Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Why I chose this book: 
Any book that totes itself as a modern day Gatsby is one that I am going to pick up. This book also reminded me a bit of We Were Liars, which is a summer read that I really enjoyed. While the story isn’t at all similar, it was one I still throughly enjoyed. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Publish Date: October 14, 2014
Format: eARC
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Realistic/ Contemporary 

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. (Goodreads)
What I Liked: 
This book was refreshingly unexpected. While I went in expecting a story about a girl rubbing elbows with the rich, I did not expect the amount of heartfelt emotions that would be thrown at me. Charlotte is a normal girl attending a all girls school on scholarship. It is there she meets the beautiful hurricane Julia Buchanan. Julia is wild, charming, and carefree; a combination that Charlotte finds irresistible. Like any person, I quickly became seduced right along with Charlotte when it came to the life that Julia lives. As the girl’s grow closer, the reader is wrapped into the dramatic and mysterious lifestyle of the Buchanans that is totally hard to walk away from. Your love for the character’s increase tenfold as you begin to see the hearts behind the flashy cars and never ending champagne.  

What I Loved: 
Chelsey Philpot’s prose is phenomenal. For real, you guys. I found myself highlighting line after line throughout the book. The story is told through the perspective of Charlotte as she tells the story in past tense. This gives the story a feeling of longing and poignancy that makes your heart ache. The characters are not perfect, though they seem to live perfect lives. Philpot shows that even the best and richest can be flawed….almost to the point that you want to hate them. It is a glorious feeling to be so conflicted over the lives of book characters. 

It's only in hindsight that we can point, as easily as finding a town on a map, to the moments that shaped us - the moments when choices between yeses and no's determined the people we became.

I have no illusions. Even knowing everything, I would have chosen the same.

What I Didn’t Like: 
My only complaint is that there are a few holes in story that are painfully slow. Don’t let this scare you off from this book. It well worth the read. 

Final Thoughts: 
This was a beautiful and heart wrenching summer read. I loved the way Philpot was able to invoke a whole spectrum of emotions while still providing an interesting and beautiful story. 

I gave this book three stars on Goodreads. 

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