Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan (review)
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Reviewed by
Flanagan, Liz Eden Summer. Fickling/Scholastic, 2017[288p]
ISBN 978-1-338-12120-9 $18.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9–12

When Jess is brutally beaten by a group of hooligans who don’t like the way she dresses, her best friend Eden stands by her through her recovery. Then after Eden’s older sister, Iona, is killed in an auto accident, Jess returns the favor, teaming up with Eden’s boyfriend, Liam, to stand by Eden through her grief. Eden’s loss is made more crushing because she feels guilty; the sister fights that had plagued Eden and Iona in recent years had turned vicious, and their last fight had sent Iona out in her car in a rage of tears. Now Eden herself has gone missing, and Jess and Liam are determined to find her before she does anything drastic. The tense events of their twenty-hour search are interspersed with memories of times both happy and sad, as the full stories of both girls’ traumas spool out, offering clues to Eden’s [End Page 450] mental state as well as a deeper understanding of the demons Jess is still fighting after her attack. The strength of their friendship is what pulls them through as Jess refuses to accept that her life might go forward without Eden in it. The turbulent emotional landscape is perfectly complemented by what amounts to a love song to the furiously beautiful Yorkshire moors in which they live; even as Jess alternates between focused searching and drifting into memory, she sees her immediate surroundings with an artist’s eye, giving the descriptions a feeling somewhere between the Brontës’ Gothic novels and Ted Hughes’ poetry. Densely atmospheric, this will find an audience among fans of trauma lit.

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