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she dives headfirst into the larger-than-life new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian. But behind Julia’s self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes, she is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden . . . until now.”
When I finished this book, I kept thinking of The Great Gatsby and then I saw the positioning (how publishers want to position the book in the market to tell readers what the book is): The Great Gatsby meets Looking for Alaska. I am not even sure how I feel about this book. The Great Gatsby came through, but somehow, this book did not live up to the hype in my mind.
From the flap copy, I actually though Gossip Girl meets The Great Gatsby. I wanted it to be more decadent, more highs, more lows, just MORE.
I think I was expecting the secret the Buchanan’s were keeping to be darker than it was. The family was too perfect. The characters in this book were too good to be true, but there was really no let down from that.
Every character in this book is forgettable. In the revolving kaleidoscope of YA books and stories in my mind, these characters just get shuffled to the back, and I think that is what frustrates me. The love interest was not the thrill it should of have been, the crushing blow of the climax fell softly, and I just don’t think Philpot pushed herself.
Would I have acquired this book? Surprisingly yes, because I think there is more to be developed here. And because you need mid-list titles (titles that sell well over time, but don’t necessarily bring in the big bucks right off the bat).