YouTube sensation Joey Graceffa, known for his vlogs and love of “The Hunger Games,” is continuing his plunge into the realm of books.
Graceffa’s autobiography “In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World” was a New York Times best-seller in 2015. He teamed up with author Laura L. Silverman to co-write his latest book, “Children of Eden,” which has been on the best sellers list for five weeks.
I didn’t have any previous knowledge of Graceffa and his videos before reading this book, but I was interested in the premise when I picked it up at Barnes & Noble.
After reading “Children of Eden,” it can be described as mediocre-at-best, despite its glowing reviews on Goodreads.
Earth has been destroyed due to a man-made disaster. A scientist created the society of Eden to serve as a safe space for humans to wait thousands of years for a computer program to restore Earth.
Because of limited resources in Eden, families are only allowed to have one child. Rowan, an illegal second child, has been hidden away in her family’s compound for 16 years. Her lack of eye implants, a symbol representing the true members of Eden, would be a dead giveaway if she were to leave her family’s compound.
Rowan, tired of hiding of away, escapes to see the outside world and learns some troubling secrets on the way.
It’s difficult to have an original dystopian story nowadays, but Graceffa’s imagination is what made this book different from others. Experiencing Eden through Rowan’s eyes for the first time was intriguing. The only people she’s ever been in contact with are her mom and her brother, Ash.
“Oh, hey,” a boy about Ash’s age says, and I think I see quick recognition in his eyes. I lower my own and turn away. Peripherally, I see him shrug and move on.
The brief encounter frightens me. I don’t know if I can do this. A stranger says “hey” and I feel like running away, or taking a swing at him, or curling up in a ball. What’s the right response?
The downfall of “Children of Eden” is the basic writing, reminding me of the simplicity of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight.” What’s even more troubling about the elementary writing is that Graceffa called on another author to help write the book.
The writing, along with Graceffa’s 7 million subscribers, are most likely the reasons why the book has a 4.57 rating on Goodreads and is a best-seller.
I’m sure some YouTubers have a talent for writing, but it isn’t just something anyone can pick up. I will credit Graceffa for his wonderful imagination, though. “Children of Eden” wasn’t the worst book, but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone outside of his fan base.
“Children of Eden”
Author: Joey Graceffa with Laura L. Silverman
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publisher: Atria/Keyword Books
Publication Date: Oct. 4, 2016
5 out of 10