Eden's Everdark by Karen Strong is a Southern gothic middle grade story filled with the spirits of Eden's ancestors who are held captive by the Witch of Everdark. But let's start at the beginning: Eden is grieving as her mother unexpectedly passed. As she's never been to the small southern island where her mother's family still live, her father and Eden plan a visit. While there she accidentally follows a black cat into an alternative universe ruled by the Witch of Everdark, a place she realizes her mother also visited. Will Eden escape the Witch's clutches? This beautiful book covers heavy subjects like grief and the legacy of enslaving people with subtle sophistication.
— Rachel Watkins
September/October 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“Eden’s Everdark is a Southern Gothic whose rich history, imaginative adventure, creepy imagery, and big heart will appeal to a variety of readers. It’s a dark and haunting adventure story infused with a light and hope that shines bright.”
— Julia Caudle, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA
Hailed by Newbery winner Kelly Barnhill as “stunning, moving, and marvelously strange,” this tale of a young girl who stumbles into a magical realm ruled by a wicked witch is a haunting and ultimately uplifting middle grade novel about grief, family, and decades-old magic.
Still grieving the loss of her mother, Eden visits Safina Island, her ancestral home, as a healing balm. But when she discovers an old sketchbook that belonged to her mother, she’s haunted by the images she sees drawn there. A creepy mansion covered with roots and leaves. A monstrous dog with dagger-sharp teeth. And a tall woman with wind-blown hair and long, sharp nails who is as beautiful as she is terrifying.
Days later, exploring the island alone, Eden follows a black cat through a rift in the bright day. She stumbles into Everdark, a parallel world where the sun never rises, where spirits linger between death and the afterlife, and where everything from her mother’s drawings is all too real—especially the Witch of Everdark, who wants to make Eden her eternal daughter.
Can Eden find a way to defeat the witch’s magic? Or will she remain trapped in Everdark forever?
About the Author
Born and raised in the rural South, Karen Strong spent most of her childhood wandering the woods, meadows, and gardens on her grandmother’s land. She developed a deep adoration of books from her weekly visits to the public library. A graduate of the University of Georgia, she is an advocate of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). An avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies, Karen currently lives in Atlanta. You can find her online at Karen-Strong.com.
"As haunting as it is heartfelt, Eden’s Everdark is a fantastically eerie tale of bound spirits and eternal night, rooted in family and blooming with love. Strong’s writing absolutely shines with magic." — Heather Kassner, author of The Plentiful Darkness
"Eden's Everdark hums with magic and mystery--a novel brimming with unsettling secrets, quiet beauty, and fierce love. Karen Strong creates an enchanted world that reminds the reader that their light can shine, even in the darkest, most desperate hours. A sensitive and lyrical portrait about the complexities of grief, the power of hope, and of finding ourselves wherever we are." — Samira Ahmed, New York Times bestselling author of Internment and Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds
"A deliciously creepy and suspenseful Southern Gothic story that engages with the consequences of the country’s monstrous past while also beautifully centering the story of a girl frozen by grief at the loss of her mother. What makes this book truly ingenious is the way Karen Strong shows that the salve to both these societal and personal wounds can be found in the same way: finding joy and love in community and a deep connection to family past and present. This is a phenomenal book." — Anne Ursu, author of The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy
"Gorgeous, lush, and sparkling with strangeness, Eden's Everdark is a heartfelt, thrilling story about what it means to reckon with the past—and fight for the future." — Hayley Chewins, author of The Sisters of Straygarden Place
“Karen Strong has performed a magic trick, weaving a story built on heartbreak and hope, tender intimacy and the sweep of history, sinister ghosts and debilitating grief, and tied it to a place that felt so real I could taste the salt in the air, and feel the gentle touch of familial love. I felt a profound connection to Eden - her sorrow and pain, her deep need to belong, her deep and suffocating fear, and her profound courage. She is a clear-eyed and indomitable heroine. Eden's Everdark is an intricate tale, both terrifying and heartbreaking, and it asks an important question: how do we free ourselves from the ghosts of the past? And how do we prevent the evil of others poisoning ourselves? This novel is stunning, moving, and marvelously strange. I loved every page.” — Kelly Barnhill, bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning author
“Stunning, moving, and marvelously strange. I loved every page.” — Kelly Barnhill, bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning author
"Karen Strong uses her particular brand of magic to weave a spine-tingling tale of ghosts and grief, and how we can be haunted by both in equal measure. A beautiful story that embraces the darkness, but always makes room for those glimmering threads of hope and love to shine through." — Hanna Alkaf, author of The Girl and the Ghost
"A haunting enchantment, Eden's Everdark transports readers into a spirit world full of spectacular adventure, heart-wrenching truths, and a constellation of characters to be remembered long after the story is finished. A can't be missed novel working in the beautiful folkloric tradition of Black American storytellers." — Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author