by Kelly Creagh
Release Date: August 31, 2010
2010 Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Hardcover Edition; 543 Pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
5 / 5 Stars
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 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 unraven 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 read Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was captured by the haunting evocation of Edgar Allan Poe's work as it was deftly woven thoughout the novel. While the novel has all the elements of a YA novel, it goes far beyond that as it weaves nightmares and dreams amongst the story so that you are instantly caught up in the nightmarish qualities of the story.
First of all, I have always been a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe, one of the primary reasons I was drawn to this novel in the first place and as people are obssessed with Jack the Ripper and what happened to him, I have always been interested in what could have possibly happened to Poe. I love how Ms. Creagh weaves his uncertain demise into this novel and blends his work into Isobel and Varen's story.
While I wasn't crazy about many of the characters at the beginning of the novel, they sort of grew on me as the novel developped. I found Isobel to be a stereotypical cheerleader at the beginning, but discovered there was a side to her that was different from the others, one who stood up for people, one who was sympathetic and vulnerable. I liked her courage and her determination to do what she thought was right, despite what others thought she should do. I adored Varen and would have loved to have learned more about him. I found I was given tidbits of information here and there about his life, just tantalizing enough to want to learn more, but he was definitely a complex character, shaped by his home life and I was always eager to learn more. He often ran hot and cold with Isobel, but she was able to overlook that and see straight through him to what he was truly feeling. I enjoyed their developing relationship and was glad to see that they didn't immediately fall in love with each other or that it didn't become the main storyline. I would have been disappointed if that was the case.
I enjoyed the paranormal elements in this novel, especially how Ms. Creagh brings out Poe's stories and poems and creates tension and dread. The dreamworld that is created is unique and interesting, and anything can happen there. The part where Isobel is running through the park because she thinks she is being chased, and there are ravens surrounding her, gave me goosebumps. Who wouldn't think of the poem The Raven at a time like this? I would love to get my hands on this Reynolds character and know more about him and how he can help Isobel and Varen. I could have gladly given Reynolds a shake if it would have answered any more of my questions. It shows how deeply I connected with the characters that I felt that way. If I have any complaints about Nevermore, it would be over the ending as it was definitely left open for the planned sequel and it will be difficult to wait to see what happens to everyone. There is no closure or tidy ending in this novel.
Nevermore was a fascinating read with many different paranormal elements that will keep any reader interested. The romance between Isobel and Varen, although it explodes with sexual tension, never really goes beyond that and is good clean fun. The dark elements, twisted with the works of Edgar Allan Poe has made reading fascinating and fun, interjecting a rather unique twist to a unique story. It has rather effectively sent me back to my shelves in search of my Great Works of Edgar Allan Poe for some re-reading. I am looking forward to the next novel in this planned trilogy, and anyone who loves a unique paranormal novel (with some romance) will enjoy this one too.