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“You’re all nearly dead. Wedged between life and death. Time for you has become on a splinter, forming a closed-circuit potentiality called a Neverworld Wake.”
A year ago everything was different for Beatrice Hartley. Her and her best friends were the cool kids, the untouchables, the beautiful ones. Life at her exclusive private school was nearly a dream. Until Jim, her boyfriend and the enigmatic leader of their group, dies a shocking death.
Now, Beatrice finds herself returning to her remaining friends. One final night is what she tells herself. One night to find out what really happened that night. But, instead of answers, Beatrice finds herself trapped in the impossible. Faced with incalculable odds and unthinkable choices, she has one chance to get answers. And to live.
“Every time, we woke up in the exact same place, exact same time. We were songs on repeat, flies in a mason jar, echoing screams in a canyon that could not fade.”
Neverworld Wake is a surreal book. It reads like a haunting mystery trapped in a fantasy nightmare. It’s difficult to categorize this book because it’s not quite like any one thing. It isn’t quite a thriller, or even horror, but there is an intense tension that runs throughout the narrative. It isn’t a murder mystery, though there is one woven in the plot. It isn’t quite science fiction, though it has elements written into it as well.
But for everything that it isn’t, you don’t feel like it misses the mark. Rather, it’s exactly what it needs to be. It’s creepy, and atmospheric, and leaves you feeling uneasy when you’re finished. Like you’ve woken from a dream that you can’t quite remember. Or, that you aren’t completely sure if it was a dream or reality. The lines are blurred and you feel that in every page. Essentially it reads like an evocative mix of Cruel Intentions with the much, much darker parts of Groundhog’s Day, topped with a healthy mix of The Twilight Zone.
“I’m sure Anderson Cooper’s all over it,” muttered Cannon. He was on the floor, hands linked around his neck like he was in a bomb shelter. “Today. A new kind of breaking news. Yesterday is today. Again. More on this story as it never develops. Tweet us your experiences with the hashtag Groundhog Day is real.”
There is an elite snark to these characters. They are spoiled. They mock the things and people around them mercilessly. They aren’t exactly likable, yet, as their secrets begin to unfold as the repetition of endlessly repeating the same day wears them down, we begin to see their humanity. And lack of it. For some, reading these types of characters isn’t enjoyable. It is very Mean Girls, very Cruel Intentions, but much darker.
Pessl draws the reader in. I’ve mentioned the haunting, atmospheric, downright creepy vibes Neverworld Wake has, but it’s also full of twists you don’t see coming. This is a book about the secrets we keep from our friends, our families, even ourselves. She shows us the monotony, the terror, the hope, the forlorn sense of loss hidden within each character. And in the end, we’re left with answers, but also questions. Like Inception, we wonder what was real, and are left to form our own conclusions.
“We swear we see each other, but all we are ever able to make out is a tiny porthole view of an ocean. We think we remember the past as it was, but our memories are as fantastic and flimsy as dreams.”
I think this is a book that is going to hit the mark for some readers, and miss for others. It isn’t a book that allows for a lot of in between. It’s a book that will challenge readers. It doesn’t fit in a tidy box. The characters won’t exactly make you root for them. Yet, it pulls you in nonetheless. I found it addicting and enthralling. It’s a book that makes you think. It makes you consider things. It doesn’t leave you easily once you close the cover.
This is the first book I’ve read by Marissa Pessl, and her first YA novel. I plan on reading more of her books, because I need more of this dark, atmospheric writing in my life!
Thank you again to Rockstar Books and Delacorte Press for including me on this blog tour, and sending me a review copy.
Scroll down for the book description, along with links to your favorite retailers. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!
Title: NEVERWORLD WAKE
Author: Marisha Pessl
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Audible, B&N, iBooks, TBD
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend—changed everything.
One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.
Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers–and at life.
Marisha Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Night Film, comes out August 20, 2013.
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3 winners will receive a finished copy of NEVERWORLD WAKE, US Only. Click above or HERE to enter!
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