Title: Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
Author: Kelly Creagh
Publisher/Pub. Date: Atheneum/August, 2010
Summary: 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.
Before I get into the review, it should be said that I hold Edgar Allan Poe to a ridiculously high degree. I was first introduced to him when I was in 3rd grade and since then, I have placed him atop a pedestal. He is directly responsible for my career goals and I do a great deal of what I do because of him and the effect both he and his writing have had on me. Apart from a trip to Gettysburg, the best vacation I ever took was a birthday trip to Baltimore where I visited his house and both of his graves. So awesome.
Because of this, anything that so much as references Poe (be it movie, song, book, etc) I feel compelled to seek it out. Nevermore was no different. I was a little hesitant once I read the summary – goth boy and preppy cheerleader are paired together for a project and ~sparks fly~? Please. It seems like that’s a trend in YA right now. However, I hunkered down and gave it a shot.
Once you get past the writing – and a good portion of it is awful: far too flowery and descriptive – it’s a pretty intriguing story. Varen (lol it seriously took me until 10 pages from the end to realize his name spelled Raven… yeah.) was by far my favorite character. He’s the brooding, antisocial boy who doesn’t speak to anyone and is a target for rumors. Isobel is the uber popular (& blonde!) cheerleader who has the football star boyfriend and perfect friends. The two are partnered up for an English project and that’s when the story lost me.
Isobel’s best friend Nikki immediately freaks out when she finds out Isobel’s partner is Varen and insists on telling Brad (the boyfriend). Isobel then freaks out herself and insists that Brad must not find out and makes Nikki promise not to say a word to him. Nikki (oh so clever girl that she is) runs off to tell her own friend instead, who then, in turn, tells Brad.
reasonably flies off the handle and begins making threats toward Varen, keys his car, even goes to far as to have the group visit Varen at work (an ice cream parlor) and completely trash it.
…all of this over an English project. I hope I wasn’t the only one utterly confused and frustrated at this. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. Isobel would even go out of her way to lie and make excuses so that her friends wouldn’t find out she had been doing her homework.
Eventually Isobel comes to her senses and ditches her horrible friends and then we comes to the paranormal aspect of the book. There’s another world based on Poe’s tales. Poe himself was transported to this place multiple times and it eventually destroyed him. I looked forward to these chapters even though the writing was the most painful during these chapters, simply because I didn’t have to deal with Isobel’s terrible friends anymore.
The climactic fight scene at the end dragged on and on which frustrated me to no end. That should be the one part of the book I should have not been able to put down! Instead, I had to struggle to get through it (& succumbed to skimming a bit).
The Nocs, particularly Pinfeathers, were interesting! Isobel’s little brother was awesome! I can’t wait for more Varen (& it’s such a shame he didn’t get more time in the spotlight. There were some things that happened to him that I definitely wanted to find out more about – the scene with his father, for instance). I’m still not sure what to think of Isobel’s dad. I thought it was so cool that Reynolds was a character!
Despite the horrible writing, I really enjoyed this book and of course I’ll be continuing this series. Yay, Poe!