Hautman, Pete. Eden West. Candlewick Press, 2015.
Jacob and his family moved to Nodd, a religious compound in the middle of Montana, when he was just 5 years old. This world is almost all he has ever known. He does not question his beliefs or his role in the world, until one day when he speaks with a girl through the fence surrounding Eden West. Her experiences make Jacob question everything he's ever believed in. Is his faith strong enough to keep him inside the compound?
This book had a bit of a slow start, but I did end up enjoying it. I was glad to watch Jacob's thought processes as he tried to make what he was experiencing match with the beliefs he had held for most of his life. It was neat to see him interacting with both the boy who was brought in to the cult from outside and also the neighbor girl who spoke with him through the fence. This book paints an accurate picture of how easy it is to simply go through the motions and not question what you've been told, and also how painful it can be when your beliefs disintegrate. Recommended.
Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: minor violence - two boys get into a fistfight, Jacob self-flagellates as an act of repentance, Jacob shoots a wolf
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Read-Alikes: Keep Sweet, Alis, Godless, The Giver