This Side of Paradise - Steven L. Layne
Jack's father has always been a perfectionist, but lately, his need to control every aspect of the family's life has stepped up a notch. Mr. Barrett, Jack's dad, has been offered a wonderful opportunity with the company he works for, the Eden Corporation. Eden owns a gated village in Paradise, a nearby town, where only the most successful and devoted employees are invited to live. The village is all inclusive and there is no need to ever leave. The village even has a school for the children of the employees. Mr. Barrett's family isn't handling the news of the move very well. His wife has been drinking more and more since Mr. Barrett's controlling nature has intensified. Troy, the youngest child, has used his rebellious attitude to spark conflict within the household. Gram, Mr. Barrett's mother and the boys' biggest protector, doesn't mince words when it comes to how crazy she thinks moving the whole family to a strange community is, and Jack, the oldest son, tries to keep the peace by attempting to please his father and trying to keep Troy under control. Eventually, the day comes and the family packs up and moves to Paradise. Jack's mother has gone ahead in order to get the house ready so it is just Mr. Barrett, Jack, Troy, and Gram following the moving van. Once they reach the entry gate, Jack sees a site that leaves him speechless. Jori is a beautiful girl that works at the entry gate of Paradise and a girl that he definitely wants to get to know better, but for some reason, Mr. Barrett doesn't want him to have anything to do with her. His exact words are, "She doesn't belong in Paradise." This statement is just one of the things Jack, Troy, and Gram consider strange when they get settled in their new community. Everyone seems too happy, their mother hasn't been seen since they've arrived, and Mr. Eden, the owner of the Eden Corporation, has been sneaking into the Barrett's house at night and taking Troy somewhere after knocking him out so he won't wake up. The boys, with a lot of help from Gram and Jori, attempt to get to the bottom of all the mysteries and find a way out of Paradise. THIS SIDE OF PARADISE is a science fiction thriller reminiscent of The Stepford Wives. It was awarded the Hal Clement Award for best science fiction novel for young adults in the United States. This is Steven Layne's first novel and is far from perfect, but at the same time, has many characteristics that will appeal to young readers.