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This Is No Christmas Eve

A reviews Eve by Anna Carey, whose titular character would more likely find a kindred spirit in Bella Swan than Meghan. (Yeah, she sucks THAT much.)

This Is No Christmas Eve

BOOK REPORT for Eve (Eve Book 1) by Anna Carey

Cover Story: Not Bad!
BFF Charm: Oh, HELL No
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Stephenie Meyer Lite
Bonus Factor: Cave Living
Anti-Bonus Factor: Anti-2nd Wave Brainwashing (Aka All Feminists Are Hairy-Legged Manhaters)
Relationship Status: Sixth-Grade 1-Hour Boyfriend

Cover Story: Not Bad!

I actually kinda like the cover. The foggy Golden Gate Bridge is nice and atmospheric, and I'm super jealous of Eve's awesome hair -- seriously, girl! How can you live rough for months on end and still have shiny, pretty, bouncy, untangled, unfrizzy hair? Plus it's exactly the shade of red I've always wanted. It doesn't scream highbrow literature, but then, neither does anything else I read.

The Deal:

It's 2030ish, and the country's emerging from a devastating plague that destroyed most of the population. The government was wiped out almost instantly, and people turned to a charismatic leader to help lead them out of death and terror, who now holds the entire nation of New America under his thumb. The king set up schools for the millions of orphaned girls, including Eve, where they're taught the usual stuff -- literature, art, science, sport -- as well as to hate and fear all men. On the eve (ha, get it? Eve?) of her graduation from school, Eve (the valedictorian), learns from loner weirdo classmate Arden that the girls haven't been training for futures as chemists and painters and architects, but have been kept as broodmares and are about to be shipped off to bloody institutions where they'll be strapped to tables and inseminated and spend the next 20 years growing and birthing litters of babies for the rich survivors to raise. Horrified, Eve goes on the run, despite not knowing anything about survival in the wild since she spent the last 13 years eating up all the shit she's been fed by the elite. Lucky for her, tons of people step up to risk their lives by trying to rescue her, including Arden -- to whom I would TOTES give a BFF charm, and whom I desperately hope is the star of the sequel, which should be all about her meeting a strapping Lucy Lawless out in the wild and falling madly in love and adopting kittens and saving all the babies from the baby farms and raising them in a secret cave hideout far away from the New America -- and Caleb, the hot boy with a horse who rescues Eve and inexplicably falls in love with her.

BFF Charm: Oh, HELL No

Eve spends the first half of the book spouting sanctimonious garbage about sex and men and other things she knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT, like sharing and being nice and making campfires and not being total dead weight. Then she spends the second half of the book mooning about some dude she doesn't even know and whining because her stupidity puts people in danger, then she goes out and PUTS MORE PEOPLE IN DANGER! So I'm going to stay far, FAR away from Eve, who won't help gather berries and edible mushrooms, and will hog all my Cheetos without saying, "Thanks," will probably steal any guy who even looks my way and then will somehow contrive to accidentally get me killed by the soldiers who are looking for HER, not me. Awesome. But hey, Eve, don't cry -- I'm sure Bella Swan will be happy to give you her BFF charm.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

I was only able to give the story 3 points by picturing Caleb as James McAvoy. So you can also appreciate those 3 points (which bring the scale from a -997 to +3), I give you this:

Ahem. Where was I? Oh, right, the improbability of the love story here. We don't know much about Caleb except he's really nice and hot, and hunts deer as humanely as possible and only out of necessity, but I just could NOT fathom why he fell in love with Eve. Sure, she's pretty, and the prenatal vitamins and good nutrition she got at school gave her shiny hair and nails, but she's also boring, selfish and cannot think for herself. So the romance is basically just like high school, hey-o!

Talky Talk: Stephenie Meyer Lite

Luckily the book is only a couple hundred pages, so Carey has a head start on Meyer already. But between the awful awful heroine and the flatness of the other characters, the simplification and demonization of feminism, and the paucity of descriptive depth (Caleb's "muscular chest" [sorry, it's not like marble or sparkling] is mentioned twice in two pages), it was like reading Twilight without the vampires. There's a lot in the storytelling that's just inexplicable, too. The book takes place in 2030, so why is the romance movie the girls see Ghost? Wouldn't it make more sense for it to be a recent movie? How many teenagers TODAY have seen Ghost? And how the hell is Fundip still around? And if the soldiers are out patrolling for Eve all the time, why do the boys she's hiding with spend so much time running around outside shouting? I'm pretty good at skimming over narrative holes, but I kept tripping here.

Bonus Factor: Cave Living

Ever since I read Andre Norton's Dark Piper when I was 7, I've been unable to resist secret cave system hideouts, even though it almost NEVER ends well. The Host by Stephenie Meyer, aka "If he beats you, it's really your fault"; Osama bin Laden ...

Anti-Bonus Factor: Anti-2nd Wave Brainwashing (Aka All Feminists Are Hairy-Legged Manhaters)

The only feminists in the book, besides Arden, are all man-bashing cartoons of women drawn straight from Dr. Laura's How to Scare Your Daughter into Staying Home and Having Lots of Babies Handbook. I kept wanting to scream, "That's not what Gloria Steinem was about! Bras ARE evil, and it's ok to burn them!" (oh, and also that there's a middle ground between being terrified of ALL men and deciding you're madly in love with the first man you meet). I think the message was supposed to be all Offred from A Handmaid's Tale, but it ended up being more like the Sons of Jacob.

Casting Call:

Holland Roden as Eve

Lydia's just about the only character on Teen Wolf I actually liked, so it seems kind of a shame to cast her as Eve, but I think she'd have a great time playing her and could bring some sick, sly humor to the part.

James McAvoy as Caleb

I thought about finding a younger McAvoy lookalike, but why mess with perfection?

Ginnifer Goodwin as Arden

She's also too old, but Goodwin is exactly how I pictured Arden. Badass AND adorable at the same time!

Relationship Status: Sixth-Grade 1-Hour Boyfriend

This book is totally like that guy you agree to "go with" in sixth-grade PE class -- your friends are all pressuring you to say yes, so you do because he looks cute. About halfway through class, you realize your mistake because he breathes through his mouth and only talks about basketball, so you "break up" and spend the rest of the school year cutting him dead in the halls and pretending like you've never even met him because you're so embarrassed you ever held hands.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from HarperCollins. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Eve will be available October 4.

But wait, there's more! And not just the next two books in the series! Think the book sounds good? Rabidly disagree with all my reviews? Or do you just like to win free stuff? Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Eve! Make sure to subscribe to the comments and leave your e-mail address in the field labeled "e-mail address" on the comment form so I can let you know if you won.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.