A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens
Publisher:  Grove Creek Publishing
Published  October 20th 2008
Paperback, 248 pages
Challenges:  100 Books in 2011

He’s my teacher. I shouldn’t be alone with him. But I can’t help that he’s irresistible.
I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us. “I like hearing you play,” I said, moving toward him. He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn’t say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. “May I?” The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed. “Eden.” My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them. “Is it okay?” I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. “Let me stay,” I said. “Please.” “You’re going to get me in trouble,” he said.

When I first heard about this book I jumped at the chance to read it right away.  A romantic relationship between a teacher and a student is so taboo that I had to read it! Unfortunately, this book did not live up to all the expectations I created in my mind.  That is not to say that this book was not good.  It was actually really good, there were just a few things missing, at least for me.  

It is Eden’s Senior year and she needs to take an elective.  She doesn’t want to take a class that she actually has to do work in so she chooses an “easy” elective, Concert Choir.  However, Eden becomes obsessed with this class, and not because she loves to sing but because of her new music teacher, Mr. James Christian.  Right away she is overwhelmed by his voice, his preppy style fashion, and his music.  She also notices that he is only four years older than her, making him that much more appealing.  Her life becomes consumed by James Christian and the possibility of a real relationship, despite the fact that he is her teacher and she is his student. Soon, just like the forbidden fruit, a forbidden “friendship” is formed, one that puts them both in jeopardy, just for different reasons.  

While I was very eager to read this book I became very weary very quickly.  Eden’s character screams “stereotype” throughout most of the book – she is very rich, popular, beautiful and smart, all of which she knows and plays off of, and even uses people and situations to her advantage without feeling.  She comes off as very self centered, selfish, and fake.  Only when you read some of her ‘behind the scenes’ you find that there is more to Eden than just looks and money and popularity. Her relationship with her father is strained if existent at all.  Her relationship with her step mother is one of disdain.  The relationship between her and her boyfriend is one of convenience, at least on her side.  

Despite Eden’s superficial qualities, Jennifer Laurens has actually done an amazing job at creating a real teenage girl.  For Eden her crush consumes her life, just as any real teenager girl would feel (at least most).  You also see little glimpses into the growth of her character throughout the book – like most, teenagers (and adult) don’t grow up overnight.  In fact they make a lot of mistakes! Eden is not excluded from this. She gains a realization of her mistakes and character and acquires the desire to change for the better.

There were a few things that would have made this book make more of an impact for me.  I would have loved more information/scenes that gave more background Eden’s relationships:  with her parents, including her step mother, as well as with her friends.  Her relationship with her friends said nothing beyond superficial, and it was hard to believe that she really cared about these people when she spoke to them.  I also would have loved to read more about James Christian himself.  Eden finds qualities in him that are profound, but his actions and words don’t equal her feelings – of course this has a large part to do with the fact that she is a teenage girl completely smitten.  

While there were a few things missing, A Season for Eden is a wonderful read.  The writing style is simple making this a very quick read (I read it in a day and a half).  It is a perfect read for the summer.  While it may not have made it to my favorites list, I highly recommend this book!

My Rating:
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** Disclosure: I received this book from The {Teen} Book Scene in exchange for an honest review.