Saturday, April 7, 2012

Review: Nevermore

"Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares. His life depends on it."
- Goodreads

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: August 31, 2010
  • Number of pages: 543
  • Would appeal to: Fans of Edgar Allan Poe, fantasy readers
Favorite Quotes:

"The idea that you could feel like you were being watched had always sort of struck Isobel as being corny in a Scooby-Doo kind of way. Now, though, as she turned and looked around at all the black trees with their skeletal arms tangled in a silent fight for space, she couldn't help the sudden feeling that, somewhere among them, something watched her, waited for her to move again."

"She'd shredded the paper again, again, and again, finally letting the flecks flutter to the floor like ash."

"'Do not be alarmed,' the man said, his voice dry, husky, and low, like the sound of a match striking."

"Isobel's gaze slipped dazedly to her window, where she watched the half-naked tree limbs quiver and sway, waving in and out of her view, like clawed hands snatching at the sun."

"A chill ran through her at the way he said her name, the way he gave each syllable its own moment, making it sound so regal, so proper...With her hand pressed between both of his, her whole body seemed to hum, and she began to feel fuzzy from the inside out, like a radio stuck between channels."

"Isobel felt a bobby pin scrape her scalp, then another. The Cadillac dipped down a hill, and her stomach lurched to high-five her heart."

So, in case you can't tell, I really dug the similes in this novel.

Nevermore was recommended to me by a student, and I'm absolutely glad I read it. Are you a Poe lover? I know the man was brilliant, and this book casts a light on several pieces of his work, especially "The Masque of the Red Death." It's fun to take this journey with Isobel as she loses herself in the stories that Varen already knows by heart. 

What starts as a simple English assignment turns into a major production. Cheerleader Isobel is paired with Gothic "freak" Varen Nethers. Her boyfriend, football player Brad, isn't happy about it when he finds out and actually takes his agression to the extreme. Varen, when they first get together as partners, actually has the nerve to write his number on Isobel's hand in purple ink. The author, Kelly Creagh, carries this project (as well as my favorite color, purple!) through the majority of the book. Such a normal high school task that turns into literally a nightmare for both Varen and Isobel as they both struggle to fight against evil forces, complete with spiky haired winged creatures called Nocs, in a world between dreams and reality.

Kudos to the author for creating great suspense. Her writing surprised me several times. In her debut novel, she had some sentences that made me go, "I'd never think of that or look at it that way." Beautiful writing. The descriptions of Brad and Mark's attacks on Varen definitely made me cringe because I can imagine that type of harrassment going on in real life. For such a long book (possibly a little too long, but nevertheless, enjoyable), I only saw a few words or phrases repeated to a noticeable degree: "threadbare rug," "tomes," and "crisp autumn air."

Creagh has quite the imagination with her descriptions. I enjoyed the mysterious character of Reynolds, the white scarfed, fedora-wearing cloaked figure who acts as a sort of "spirit guide" for Isobel in the in-between world. As far as characters that did a great job of representing real life, little brother Danny had some great lines. Isobel and Danny had a lot of on-and-off fighting, but both demonstrated at least once how much they really cared for the other. Also, Isobel's parents were very real figures and didn't just disappear and let her do whatever she wanted, as in some books. The protective and goofy father and the concerned and peace-making mother made the plot believable. And crazy, long-skirt wearing locker buddy Gwen-- well, you need to read about her to appreciate her uniqueness.

Love that Varen works in an ice cream shop and spends time in the attic of a creepy bookstore.

Also, this is a great reminder to "Say what you need to say," (thank you, John Mayer) before you lose your chance.

This book was hard to put down once I started. There is a good mix of the fantastical and typical high school drama, and the plot has some surprises near the end. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens in book two, Enshadowed, which comes out in August of this year.

Has anyone heard of the Poe Toaster? So interesting:) The author actually spotted him in 2009.  


Erin W. said...

All I have to say about this book is . . . love. It also helps with me being a huge HUGE fan of Poe, so of course I loved this book. Anyway great review! Glad to hear you enjoyed it too!

Shanon (Escaping With Fiction) said...

Fantastic review! I absolutely LOVE this book as well! I totally agree with you about Kelly Creagh's writing, it's absolutely beautiful. I can't wait for Enshadowed, August can't come quick enough! =D

Bookworm1858 said...

Your review reminded me how much I liked the incorporation of so much of normal high school life like homework into the paranormal happenings. So excited for Enshadowed!

WickedWillow said...

I loooove this book! Can't wait for Enshadowed.
- O.ops I Read That Book!