Review: Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan

Goodreads summary:

It starts like any other day for Jess – get up, draw on eyeliner, cover up tattoos and head to school. But soon it’s clear this is no ordinary day, because Jess’s best friend, Eden, isn’t at school . . . she’s gone missing.

Jess knows she must do everything in her power to find Eden before the unthinkable happens.

So Jess decides to retrace the summer she and Eden have just spent together. But looking back means digging up all their buried secrets, and she starts to question everything she thought Eden’s summer had been about …

A tense and thrilling journey through friendship, loss, betrayal and self discovery.


The thing that I really love about this book is the fact that no-one gets left behind. This novel follows two girls, Jess and Eden, both healing from traumatic experiences. And while they both try to deal with their problems alone, when Eden goes missing they both discover that strength comes from friendship and support. You don’t have to do all the work by yourself.

Eden Summer is set in the north of England, which is unusual enough to note in YA novels. And so much of this novel is embedded in the landscape of the hills, the woods, the waterfall. Jess inhabits her world comfortably, and yet because of her dyed hair and her lesbian mum, she is something of an outcast among her peers. Eden by contrast seems to be incredibly social and extroverted, but she struggles to make real connections after the death of her sister. So while Jess learns to stretch out and trust people again, Eden learns to depend on her friends.

But when Eden goes missing, there’s almost a sense of betrayal – Jess runs up on the hills all the time, but no matter how much she searches she can’t find her friend in the places they know. Eden’s the one who connects her friends together, and without her they feel adrift. Secrets will have to come into the light before these young people recover their balance and trust each other with their pain – and together, begin to heal.


Jess’ mum is a lesbian and has a girlfriend. There’s also a local lesbian bar.


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