Publisher: Atheneum (2010)
Format: Hardcover | 543 pages
Format: Hardcover | 543 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Description: "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."
Isobel Lanley seemingly has it all: she's pretty (and blonde), popular, a cheerleader and dates the most sought-after guy in school (who is, of course, a football player). So when her English teacher pairs her with Goth (and very unpopular) Varen Nethers for an assignment, she is less than thrilled.
Suddenly her whole (and perfect) life changes as her friends draw away from her for even talking to Varen, her boyfriend has jealous fits and even her father seems to think she is turning into a troublemaker for spending time with whom he calls "a hooligan". Worse, she can't seem to get out of trouble long enough to actually meet Varen and get their work on Edgar Allen Poe done. Not to mention, of course, the strange voices she's been hearing or the weird man that seems to follow her everywhere. As she draws closer to Varen and away from her former life Isobel begins to understand that Varen is more than just a tortured Goth... he may just be in real trouble.
"Nevermore" was a veritable breath of fresh air. Do you like YA urban fantasy but are tired of reading about a) exclusive and mysterious private academies where supernatural beings go to school and everything seems to happen or b) melodramatic and unrealistic love stories between a mortal and a supernatural creature? Well, then "Nevermore" is the book for you.
In this book there are supernatural creatures and supernatural events, yes, as it is after all, urban fantasy; but both the hero and the heroine are human. There is also a romance but it happens gradually, not after two chapters... and this for me is worth an entire half-star because I am ever so tired of all the Twilight rip-offs out there where the characters fall madly in love at first sight. Ugh. Also, the heroine isn't totally useless and actually has some backbone!
Of course, while I found the plot and characters refreshing, this book still had some problems.
For instance, for the first 60 or something pages I found some of the character interactions and general attitudes a little unrealistic and exaggerated. I just couldn't understand why Isobel's friends immediately started an intimidation campaign towards Varen when it wasn't even their choice to work together, it was their teacher who decided to pair them up for school work.
It's not like I didn't expect it to happen eventually if and when Varen and Isobel started to spend more time together (I could understand the boyfriend's jealousy then, for example) but I didn't get why they freaked out as soon as Isobel told them she was working with Varen. Later on, when it became apparent that some of the girls wanted things that were Isobels' (like Alyssa, who wanted her place as main flyer in the cheerleader squad), it made a little more sense, but I still didn't understand Brad's attitude or Nikki's.
As for the story, while the pacing was really good I think the author didn't flesh out her dream world well enough. There are a lot of things left unexplained, the most important of all being what is exactly this dream world (how and why does it exist, etc), why Varen could interact with it and change it (or Poe, for that matter; I get that it was the act of putting stories to paper and having imagination, but wouldn't that make every writer a potencial target?) and why did the Queen want a fusion between worlds. Maybe all this will come up in later books, but I found the vague information a bit confusing and since it wasn't explained very clearly why the Queen of the dream world wanted both worlds connected, I didn't quite get the point of the whole story, except that she wanted power (but why would the fusion give her that power we aren't told exactly) and Varen was the way to get it.
Still, the author managed to write a very compelling and fresh story and as it is the first in a series maybe these questions will be answered later. Pretty interesting overall.