This Side of Paradise-Steven Layne

  • Title: This Side of Paradise
  • Author: Steven Layne
  • Released: 2005-03-31
  • Language:
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 1589802543
  • ISBN13: 978-1589802544
  • ASIN: 1589802543

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From School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-High school junior Jack is happy running with his 72-year-old motorcycle-riding, roughhousing grandmother. He is less at ease with his demanding "corporate giant" father, Chip, for whom only the best will do. Mom has been drinking too much lately and his ninth-grade brother Troy is a wrestler who is "handsomer than all get-out." Trouble begins when Dad announces he is moving the family to Paradise, a company town built by his boss, the mysterious Adam Eden. Eden provides his employees with everything-beautifully landscaped and appointed houses, modern high-tech schools- in his carefully gated community. The boys are surprised that Mom is not there to make the move, but that's only one of the mysteries. What does it mean that nobody ever leaves Paradise? Why is everyone so stiff and cold? Who lays out their school uniforms each night and how is it that Grandma has an electric drill in her makeup bag when she needs it? The characterizations are zany, the plot is a straight-out Stepford wives takeoff. Turns out that Dad is psychotic; as split-personality Chip/Adam Eden he has murdered Mom and peopled his community with less-than-perfect clones and androids. When Troy's clone sacrifices himself for Troy, Chip/Adam exclaims, "Not my son! He's the one I chose. He's perfect!" There are too many weaknesses and absurdities in the plot to enjoy even the first half of the book as realistic fiction, and too many internal inconsistencies to enjoy it as horror/science fiction.

Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Gr. 7-10. Part sf thriller, part theme-park horror ride, this first novel is set in a paradise community where everything is perfectly controlled. The story is told in a wry contemporary voice by high-school junior Jack, who joins with his rebellious grandmother and resists his dad's plans to force the family into Paradise. What must Dad do to make them fit in there? The dystopia scenario is heavy-handed ("Leave? What do you mean leave? This is Paradise. No one leaves here. Ever."), and the action-packed plot is full of coincidence and contrivance. What will hold teen readers is the horror of a parent prepared to do anything, even kill, in order to clone the perfect family. Hazel Rochman
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