My Name Was Eden

Morrow. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780063341296. $28. SUSPENSE
DEBUT The unreliable narrator in Barker-White’s debut has good reason to be uncertain about what she thinks is true. Housewife Lucy is mildly concerned when her teenage daughter Eden doesn’t show up after school. Concern turns to horror when Eden is pulled unresponsive from a nearby lake. When Eden is revived, Lucy and her husband James are thrilled. Then Eden’s behavior changes radically. She insists that her name is Eli, which alone wouldn’t be too alarming, as teenagers explore identity all the time. But Eli was Eden’s twin who vanished in the womb. As Eden’s behavior becomes more alarming, it seems that only Lucy is concerned. After postpartum depression, she has always felt disconnected from Eden, made worse by Eden’s closeness to James. This new version of her child is so different—and now Eden/Eli is taking steps, sometimes dangerous, scary ones, to make sure things go her way.
VERDICT This strong debut successfully explores intergenerational trauma in a twisty thriller with enough notes of horror to require reading with all the lights on. For fans of Zoje Stage and Lucinda Berry.
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