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The Garden of Eve    by K. L. Going order for
Garden of Eve
by K. L. Going
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

The Garden of Eve is a haunting but beautiful story of loss and hope. K. L. Going weaves together an excellent tale that is bitter-sweet yet magical. After Evie Adler's mother dies, her father moves her from Michigan to an apple orchard in Beaumont, New York. The orchard has not produced fruit in decades, and the town believes it to be cursed after the oldest sister of the previous owner went missing. Evie's dad is determined to bring the orchard back to life, but Evie wants nothing more than to have her mom back.

After days of moping, Evie eventually ventures out of the house to the cemetery next door, where she meets Alex, a boy who had died a week before. While Evie is not sure she believes that Alex is a ghost, the two become friends. When Evie is given a mysterious seed left to her by the old man who used to own the orchard, she knows she must plant it. The next day, she convinces Alex to plant the seed with her in the center of the orchard. Immediately, an apple tree springs up. When the two eat the fruit from the tree, they are transported to another world, a Beaumont where lush vegetation abounds. Little do they know how much their magical world affects the real world.

The Garden of Eve is all about coming to terms with loss. While there are many stories that deal with this subject, Going does it in such a way that it appeals to younger readers, making the understanding of loss magical rather than sad. This is difficult to do, but Going shows a rare talent for writing for middle readers on their level about a serious subject without ever talking down or preaching to them. The Garden of Eve is a fast read, but it is beautiful. It has all of the twists that make for a page-turner, yet the message rings loud and clear in the poetic symbolism that fills the story.

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