Title: Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
Author: Kelly Creagh
Published: August, 2010 by Atheneum Books
Purchase: The Book Depository
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.
While reading Nevermore, I was fully aware of Kelly Creagh’s talent and excited by her ability to meld the mysterious life/death of American writer Edgar Allen Poe into this twisted, exhilarating plot, and at no time did I tire of its macabre zaniness. However, I did ‘struggle’ with this novel which so far I have claimed to be enjoyable, and you’re probably wondering why.
Nevermore is the story of the blonde and popular high school cheerleader, Isobel Lanley, and the brooding and unsociable goth, Varen Nethers, who are randomly paired for a group project for their English class at school. The novel is told entirely from Isobel’s perspective as she slowly falls prey to a dark and haunted world which Varen has created for himself—and, as expected, proceeds to fall for Varen in the process.
You might think it was all the silly high school popularity drama that got me irked, or the fact that characters seemed to fit into their own conveniently pre-meditated slots: jerk football player boyfriend, Brad; selfish cheerleader best friend, Nicky; quirky/funny new best friend, Gwen; and the annoying little brother who actually cares etc. But I was able to get around that, and forgive the cliché quite easily.
To be honest, it was Isobel. The actual main character of this novel is what made me struggle, so much in some instances that I either found myself swearing at the page, or rather moving to put the book down and give myself a break. The fact is I found her to be selfish, clueless, annoying, a bad judge of character (as displayed by her choice of friends), and her priorities were in more than a jumble. I found she hindered the plot because no matter how many clues or hints were thrown at her, she either ignored them, forgot about them, or labelled them as too vague to understand, and then went on her merry way only to act surprised when everything went to absolute chaos all around her. But, alas, I must to stop myself now, before this turns into a rant (I already wrote one review the very afternoon I had finished reading Nevermore, but threw it away because I realized I was too angry at Isobel and had spoken too harshly—more harshly than this novel deserved). Let me take a few breaths…
Nevermore does have an exciting plot, which does surprise you at times, and never ceases to be entertaining. There’s always a chance that Isobel is just a cunningly sketched epitome of the stereotypical ‘blonde high school cheerleader’ in which case Kelly Creagh has incredibly hit that nail right on the head. And, despite what I’ve said against the novel, I would still recommend it to friends, but only with a warning to “stay calm and ignore the main character if she annoys you too much.”
People who like a gothic-paranormal, and who have patience for annoying characters
I got this through Paperback Swap, but the thickness put me off. I found it hard to make time to put aside for it. I’m not the type to put a book down either, so I knew if I started, I wouldn’t stop until I hit The End. But I also opted to skip it because I’ve grown a bit weary of traditionally published YA. It all feels the same to me right now and I’ve been craving something different.