ARC Revie: Even in Paradise

Author: Chelsey Philpot
Series: None
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 368 Pages
Publication Date: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss 

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.

I'll admit, I'm not much of a contemporary fan. I found this book on Edelweiss, and it sounded intriguing so I read it, and boy am I glad I did! This book was fantastic and opened my eyes to the potential that all books have if I'd simply give them a chance. Even in Paradise was stunning.
“Even knowing, as I do now, that grace, power, and, yes, love can hide the darkest elements of the human heart, I would do it all again.” 

I didn't have high expectations coming into this book. I thought it would just be about snobby rich people and their socialite life styles and problems. I didn't realize that this book is about so much more, it's about friendship and growing up and making mistakes and living with the repercussions, it's about young love and family. The themes of this book are so meaningful, and the story is truly fantastic. It's simple and well executed. 

Philpot's writing was dynamite. I loved how she weaved the story. It wasn't about some pretentious rich family that was perfect. It was about a flawed, charming, caring family that was dealing with loss. It was about an outsider coming in and being embraced by the family. The pacing was a bit slow at first but eventually glided through at a great speed. The unexpected twists and turns in the plots made this book even more enjoyable (and emotional). The romance was sweet but not overdone. It was much more about the family and the bonds formed which I liked. The story is of a time that's past, a chapter of the main character's life that's ended. It's filled with happiness and anguish but not regret. This story brings out all the emotions. 

The characters are so complex and realistic. They (The Buchanans) were all so descriptive and wonderful. Philpot weaved an amazing story that really delved deep into the Buchanans' characters. It was easy to love all of them, and I can see why the protagonist does. The main character is okay, she's quite neutral in my opinion. She didn't help or hurt the story. She was just so bland and dull next to the other characters. 

The ending made me cry, not gonna lie. I was so impressed with the use of chiasmus (coming full circle). It made the ending much more bittersweet and wonderful and heartache-y. We knew from the beginning that it would end like this, it still hurt though.

This book was an amazing read that I couldn't help but fall in love with. Truly spectacular. 


  1. Fantastic review, Rachel! I just added this book to my Goodreads TBR this morning on a whim, so I'm really glad to hear such a positive review about it on the same day. :) I'm so glad to hear that the characters were complex and realistic, and if you're not usually a contemporary-lover but you loved this, then it must be good!

  2. This makes me even more excited for this one!!! I meant to read it last month but haven't gotten to but now I'm really prioritizing! Loved that quote you featured. Sounds like a beautiful book! I feel like, at least from the couple reviews I've seen + now yours, that the summary does NOT do this book justice at all!

  3. I am so excited for this now Rachel! :D I didn't really know what to expect of this and kind of put it off as "just another contemporary" (*gulps*), but it sounds like I was extremely wrong in doing that! I love how this one focuses on family and friendship in a realistic and positive light rather than being just bombarded by pointless romance or other YA tropes. And it made you cry? I'M SOLD! ;) Ha!

    Thanks for sharing Rachel and, as always, FANTASTIC review! <3

  4. I'm not much of a contemporary fan either, but since you liked it, it might be the contemporary for me to try. I like twists and turns and a sweet romance. Sounds like there's a bit of a mystery to it as well. You had me up until the bittersweet ending. Nice review! :)

  5. Great review Rach! I don't usually read a lot of contemporaries but your review makes me wanna pick up this one :) I'm glad that the characters are realistic and not fake (you know what I mean)!

    Olivia @ Fictionally Obsessed

  6. Hi,
    I tagged you in the Ultimate Book Tag! Follow the link to learn more!

  7. You make me want to read this now!! Thanks for the review! I actually thought it was about rebellious or wild children, but you totally convinced me! :D Thanks again for sharing! :)

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

  8. Ooh, I'll have to take a look at this! I'm always a bit hesitant to read contemporary as well, but if you liked it I'm sure it will be great. :)

    (P.S. I'm definitely adding chiasmus to my vocabulary! Great word!)

  9. Brilliant review! I really enjoyed this one too, I was pleasantly surprised. It had some very drama-filled moments that had me rolling my eyes a little, but it was a brilliant book.

  10. *squeals like an over-obsessed maniac* I SAW THIS AT THE BOOKSTORE OVER THE WEEKEND AND FREAKED. But then Althea & Oliver caught my attention and I had to leave this one for some other eager bookworm to give warmth and love to, but it'll definitely be on my Christmas list this year. And after finding out that it was really enjoyable? BONUS POINTSSSS!

    I must say that the cover is mega-gorgeous. It's definitely another thing that's gotten me to want this even more. Maybe 10 times more? xD I feel like we don't get enough of good endings these days, this definitely seems like the type of read for me. :D Beautiful review, as always!

  11. Oh wow, you must have really enjoyed it if it lead to tears! I have read a lot of contemporary novels and they range from the good to bad, but this seems like I would safely be going with an enjoyable read! I am going to keep my eyes peeled for it ;)

  12. Yay! I don't know much about this book but my friend Sue loved it a whole lot and now I can't wait to read it + you loved it too so yess! This is getting better by the minute, really. I love that it brings so many topics to the table and doesn't shy away from exploring them. Also, give me a sweet gorgeous romance and complex characters, yes! Ha. I'm sorry you weren't a fan of the MC, but I guess it's ok when you have such huge personalities supporting her :) So very glad you loved it, Rach! <33

  13. I have been going back and forth with this one. Should I or Shouldn't I? I think your review may have convinced me to try. Contemporary isn't my normal genre. I like it, but I am very picky about it. Not all of the mushy squishy stuff works. But this one sounds like it may be a good one for me!


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