Synopses & Reviews
Evie reluctantly moves with her widowed father to Beaumont, New York, where he has bought an apple orchard, dismissing rumors that the town is cursed and the trees haven't borne fruit in decades. Evie doesn't believe in things like curses and fairy tales anymore--if fairy tales were real, her mom would still be alive. But odd things happen in Beaumont. Evie meets a boy who claims to be dead and receives a mysterious seed as an eleventh-birthday gift. Once planted, the seed grows into a tree overnight, but only Evie and the dead boy can see it--or go where it leads.and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Garden of Eve mixes spine-tingling chills with a deeply resonating story that beautifully explores grief, healing, and growth.
"Feeling bereft 10 months after her mother's death, 11-year-old Evie Adler is even sadder when her father uproots the two of them from Michigan and buys a dead apple orchard in Beaumont, N.Y. The town is colorless and cold and 'there didn't seem to be any life at all. Even the crows had stopped flying overhead.' Evie's only playmate is Alex, the ghost of a 10-year-old boy whose death the town still mourns and who frequents the cemetery next door to the orchard. Her dad, meanwhile, has no luck in the orchard, which people claim is cursed. The former owner, a stranger, has bequeathed Evie a small seed, which his sister says might have been from the Garden of Eden, and might have played a part in the disappearance of another sibling. Evie plants the seed and hopes it will transport her to a magical garden where her mother will be waiting. What works best in Going's (Fat Kid Rules the World) novel is the skillful depiction of Evie's grief for her mother and the wonderful life they shared. What complicates the story and makes it confusing is the odd combination of magic and religious symbols (for example, the ghost Alex turns out to be a twin brother named Adam; the seed instantaneously sprouts into a fruit-bearing tree). The emotional ending, with a surprising twist, ties the story together, but seems contrived. Ages 8-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Believably and with delicacy, Going paints a suspenseful story suffused with the poignant questions of what it means to be alive, and what might wait on the other side."--The Horn Book
"Symbolism abounds in this beautifully written book."--Booklist
Magical realist tale, both cozy and spooky, about a girl grieving her mother,and#160;a town with a curse, and a mysterious apple seedand#160;given to her by someone she's never met
About the Author
K. L. GOING is the author of FAT KID RULES THE WORLD, a Michael L. Printz honor book, and THE LIBERATION OF GABRIEL KING, a southern middle grade novel. She's had many jobs, including assistant at a Manhattan literary agency and manager of an independent bookstore, but now she writes full-time. She lives in Glen Spey, New York.
Table of Contents
1 and#149; The Fork in the Roadand#160;~and#160;7
2 and#149; The Pale Boyand#160;~and#160;14
3 and#149; The House by the Cemeteryand#160;~and#160;26
4 and#149; Tomorrowand#160;~and#160;33
5 and#149; Alexand#160;~and#160;39
6 and#149; Ghostsand#160;~and#160;45
7 and#149; Mysteriesand#160;~and#160;49
8 and#149; Maggieand#8217;s Storyand#160;~and#160;62
9 and#149; Dreamingand#160;~and#160;69
10 and#149; Birthday Wishesand#160;~and#160;76
11 and#149; The Only Gift That Countsand#160;'Times New Roman'; mso-ansi-font-size: 9.0pt"~and#160;82
12 and#149; The Search for a Stoneand#160;~and#160;87
13 and#149; Truth and Liesand#160;~and#160;93
14 and#149; The Rest of the Storyand#160;~and#160;99
15 and#149; One Giant Stepand#160;~and#160;108
16 and#149; Signsand#160;~and#160;113
17 and#149; The Treeand#160;~and#160;119
18 and#149; Into the Magicand#160;~and#160;123
19 and#149; The House of Alex Cordezand#160;~and#160;134
20 and#149; Into Townand#160;~and#160;142
21 and#149; Momand#160;~and#160;154
22 and#149; Night Searchersand#160;~and#160;159
23 and#149; Homecomingand#160;~and#160;165
24 and#149; Pieces of the Puzzleand#160;~and#160;173
25 and#149; To Tell the Truthand#160;~and#160;182
26 and#149; Hidden Treasureand#160;~and#160;189
27 and#149; Inside the Vaultand#160;~and#160;197
28 and#149; Not That Kind of Treeand#160;~and#160;204
29 and#149; Back to the Gardenand#160;~and#160;210
30 and#149; A Tiny Twigand#160;~and#160;221
31 and#149; A Final Giftand#160;~and#160;226
Q: The two main characters in The Garden of Eve
are both recovering from the loss of loved ones and must learn how to go on without these special people in their lives. Why did you decide to write a story about such a tender topic?
A: Being a writer is like putting together a puzzle without having the picture on the box in front of you. Each piece fits together until finally the picture emerges. When I first got the idea for The Garden of Eve, a couple key pieces of the puzzle came together.
First, my cousin Kyle said, "Why don't you write a book about an apple tree?" His statement was out of the blue; there was nothing that prompted it that I know of, and I wondered why he'd thought of it. So the idea stuck in my mind. I began to think about what apple trees represent in religion and in literature. Several months after that, my husband's brother (a very young man) was killed in a car accident, and as the family dealt with this tragedy, I began to think about death, and how hard it is to understand this mystery.
As I began writing The Garden of Eve, my intent was to create a landscape for loss, one the children could play in and climb on, one that threatens to suck them in, yet also offers the hope of blossoming and healing.
Q: The book delivers a powerful message about believing in oneself, in other people, and in things that cannot be seen. Do you think readers will identify with Evie, her father, and the other characters because their faith in themselves and others is put to the test?
A: Whether we are young or old, our faith in ourselves, in others, and in the world around us is often put to the test. In many ways, I think this is especially hard for children, because their faith is so much purer and they don’t always have the tools to handle disappointment. I do think kids will relate to Evie and Father, and I hope that seeing these characters believe again despite what they've been through will help children to do the same.
Q: The Garden of Eve has many biblical allusions, including two Eves, and a magical tree that springs to life from an ancient apple seed. Can you comment on what inspired you to weave these elements into the story?
A: My original idea was to have the children return to the actual Garden of Eden, a landscape now abandoned and overgrown, but there were problems with this idea, and my editor and I both felt that the story needed to be more connected to the kids' real world. Still, the Garden of Eden is by some accounts where life and death began, so it was perfect to have the power the children receive come from there.
Q: You've created soundtracks to complement two of your previous novels: Fat Kid Rules the World and Saint Iggy. If you were to create a playlist for The Garden of Eve, what songs would you include on it?
A: Good question! I don't usually come up with soundtracks for my younger novels. However, I can tell you this: I listened to the Finding Neverland soundtrack over and over again as I was working on this novel. That movie and its music perfectly captured the blending of imagination and reality that I wanted The Garden of Eve to have. The soundtrack is haunting, uplifting, and exquisitely beautiful all at once.
Q: You keep in touch with your readers and other authors. How do these virtual interactions help you as a writer?
A: Hearing from readers reminds me why I write for this age group. It's so amazing to think that your words have impacted kids in a positive way. Since The Liberation of Gabriel King (2005) was published, I have heard from a lot of my younger audience, readers who say they've made "fear lists" just as the characters do in the book. Older teens often write to me about their experiences reading Fat Kid Rules the World and Saint Iggy. I've even had kids say they were thinking about suicide (as the main character does in Fat Kid) but decided not to go through with it after reading the book. Hearing from readers like these reminds me that books can have real power to reach out to people and change the course of their lives.
As for other authors, they are so supportive! The young adult/children's author community is a small world, and we all reach out to one another and cross-promote our books. On my website, I have an author interview section where I talk with other authors once a month. I also interact with my readers there regularly, so I hope everyone will visit the forums section of my site.
Q: Speaking of your website, http://klgoing.com, it mentions that you have a "very unsettling" obsession with ketchup. What is it about the red stuff that you love so much?
A: It's just so yummy! You know how kids always adore ketchup and put it on everything possible? Well, I've never grown out of that. I always have "back up" bottles in my cupboards so that I never run out.
Q: You alternate between writing for middle grade and teen readers. What projects are you working on now?
A: I am working on a teen novel tentatively called King of the Screwups (Harcourt). It's funnier and lighter than my usual YA books. I've had so much fun writing it and hope readers will have just as much fun reading it. Plus, I'm working on a nonfiction book with Writer's Digest on Writing the YA Novel. That should be out in the spring of 2008. I'm also starting a brand-new novel for younger readers, but it's mostly ideas at this point. I only have fifty pages written, but my brain is working... and waiting for those pieces of the puzzle to fall into place!
Copyright © 2007 Harcourt
Questions written by Roseleigh Navarre