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Hudson Booksellers is proud to include Eden West as one our Best Books for Summer and to be the final stop on Pete Hautman's Blog Tour. 

The Other Side
by Pete Hautman

 

Every journey begins with a tale we tell ourselves: that it will be better on the other side—the other side of the door, the other side of the fence, the other side of the planet. Sometimes, it is true.
All too often, it is not.
I write books about young people, mostly teenagers. Some of my books are mysteries, some are romantic comedies, some are science fiction, and some don’t fit neatly into any genre. But all of them concern the perilous journey we all must make from adolescence into adulthood, a journey we all make with trepidation, with hope, and without recourse.
In Eden West, Jacob Grace believes that he will soon be making the ultimate journey from Nodd—the fenced, twelve-square-mile Montana compound where he has lived most of his seventeen years—to Paradise. One day soon, he believes, the archangel Zerachiel will descend upon Nodd from the heavens in a great Ark to carry away the Faithful. Everyone else will perish in a fiery Apocalypse.
We all believe things that may or may not be true: tomorrow it will rain, MSG causes migraines, Coke tastes better than Pepsi, this hat makes me look cool. Often we are wrong, and it’s no big deal.
But some false beliefs, particularly those rooted in religious or political dogma, can be more difficult to live with. Still, somehow, we muddle through. For example, in any large hospital you may find doctors who are Christian, Muslim, Mormon, atheist, Jewish, Hindu, or who knows? All of them made it through medical school, and every one may be an excellent physician—despite the fact that at least some of them must be dead wrong about the true nature of the universe.
I love that about people. You can believe in fairies, you can believe the Earth is flat, you can worship the goat god Xangool—and yet still be a remarkable, ethical, productive person. We humans are amazingly good at fitting our idiosyncratic worldviews into the real world.
In Eden West, Jacob and his people believe that the End Days are coming, and that those who inhabit the outside world are wicked and doomed. Still, they have a stable society. They are self-sufficient, they love their children, they love the land, and they are reasonably content…until the outside comes to Nodd in the form of two teenagers who bring with them their radically different and highly infectious worldviews.
Eden West is the story of a people, of a land, and of a fence. It is a story of lust, of love, of hope, and of the power of faith. It is the story of one boy’s journey from childhood to this other place we call adulthood. Will it be better on the other side?
Maybe it will. The only way to know is to go there.

WHO AM I?

Who am I?

If I walked into a party or gathering where I didn’t know anyone, in which group would I feel most comfortable? I’m a female, southern, a daughter, a sister, a buyer professionally, a librarian by training. I’m a sports fan and a Christian. I’m a liberal and a USC graduate (Go Gamecocks). I’m a home-owner and a wine drinker. I like naughty jokes and independent films. I fit many categories where a box may be ticked on a survey and I’m uncategorizable in many other ways. Who are my people? With whom do I have the most in common? What is the thing that I do or that I am that I can always talk about with a kindred spirit? What is that thing? I shout it loud and proud: I Am A Reader!

Regardless of other things we might or might not have in common, readers connect with each other. Even if we disagree about a book, there’s plenty of room and enthusiasm for discussion of its pros and cons. We are able to go into our heads for entertainment and for solace. Books can calm us before bed, recharge us after a long day. They can take us to a place we would never actually want to be and enthuse us about a place we dream about going. They allow us to meet people that are long gone and those that will never be.
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