Children of Eden – Joey Graceffa (Review) and Giveaway Results! 

Title: Children of Eden: A Novel
Author: Joey Graceffa
Publisher: Atria Books, 2016 (October 4)
Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

First, I want to declare the winners of the signed copies of Dyan Chick’s Heir of Illaria. They have been notified and Dyan has already received the addresses to send them out. In addition, since Rafflecopter accidentally allowed me to draw three winners (since I’m new to it and don’t understand it all yet…but I know it like a pro now!). So my third winner received an ebook copy on me. 😊

The winners are:

  1. Theresa S. (she’s not a blogger so no link to a page)
  2. Amanda @ Cover2Cover Mom (if you haven’t checked her blog out, you should: its amazing and just had a remodel)

And the winner of the ebook version is Megan @ BookslayerReads

Yay to all the winners! Thank you ALL for entering and I’ll be doing more giveaways soon: with other authors and on my own! I have a Flash Giveaway right now on Twitter for a copy of The Glitch by Ramona Finn (check it out – @TeacherofYA) because I won a copy of the book as a runner-up in the YASH scavenger hunt and I already own a copy. It’s an Amazon voucher for the book and it runs until 4/20, so GO ENTER!!

Now, for the review…

My Review:

I love finding a nice big cover image!

I had started this novel way back when I had it the first time on Overdrive. I got to around 30% and then Overdrive took it back. I was sooo bummed because I was getting really into it! I’m a big nerdy dystopian fan and I loved the concept. And the writing was spot on. I even checked the physical book out…but other books came first and it got pushed to the wayside. 

Then Overdrive had it available again (honestly I had it on hold) and as the days ticked by and I was reading other books, I came down to the wire again. I thought, “Oh, hell no! Not again! Not this time!” And I sat and read it straight through. I think I had an hour left on my loan (though a secret – if you keep the book open in Kindle, you get to keep it practically another 24 hours…it’s not a guarantee so don’t quote me on this, but for me it’s worked when I was cutting it close. And let’s not even start on my accidental copies that STAYED on my Kindle after the book was returned, but only on my older Kindle for some reason)

Rowan is a second child in the city of Eden. Eden is a city of chosen people left over from a devastation to the Earth: an apocalyptic event, if you will. Because Eden’s resources are limited, there is s strict one child per family rule. In Rowan’s case, she is a twin (her brother, Ash, is her closest ally and friend) and unfortunately was born second. 

Through a misdirection, Rowan was saved and has been kept secret for 16 years. She envies her brother but loves him: he has severe breathing problems and needs the extra help. When he comes home from school every day, Rowan pesters him about details: the friends, the clothes, and Lark, the girl Ash has a crush on. Ash obliges as Rowan cannot see it firsthand: she cannot leave the house for fear of exposing herself and her entire family. 

When Rowan learns something shocking, she decides to be a little reckless and sneak out. She’s tired of the hiding and the restlessness…she’s tired of the lack of eye implants that every citizen of Eden has; instead of flat, gray-blue eyes, her hazel ones stand out like a sore thumb. Marking her a second child. Marking her for death.

When Rowan sneaks out, she meets Lark by accident: after all Ash has described, she imagined Lark just as she is, her lilac-colored hair framing her friendly face. When Lark finds out about Rowan, they instantly become friends, and Lark invites her out again and again. Suddenly, Lark seems to be more than just a friend. 

But before anything can happen, Rowan learns she must be moved. She will be placed with a well-paid foster family and get counterfeit lenses that will mark her a first child. The only caveat to her freedom? She must leave her family and her twin brother behind, never to look back.

When the date gets moved up suddenly, Rowan is thrown into a situation that puts her in danger, and along the way meets Lachlan, another second child with mysteries of his own. And when Rowan is offered a choice, she is faced with a chance to save all the second borns out there…and perhaps find out more about Eden than she ever bargained for.

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes: if you’re tired of the only option in dystopian fiction to be The Hunger Games or The Giver (both excellent books btw), this is a great choice. Though it sounds like a Communist manifesto sometimes, it is a good book that will show how destruction of the Earth can have terrible consequences. There are several quotes that make me feel like there’s a hidden agenda:

Why on Earth then do some people have so much, some so little? It makes no sense. The inner circle people don’t need exotic nightclubs, decadent food, and luxury clothes. If they had a little less, the people out here would have a little more . . . . Why doesn’t EcoPan divide the resources equally?

This isn’t necessarily true. Yes, it’s a beautiful idea, and it’s optimistic, but if applied to a real world scenario, it’s simply another way of advocating distribution of wealth. And that’s fine if that’s what you want to believe…it’s just that there are other issues to be focused on, and this one seems the most heavily emphasized. Even that simple sentence about dividing resources equally…this might actually work in a self-contained society like Eden, but sometimes it’s just not that simple. 

However, despite that message, it still is a book that fights a controlling government, and I am always a fan of those. Graceffa modeled the book after China’s own old “one child policy” that rewarded families for helping control the population by giving more to those who didn’t have more than one child. It’s a sign of the benefits and drawbacks of civilizations like this: when the government controls the resources, what may seem fair to some will be unfair to many others. Perhaps this is a method that can be discussed at length in a classroom setting. 

That’s why I give Children of Eden

Because even if I don’t identify with all that is said in the book, it’s filled with great discussion material and resounds a message of the “utopia hiding a dystopia” at heart. And those stories are always great from an educational standpoint. I would keep a copy of this and use it in my classroom lessons for sure. It would be nice to have an alternative to the typical dystopian lit that’s already everywhere.

Age Range

Finally a book is on Lexile! This book is suggested for a reading level of 770L, which, judging by the provided chart (which took me all this time to finally find), indicates a basic reading level of 5th grade. Now this doesn’t mean you hand any book with a 770L to a fifth grader and say, “Go at it: it’s your score.” Quite the opposite. The Lexile number is a guide. It means (to me at least) that the text is simple to understand for reluctant YA readers, and I personally would find no problem using this as a MG read. Personally I find that many books have a lower score even when they are targeted for older readers because Lexile measures complexity and not content. 

So I would personally say 12 and up, but Lexile recommends as young as 9. I don’t think a 9 year old should really read a book this complex, so I stick with my original assessment of 12 and up (they suggest 9-13).*

*I will say that a lot of young (probably avid) readers come to his signings. So if you think your 9 year old is an avid reader, and you want something mild but complex, interesting yet understandable, then it doesn’t hurt to give it a try, as it ALWAYS depends on the reader. You know your reader best. 

End Result:

I enjoyed this book immensely. It ends kind of strangely, so I don’t know if there’s a sequel, or like with The Giver, it’s meant to be interpreted however you choose. I personally hope for a sequel, because as it ends now, it keeps me from adding that last extra star to make it one of my faves. I tried to find out but only came up with fanfiction (and not good ones) that continue the story. I never knew about Graceffa before I read his book, and his charismatic personality makes me like this book even more. I mean, he wrote a GOOD BOOK. I am not someone who watches YouTube, but I was a little hesitant when I found out an online celebrity was writing a YA dystopian novel. Well, who knew? The man can write! And write well.

I personally give Children of Eden ★★★★☆, and that’s only because of the strange ending. Anyone who loves dystopian fiction and also loves a non-traditional love triangle (talk about wonderful diversity…I won’t call Rowan bisexual bc I don’t want to label her, but I will say that she loves openly and honestly and I love that about her character!) will enjoy this. Rowan is a likeable main character and she is strong but flawed, brave but scared. I was rooting for her the whole time. And I don’t usually get attached to MCs lately. 

So that means I give Children of Eden (in my rating scale):

More like 4.5, but we don’t have half-stars, so take that as you will. 

Will you be checking out Children  of Eden? Have I convinced you yet? If not, let’s leave off with a very handsome pic of the author from his own YouTube trailer (that I absolutely loved)…and maybe it will convince you more:

Gush moment: I think he’s so handsome. Just my opinion and has NOTHING to do with how I feel about the book. But I want a sequel, Joey. I won’t stay quiet on that, no matter how cute you might be.

Whatcha all reading? You know I love to hear about it! I have another review to post for Black Dawn and one for my HP reread that I’ve been lagging on writing…you know, since it’s hard to do justice in a review of anything Harry Potter-related! 

But I want to know…and don’t forget to check out my Twitter giveaway @TeacherofYA

46 thoughts on “Children of Eden – Joey Graceffa (Review) and Giveaway Results! 

    1. Thank you! I would def remember to read this one…if you like dystopian lit but are tired of the regurgitated formulas, then this one is awesome. I love how she had feelings for Lark but also felt something for Lachlan. And it was true “discovering yourself” kind of love. I liked that a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yay! That would be AWESOME! It’d be cool to see what someone else thinks! (It does have good ratings on Amazon and Goodreads too so that’s always a good sign…well, most of the time it’s a good sign! Lol!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was too! I had never heard of him, so at least I wasn’t biased toward him as a celebrity. I just figured “Oh, I love dystopian Lit” and grabbed it. I was shocked at how enjoyable and creative it was.
      Finally, after two bland books! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m always a little wary about famous actors, vloggers, celebrities, etc. going into the book world because it seems like a lot of times people have either great writing skills, great singing abilities, or great acting talents, but not really overlapping. The only one I can think of that defies this mindset is Chris Colfer (from Glee). I’m now curious about this book! Seems like a great read! And Joey is such a fun person to watch- I watched him on The Amazing Race and I was rooting for him all the way!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have NEVER seen his show or channel or anything. Unless he used a ghostwriter (and that’s totally possible), he wrote an amazing story. I wanted to give it five stars bc the book sticks with you, but that blasted ending made me want more! I REALLY HOPE it was popular enough to warrant a sequel. I really do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yay! I haven’t seen this one reviewed on the blogosphere as of yet but I have watched Joey on Youtube where he is very well loved lol. Curious about this one but hesitant when it comes to dystopian books, I’m so glad that this one isn’t your typical run of the mill dystopians. The cover is GORGE & Yay for diversity, also interesting that he decided to model it after China’s 1 child per family policy. & if I had hazel eyes I’d much prefer it to flat blue LOL! Great review Stephanie 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you! I do love this book and I think he did an awesome job. I could seriously bump this to five if the series continues…but if you read this and get to the ending, let me know how you feel about it…it isn’t bad, and I’m not going to spoil it for you. It’s just cryptic, so I am hoping there’s more.
    And yes, the cover is beautiful. I saw a video when he got the book and he loved it. It was so funny. I don’t watch him but I might have to!


  4. Lovely review, that one certainly sounds interesting and different from all the dystopia books out there. I’ll have to keep it in mind for whenever I’m in the mood for this kind of book again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review for this book Stephanie, as always! 😀 I feel like I’ve seen this one before because the cover is so familiar to me but I know I haven’t read it. It’s possible it’s already on my to-read list somewhere and I’m just unaware of it! 🙂
    I’ve been on a bit of a dystopian slump recently but Gilded Cage seems to have made me want to dive back into the genre so this may be one I try and check out soon. It certainly sounds interesting but maybe I’ll wait until it’s announced whether there’s going to be a sequel or not, just so I know going in! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’m not surprised the cover looks familiar bc Graceffa did a book tour in the U.K. only: I know someone that even got to meet him! I’m so jealous bc he sounds so awesome.
      This is a good one. I think you’ll enjoy. That last star was more like half a star. It’s really 4.5 in my opinion! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I try to give a different POV and also review for fun! I think this is a good one for the classroom and for recreational reading. I hope you give it a chance. 😊
      Thanks for stopping by and hope to see more from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like the sound of this book! I vaguely remember seeing the cover floating around after it was released but have never read a review of this until now. Weirdly enough, even though they’re completely different, it reminds me of The 100 (if you’ve watched it) before they go to Earth with the one child aspect. Minus the whole space thing that is. I love dystopias where it’s masquerading as a utopia. I’m definitely going to be adding this to my TBR. Great review as always, Stephanie!! 😊♥


  7. Christy Luis

    Joey was on the Amazing Race!! Love that show! I think it was a Youtube star special season. Anyway, great review! The plot sounds exactly like Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Among the Hidden, except that one is more aimed toward MG than YA. Less glorification of Communism, possibly?? Lol But it’s been a long time since I read it, so I don’t remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, unfortunately the glorification of communism is still there. I think Joey might have been accused of plagiarizing that very book: I’ll have to look it up and read it for myself.
      But when it comes to a well-written story, this one was on it (for me). You read Sanderson and stuff so I might be underestimating other authors. 🤷‍♀️
      I’m going to look up that other book – thanks for the title bc I wasn’t sure what people were talking about!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Yikes! Well, authors do often steal elements from other books, but if they steal too much or too directly, things turn out badly. But it sounds like Joey added a few interesting things, such as the eye implants and the bisexual love triangle. And if this book was still enjoyed by so many, *fingers crossed* that his next is even better!

        Among the Hidden is terrific- and short! It might be a fun “quick read” Dystopian for you, sometime.

        I love reading your Dystopian reviews because I don’t get to read very many these days; your reviews make me remember with nostalgia those happy teen reading days when I couldn’t keep my hands off of them Lol THG, Divergent, 1984…so much fun. Thanks for another treat 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well I know how much you love dystopian like me. I don’t get to read it often either bc there’s always another book that’s fantasy and there’s less and less big dystopian titles bc of the genre not being “in” right now.
      I’m glad you like em and I’ll keep em coming!!

      Liked by 1 person

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