A little while ago, I finished reading Nevermore, but as I was rather tired when I read a large portion of the ending, I decided to give the entire a re-read before I reviewed it. I'm soo glad I did! Enjoy!
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 543 pages
Published August 30th 2011
by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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. Can she save Varen from the madness taking hold of him? Or will they both be consumed by the shadows of his nightmares?
I think I have been looking for this book all my life. This story is really smart, sassy, romantic, funny, and fantastically eerie. Can I say that I loved it? I LOVED it!! I've shelved it with my favourites and I know it's one book I will return to again and again.
After all, if reading it the first time was simply a gripping experience, reading the second time was mesmerizing. I've always been gripped by the idea of Poe's work, but I've never read much of it. Basically, my reading of Poe was confined to Annabel Lee, The Raven and two short stories, The Tell Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death. I've always wanted to read more of Poe, but the age old problem of "so many books, so little time" has prevented me from more familiarity with the author. But Creagh does this amazing job of bringing the spirit of Poe (I've read some of more him since I picked up Nevermore) to life in a way that is haunting and mesmerizing. Her writing is beautifully descriptive in just the right places, crisp and ironic in others, and I absolutely fell in love with her world. It's hauntingly surreal.
Other than the element of eerie fantasy, which made this book especially memorable in my opinion, and beautiful writing, what really brought this tale to light was the characters. They are vividly drawn and people we can relate to on many levels. First and foremost is Isobel. She seems nothing more than a snob in the opening pages of the novel, but it is very soon apparent than Isobel is very strong willed and intelligent. Even if she is a cheerleader. Her fascination with Varen is almost immediate, despite the fact that she thinks he is weird, she refuses to condone the mean spirited and hateful treatment he endures at the hands of her so-called friends. In fact, Isobel feels so strongly about the injustice of their actions, that she abandons her friends and breaks up with her boyfriend because of the way they treat Varen. She shows a tremendous amount of growth and makes friends like Gwen, that seem to be far truer friends than her "crew." I love how she stands up to everyone in this novel--she is a strong female character and I love her strength. It's solid and honest.
And what of Varen Nethers? He is mysterious, ironic, and in possession of a keen intelligence. He is also aloof and strangely enough, high minded--this is clear when he refuses to get sucked into Brad's power games or retaliate against Brad's violence--and kind. He reaches out to Isobel on several occasions when he might have simply walked away. As much as she is "not his type", he lets her in to small degree. And I suspect that's something he has never done before. He is very conflicted, but I think the most of his conflicted nature has yet to be revealed. The tenderness with which he treats Isobel at the Grim Facade, and on her driveway after her dad unceremoniously makes his disapproval of Varen known, really touched me. There is definitely a well of anger in him, but he's directed all of that into his writing--which sadly, has become the portal into a nightmare world. There is something about Varen that struck me as haunting and beautiful.
The supporting characters--from cheerful hippy Gwen to the jealous cheerleader Alyssa, are all painted with equal depth, even if they get little page time. I hate Alyssa--but I feel sorry for Nikki and Brad. Though more sorry for Nikki. I think Stevie and Gwen would be adorable together. Isobel's little brother Danny stole some scenes in the laugh out loud department. They were all awesome. As for Reynolds, I want to throttle that man for his damned crypticness.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading. It's intelligent, fun, full of twists and turns and will engage you no matter what--if you are paying attention! You really have to pay attention while reading everything from after the project presentation to the end, or the lack of careful attention might result in some confusion. But this is truly a must read.
How and when had her life been upended by homework?
“You're really a blond," she said, her tone just short of accusatory.
"And if you tell anyone, I will come to you in the night and smote your everlasting soul.”
Hands quivering, she reached toward him.
"Don't." He turned his back to her, facing the door.
That word had stopped her once before. But not now. Not now that she had glimpsed through the funeral front of Varen's own eternal Grim Facade. Despite all the dark armor, the kohl eye liner, the black boots and chains, she saw him clearly now. She peered through the curtain of that cruel calmness, through the death stare and the vampire sentiments and angst and, behind it all, had found true beauty.
5 glittering stars