Book Review: The Shadows of Paradise City by Brad Allen Hoover


 Publisher: BookBaby

  Format: E-Book

  Released: May 30, 2014

  Grade Rating: C-



 Amazon Summary:

The Shadows of Paradise City follows fifteen-year-old Benjamin as his post-high-    school-dropout world unfurls, chronicling his time as a graveyard dishwasher at the  campy International Café, his time at the library where he pursues an education and      prepares for the high school proficiency exam with eighteen-year-old college dropout Bayer Eitenne’s help, and his time as an unwitting drug runner for a shady cafe patron. Things go bad the night before the exam when Benjamin is robbed of a drug delivery he has stuffed into his pants. Johnson, Benjamin’s drug dealing boss, pursues the thieves on a maniacal quest to get the drugs back, dragging Benjamin along with him. As his world closes in around him and the stakes increase, Benjamin must come up with a plan to escape this mess, which threatens not only his future but his life as well. The Shadows of Paradise City humorously explores the nature of education and friendship, but more importantly, chronicles the significant and often ironic events and people who shape our lives.



When thinking of a grade for this book I teetered between a B and C because I did enjoy the book, and it was quite a good read I just feel that it was missing something, and that is a good ending. The story progresses naturally, and the complex characters keep you engaged throughout the whole story.

The dark humor of this story is intelligently written, and the author created the perfect characters to relay the message in a non-offensive way. When I first started reading this book I thought it was going to have a strong political undertone, and the author wanted to use dark humor point out how society is becoming dumb. As the story progressed I realized that the author did not actually want to feature this idea. So I then thought he was going to highlight how bureaucratic our education system is, well I ended up being wrong again. I am not a firm believer that every book has to have a deeper, more meaningful message, but the beginning of this book was written so perfectly to deliver these two messages that I must say this is the main reason I am not giving this book a higher rating.

Along with the fact that I feel the author passed up a rather great opportunity to add some real meaning to an enjoyable book. I feel that the ending was rather lack-luster. It does leave it open for a sequel to be written, however, I am unsure that a sequel would improve upon this story, as it seems it was originally intended to be written as a single book.

Overall, if you are a fan of dark humor, or a hipster, I feel you would enjoy this book. I do think that younger readers, may be less disappointed by this read as they will likely miss the fact that the ending was only so-so and the author had the ability to make such a bigger impact.