Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed reading Nevermore. While it does have the cliché young adult premise of the two leads, who were polar opposites in the social spectrum, being partnered up for a class project which forced them to hang-out together, it doesn't have that instantaneous "love at first sight" stuff so prevalent in young adult today. The author made it work, creating a compelling read that I had a hard time putting down because I wanted to keep going to see what will happen next. After a while I forgot about the cliché beginning and was immersed into the story and characters.
In Nevermore we have Isobel, a popular cheerleader with a football player boyfriend, partnered up with Varen, a mysterious and aloof Goth. I have to admit I wasn't sure what to make of Isobel in the beginning but I liked how she went from a shallow cheerleader to a better person but without losing her entire self and without giving up cheerleading. Now Varen was something else because I've never read a male lead like him before. He was definitely not your typical young adult "bad boy" or "nice guy," instead he's the perfect blend of cool aloofness without the arrogance or despondency. He was Goth and labeled as a "freak" in school, he didn't have an easy home life and was plagued by an unknown, nightmarish alternate world but he wasn't defined by all that. As Isobel and the reader gets to know him more, you begin feel and fall for him as she does. I wanted Isobel to get with him just so he wouldn't feel so lonely and alone anymore. In Isobel and Varen, the author has penned two main characters that you grow to care for. I enjoyed reading their scenes together and I rooted for them the whole way through because you know these two are meant to be together.
As for the alternate dream universe aspect of the book, I don't quite know what to make of it. I understand that it's sort of an homage to Edgar Allan Poe but oftentimes while I was reading, I almost wished that the author left out the paranormal element. What was happening with Isobel and Varen, and how their growing relationship was affecting their friends and family--there's enough there for this book to work as a contemporary novel. But maybe that's just me and the contemporary young adult craze I am currently on. I flew through the book just the same until I got to the last few chapters (which I thought dragged a little) and then the book ended. Okay, so this book being the first in a series, I wasn't really expecting a neat, happily-ever-after ending but I wanted more than what we are given. It was just so unsatisfying and frustrating after everything Isobel and Varen went through. I hope the sequel is coming soon is all I gotta say.
I do have mixed feelings about some part of Nevermore but I thought it an entertaining read nonetheless. I like the author voice and the way she told the story, which was filled with subtleties and an underlying sense that more was happening beneath the surface. A familiarity to Edgar Allan Poe's work is a plus when reading this book but unnecessary. I recommend this wonderful debut from author Kelly Creagh to everyone. 4 out of 5 stars