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Eden feels like she has been in love with Zed forever. She met him at fifteen and swiftly fell in love with the young musician, and now ten years later she's still in love with him. However, her love has turned into something of an obsession and she trails around after Zed, despite the fact he's moved on from Eden and has other girls in his life now. Eden realises its futile loving Zed when he doesn't return her love, so she decides to flee to New York to live with her Aunt Katherine for a while. But Eden gets a surprise when she arrives, finding love in an unexpected place and a familiar face showing up to throw everything into confusion...
As you can probably tell from the title of the book and the main plotline, the theme throughout the book is love, and love in many different forms at that. Eden is our main character and we follow her through three months, a summer in her life, and how love changes everything in her world. Her love for musician Zed has turned into a real obsession, she thinks, dreams, breathes Zed and it's not healthy. Her relationship with her father is at breaking point when he meets another woman, and Eden is still mourning the loss of the mother who abandoned her as a child, despite the fact she's not dead, only living in St Lucia and New York. This book examines the many truths behind love and how it changes and affects different people.
Beginning in London we are introduced to Eden and Zed at a musical venue. It's clear from the off that Eden is completely obsessed with Zed to the point of it being quite freaky, and that Zed doesn't know how to deal with it. He clearly knows how Eden feels yet finds it okay to kiss and grope other girls in front of her. At this point, I didn't like Zed at all and wondered why Eden was so deeply in love with him. As the story progresses, we are given flashbacks to when Eden and Zed met as fifteen year old teenagers, and how things progressed between them. Some parts are told in detail yet others are skimmed over, leaving me with quite a lot of questions I felt were unanswered.
This, however, wasn't my main problem with the book if I am honest. I just found that there were too many characters all over the book that it just was too much at points. The author has chosen to mainly focus on Eden and Zed as the leading characters, and has Max, Juliet and Spanish as more subsiduary characters. However, there are more and more names being thrown up in the story, and I just couldn't work out who they were, how they fitted into the story and whether or not I needed to bother remembering them or not. I found the portion of the book written in New York particularly confusing and quite hard-going.
It says on the back of the book that the author Gemma Weekes is also a successful poet and you can actually tell this from the way she writes she definitely has a background in poetry. Far from being an easy read, this book requires its reader to sit and completely absorb themselves into the story because of the sheer amount of descriptive language and characters involved in the story as a whole. I really did struggle to get into this story because of the language and way it was written, and thought it was just because I wasn't in the right frame of mind for reading it. I asked my other half to have a read of a few chapters to see what he thought and he actually had the same view as me, that it was hard-going and incredibly descriptive. While this really sets some scenes alight in your mind, it does bog down other bits of the book and I felt like I was trudging through.
The story is good enough as a whole, but I really do feel my enjoyment of the book was hampered because of the intensity of the writing. Weekes clearly has a real talent for descriptive and image-inspiring writing, and while this is definitely conveyed in the book, it just wasn't for me. I couldn't really begin to care for the characters because I was concentrating too much on the other elements of the book, and consequently I wasn't yearning to pick it up and read as I often do with books. It is a hard-going read,one you definitely need to concentrate on with a good story and good characters, but you definitely need peace, quiet and time if you want to finish this one.
ISBN: 978-0701181154. Published by Chatto & Windus in January 2009. The paperback contains 256 pages.
Thank you for reading.
This review previously appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk