The cover of Even in Paradise automatically captures my attention. A group of teens having a good time on what looks to be a beach. Need I say more? I thought Even in Paradise was going to be a good, enjoyable book, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.
Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philbot
*Expected publication: October 2014*
When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do… or think they do.
Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.
But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.
(Summary from Goodreads)
When beginning to read this book, I instantly felt a connection with Charlotte. I have been in her position before where someone who I least expected to befriend me and I felt the same as she did. Of course, my friend wasn’t nearly as immature and oblivious as Julia Buchanan was. Julia’s actions often made me frustrated and she definitely seemed selfish. Most of her choices weren’t the best or smartest and she seemed oblivious to realize how she was affecting the people around her. Honestly, Julia was the only reason why I didn’t give Even in Paradise five stars.
On the other hand, I loved the story line and I too fell in love with the Buchanan family. I loved how it took place over several seasons because I felt like I was able to get to know the characters better than I usually do. Thanks to the author, Chelsey Philbot, I was able to understand where both Julia and Charlotte were coming from when the romance in the novel started up, although in the end I was rooting for Charlotte and Sebastian. She showed the character’s flaws and didn’t make them out to be perfect, even though the idea of the Buchanan family to “outsiders” was that they were a perfect family.
In the first quarter of the book, I already knew what the big secret was. I’m not sure if I just took a lucky guess or if it really was quite obvious. Either way, it didn’t take anything away from the story, but I also wasn’t really shocked at the end. Though I was a bit surprised at how long it took Charlotte to figure it out. I was also a bit disappointed at how things ended for all of the characters, but who knows, I guess there could always be a sequel. (Although I strongly doubt it.)
Even in Paradise was the kind of book that grabbed you from the first chapter and kept you turning pages until the book was done. It was a perfect summer read and went by pretty quickly. When it is published in October, it is one that I will be happily adding to my bookshelf and reading again and again.