January 16, 2015

Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Title: Even in Paradise
Author: Chelsey Philpot
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date:October 14th 2014
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC

Rating: 4/5

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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 had mixed feelings about this book, because at the beginning Charlotte was very bland and I felt that she didn´t add much to the story at the beginning, maybe due that she´s an observer and she´s happy living like that.

Charlotte attends a prestigious boarding school for girls, where she´s an average girl, where the only thing that stands out about her is her art (since she´s a sculptor), but when she befriends Julia Buchanan, the relatively new girl in school, she´s a rule breaker and comes from a very prestigious and wealthy family, Charlotte decides to leave her comfort zone and start breaking some rules. Julia introduce her to the life of Buchanans, they welcomed her with open arms and they sort of expect that Charlotte will help them to keep Julia out of trouble. All the Buchanans are peculiar, unusual in their own way and Charlotte ends up loving them all, but especially to Julia and her older brother, Sebastian, to whom Charlotte begins to have romantic feelings.

The Buchanan are the picture perfect family, but they keep a secret that´s gradually eating away and little by little Charlotte will discover that they aren´t as perfect as she initially thought. And especially she´ll slowly discover things about her best friend Julia that she doesn´t want her to find out.

My favorite parts were the ones that took place in Arcadia, the Buchanan´s beach house, and the romance between Sebastian and Charlotte. Plus I liked the style in which it is told, because in the prologue we realize that everything that happens in the book is in Charlotte´s, there is a part where it says that if she knew then what she knows now, she still would not have changed anything that happened in that part of her life, she would do it all again.

Overall, Even in Paradise is a good story and quick read, that´s about friendship, first love, family secrets and self-discovery, it´s a coming of age story. And apparently this novel has elements of The Great Gatsby (a book that I have not read). And I liked that there was an epilogue, which I liked, even though it´s a little bittersweet.


  1. I've always been wary of books concerning the privileged few. But I have to admit that I'm curious about the Buchanan's family secret.

  2. Sounds like a nice light read. I loved Gatsby, but I have a hard time buying into recommendations (I realize you're quoting from somewhere else) that claim similarities to classics like that. Thanks for posting!

  3. I don't read too many contemporary novels, so this was interesting to read about! It's a shame about the bland beginning but I am glad you enjoyed it at the end. This makes me think of We Were Liars because it is also about privileged people, and I think if I liked that one I will like this too.