Author: Kelly Creagh
Genre: YA Paranormal
See it at 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.
So, Nevermore isn’t a newer book. It was published a few years ago, and anyone who reads a lot of YA has probably either read it or at least heard of it by now. I’d actually been interested in picking it up for quite some time, but decided to wait. Something wasn’t really clicking with me every time I read the blurb and I knew it was going to be one of those books I had to wait until I was in the mood for it.
So, a little over a year passes, and after passing it for probably the thousandth time in the book store recently, I decided to get it finally. The mood struck and I started reading as soon as I was home.
The good thing is I didn’t go into this book with exceedingly high expectations right away, despite the numerous amount of high ratings and rave reviews across Goodreads and other book sites. I admit I’d read a few reviews beforehand, a few of my blogger friends had read the book and it came highly recommended from them, but I still refrained from allowing the expectations to go high when I started. This helped a lot in the beginning because I fear if I’d started it any other way, it would’ve been a DNF before getting through a hundred pages.
Nevermore has a lot of your typical YA clichés from the start with some refreshing new mix-ups that Kelly Creagh crafts well along the way to make it more of a stand-out. In the first hundred pages or so, the reader is introduced to Isobel (or Izzy), Varen, and some of the other characters that should be a bit understood: Nicki, Brad (the boyfriend, ex-boyfriend), and a little later-- Gwen.
My biggest issue here were the group of “friends” in the beginning and how Izzy was randomly mistreated. I felt like it was a plot device to move the story along and make this book longer than it really needed to be. I lost count of how many times I wanted to put this book down and forget it because of these characters in the beginning. She was assigned a class project by the teacher. Being partnered with Varen was because of the teacher. FOR A GRADE. But yet, the second it happens, her friends begin treating her like dirt--like it’s her fault for being paired up with the “outcast” they don’t like?? Her boyfriend in the beginning, Brad, even goes as far as bullying Varen because of the class assignment. Come on…really??! Her parents--mostly her father--try to make her forget the assignment because they don’t want her working with Varen. Her father blows up about it and grounds her…I just really found this all unrealistic in this section.
When it takes almost two hundred pages for the story to start picking up--for me to become invested in the characters and what’s going on--it’s not a good sign usually. But, Creagh can write. Oh she can. Once I reached this certain point, I didn’t put it down. I was really interested to find out what was going on, and I found the world-building to be detailed and imaginative. I adored Gwen as Izzy’s new quirky friend. She gave me some laugh out loud moments, and really ended up redeeming a lot of the beginning because of that. The romance between Izzy and Varen felt a bit rushed, maybe insta-love, but it wasn’t as crazy as some I’ve read before. I put it into consideration that they have been going to school together for some time after all--and Creagh does create a decent timeline between the two. It just would’ve been nice to see more of a development between the two perhaps? It was weird when one of Izzy’s ex-friends, Nicki, makes a remark that she can see her feelings for Varen (when Nicki hasn't even been around since the whole bullying scene in the beginning), but Izzy doesn’t even realize her feelings until that moment. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that romantic development--but it wasn’t bad enough to turn me off.
The best part of Nevermore were the detailed descriptions and dream sequences. I really enjoyed the ending where it becomes dark and creepy--full of Nocs (creepy little creatures) and a painted world that reminded me of Poe’s Masque of Red Death. Everything allowed for easy visuals throughout, and I was turning the pages rapidly by this point to find out what was going to happen next. The further along this book got, the darker it became, and I enjoyed that. I was heartbroken by the ending, and still will definitely be reading the next book. I’m left having to read the next because Nevermore leaves on the cruelest cliffhanger I’ve encountered in quite some time. Here’s another thing: I’m still thinking about it, even after it being almost a couple weeks since I’ve read it, and that just means it made that much more of an impact. The writing alone is inspiring and mind-boggling. And of course, it made me want to pick up some classic Poe afterward for some rereading.
I almost DNF this one, but I’m glad I kept reading. Nevermore is an entertaining and creative read.