Author: Kelly Creagh
Publisher: Anteneum Books for Young Readers (August 30, 2011)
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.
Um, do me a favor and check out that cover again.
Can you say creepy? Oh, and totally HOT!
I freaking love that cover. It's the reason I read the book in the first place. I saw it on my GoodReads recommendations page one day and that cover has haunted me ever since. I wrote down the title, but then lost it. I frantically searched through my GoodReads "to-read" pile, but couldn't find it there either! I scoured the internet till I finally found it. Whew! I'm so glad I did.
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh is one creepy, fantastical read. If you've ever been entranced in the works of Edgar Allan Poe, this is a good modern take on what it might be like inside his mind. Or, rather, a somewhat similar mind. Varen's mind.
Just looking at the cover alone, you get a good sense of Varen. His dark, mysterious, and totally not your typically teenage boy in a young adult book. Sure, there's a good bit of goth representation in YA, but Varen is unlike any other teen romance guy I've ever read about (but hey, I'm open to recommendations if I'm missing some YA subculture or something). He's dark and mysterious, but not in the usual way. More in the "Hey, maybe I should really leave him alone kind of way." He's rude to Isobel. Actually rude. And she doesn't take it playfully or misinterpret it or anything else. She recognizes that he's not interested in her (and not just in a romantic way), but she also knows she stuck working with him on an English project, so she must prevail.
What I thought was interesting about Varen is that although he is kind of rude to Isobel, he isn't a jerk. He just isn't interested in sparing her feelings, so he says things exactly as he sees them. Yes, this is absolutely a fault of his and I didn't particularly care for him when this is happening, but that's the great thing about characters...they can change. Isobel stands up to him and rightly puts him in his place. Things steadily improve from there. Throughout the story, I appreciated the comparison of Varen to Brad. At points, neither one is grade-A boyfriend material, but there are lines and decencies that Varen doesn't cross. Also, I really like that Varen doesn't try to fight Brad. It always irks me when an unexpected character is able to physically stand up to someone they shouldn't be able to, based on prior description. Creagh has created the characters and she sticks with them and their limitations. Kudos to her.
Okay, I realize I've spent just about the entire review on Varen and the cover, but Varen really is the story. And I don't mean the romance. I mean what's going on inside his head and how his relationship with Isobel not only changes his thoughts, but pulls her into his nightmares. A lot of the story is impacted by Varen's thoughts. It's a shame we don't get into his POV at all.
The one thing I did find really disappointing is that once Isobel reaches a certain level of understanding about what's going on and that it has to do with Varen, Varen isn't in the story much. Sure, there's lots of thoughts about him and he's otherwise occupied (which is why he isn't around), but I wish there was more of him in the end quarter of the book. Then again, that just makes me super eager to read book two, Enshadowed.
Final thoughts: Borrow or buy. Frankly, I'd buy it solely for the cover, but that's a personal preference.