Author: Kelly Creagh
Series: Nevermore, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 5++ / 5
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.
-- As seen on Goodreads
“Despite all the dark armor, the kohl liner, the black boots and chains, she saw him clearly now. She’d 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.”
I struggled to write this review. I don’t feel I can do it justice. I can’t come up with the words to describe just how amazing this book is. I loved it. I wanted to re-read it immediately after finishing, and that hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I talked myself out of it for now, but I don’t know how long I’ll last.
It starts off as your typical YA book: A girl and boy, who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, unwillingly paired together on an English project. But it turns into so much more!
Brad, The Jealous, Obnoxious, Hot-Headed and Overprotective, is Isobel’s boyfriend. He doesn’t like that she is paired with Varen for the English project, and freaks out because Varen writes his phone number on Isobel’s wrist. He threatens to make Varen’s life miserable, and to avoid an argument, Isobel lies to Brad and her friends, saying that she isn’t going to do the project with Varen. When it gets out that she lied and actually met Varen in secret, her “crew” gives her the cold shoulder. As can only happen in High School, things go back to normal. Until they visit the ice-cream shop Varen works in after a football game. They trash the place, and this was the moment I actually began to like Isobel: she didn’t give in to peer pressure and go along with what her so called friends were doing, she tried to stop them, and stood up for Varen. Total likeability right there.
Yeah... A Goth working in an ice-cream shop. You read that right, I swear!
I frigging loved Creagh’s writing; so beautiful and lyrical. It manages to stay on the line of being descriptive without falling into over-descriptive. The story is told from Isobel’s perspective, in the third person. It worked. Usually I prefer a first person POV, but it really worked so well here. You can tell Creagh loves Poe, and has studied his life in extreme detail: his works blend in seamlessly, accenting and complimenting the story rather than distracting and dominating. It’s bloody brilliant! Also, it was so nice to see a potentially romantic relationship enhancing rather than becoming the story. Anything that happens actually means something.
Isobel is the focus, but the star of this book is Varen, without a shadow of a doubt. He is exactly like the kind of character I want to read about. He broke every YA mold I hate. He is unique, intelligent, complex, realistic, has an awesomely dry sense of humour and is completely loveable.
*Please excuse the obsessive fangirl moment* *Deep breaths*
I loved how believable both Isobel and Varen were. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a cheerleader character before. I just don’t get the cheerleader thing, sorry! So I was really surprised when I started liking Isobel. I really admired her for not crumbling under the peer pressure from her “crew” and standing up for Varen. I loved seeing it, and I wish it was included more in YA books.
The atmosphere Creagh created hooked me right from the beginning. You can sense a vibrant and sinister air hovering over the entire story. What I loved finding was the humour sprinkled here and there. It lightened the oppressiveness at just the right times.
“Isobel moved farther into the kitchen, not knowing whether to be relieved that her mother hadn't had an atomic meltdown, or mortified that she'd taken it upon herself to play head chef with the nearest thing Trenton High had to a Dark Lord.”
I suppose the ending could be classed as a cliff hanger, but I didn’t find it terribly bad. With the way the story was progressing, and the way Isobel reacts to reading “The Masque of the Red Death” early on in the book, I think the ending was as expected. I don’t think a neatly tied up resolution would have worked with the story.
I can't recommend Nevermore highly enough. This is the best I can do with summing up what I loved about the book, and I know it doesn't even come close to describing how I feel about it. I loved every page and can't wait until I read part two.