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Eden West Book Review

Title: Eden West 
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0763674182

 320 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

This is a book that could be confused for dystopia at first glance. Jacob lives in the community of Nodd, home to the people known as the Grace. Their prophet, who has a penchant for young wives, says that the Grace will be spared when the rest of the world is destroyed. The fences and guns are there to protect the Grace from the impending evil outside.

But Jacob actually lives on a ranch in Montana and life within a cult is the only life he remembers. When Tobias and his family join the Grace, very much against Tobias' will, Jacob begins to question their strict rules and the punishments that follow if they're broken.

Jacob also meets Lynna, a Worldly girl who lives on the ranch nearby. Lynna wants to know about Jacob and the Grace and Jacob finds her simple questions more and more difficult to answer.

There's also a wolf loose, a wolf that is a less-than-subtle metaphor for Jacob's doubts. But Peter Hautman does an excellent job of presenting Jacob as a real person, one that slowly comes to the realization that he must think for himself.

I would recommend Eden West to readers who enjoyed Blankets by Craig Thompson or The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman.

Eden West by Pete Hautman Book Trailer:


  1. This book is very well written and thought out. You can't dismiss the similarities to the Branch Davidians or the Heaven's Gate Cult. This cult of Father Grace, as written, seems tightly tied to some of the Latter Day Saints groups that have branched off from the mother church and are fostering polygamy and isolationism. There is so much that rings true that the reader understands the lure of these organizations and how they hold on to their members. I found the book fascinating.

  2. Eden West is a thought provoking read. This is a coming of age book that exams faith and power. It was fascinating to see things through Jacob’s innocent eyes and to watch as he tried to unite his belief and longings as he learns to be his own person.. This story is character driven with the focus on Jacob. Eden West is a suitable read for 13 and up.


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