Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night’s experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden? Patrick Carman’s Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.
Hardcover, First Edition, 336 pages Published November 1st 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN 0062009702 (ISBN13: 9780062009708)
Characters: We are introduced to Will through sessions with his therapist. We learn he is an introvert who spends most of his time thinking about being at home with his little brother. However, he develops an interest in the other patients and sneakily begins taking files from the therapist’s computer.
Originality: I found this story to be very unique; the seven kids are taken to a “summer camp” which is a place for them to face their fears. The therapist tells Will that there is some connection between all of them and that this treatment facility will be the only thing that can finally cure them because the therapy sessions for this group haven’t been working.
Plot: Will soon realizes that the “summer camp” is not what he originally thought and becomes paranoid. He breaks off from the group upon arrival and hides in a basement room where he watches the other kids become “healed”, one at a time, through a camera security system. He falls for one of the other patients and wants to try to warn her about what he’s been seeing before she goes to her final “healing” session. But that means coming out of hiding.
Writing: While I really enjoyed how the story ended (it had a great twist), it took me a while to get through this short book because of the slow pacing. The story kept a mysterious overtone, but I couldn’t feel a connection to the main character who spent all of his time hiding in a room watching a camera and hypothesizing about what he was seeing, instead of being part of the action.
Krista’s Rating: It’s definitely a book that I was glad that I stuck with. It’s always nice to be surprised at the end of a story, and this one sure did that!