When I commit to reading a book over 400 pages, I assume that the extended length is necessary, even crucial to the developing plotline. In this case, however, the length can be attributed to the fact that the author couldn’t make up her mind about whether to write a love story or an urban fantasy. The love story is about a popular cheerleader named Isobel, who is at the top of the social pyramid, but unexpectedly takes a tumble when she finds herself identifying more with the loner Goth kid, Varen, than with her friends. The urban fantasy is about a normal girl losing her grasp on reality because she is caught between the real world and the dream world. The two conflicting stories grated against one another, making the transitions between the love story and the urban fantasy feel jarring.
The story that I was most interested in reading and found myself skimming entire chapters to get to was the love story between Isobel and Varen. The two form a shaky alliance when they are paired together on an English project, but with each encounter this alliance slowly transforms into a tentative friendship, and eventually a budding romance. I appreciated that Isobel didn’t fall instantaneously in love with him, despite finding herself strangely drawn to him. I also appreciated how strong Isobel was in her convictions. She wasn’t swayed by her friend’s opinions, she didn’t put up with her boyfriend’s bullying, and she even willingly committed social suicide because to do otherwise would have been morally reprehensible.
Another aspect of the book worth mentioning that I found refreshing for once, was that Isobel came from a two parent household. Too often YA books have divorced, abusive, or absentee parents. I’m sure having a broken family makes for more interesting storytelling, but for every dysfunctional family out there, there are a dozen functional ones. Isobel’s parents were actively involved in her life. They cared if she didn’t call to say that she would be home late and that she was suddenly spending all this time with a guy they had never met. They helped her with her homework, expected her to be present at meals, and grounded her when she didn’t follow the rules. I’m tired of reading YA novels where the parents play no role in the story, are portrayed as the enemy, or are too accepting and understanding of their child’s erratic or reckless behavior.
Looking through the reviews of this book, I’m surprised to see that they were overwhelmingly positive. Some even boasted that this was the best YA book of the year. I adamantly disagree. I have no desire to continue this series. For once, I wished that a book didn’t have a paranormal spin to it. I wanted a shadow to just be a shadow and a dream to just be a dream. Nevermore was a great love story and a very mediocre urban fantasy. I’m sure many who read this book will love it and won’t care that it doesn’t make any sense and that more questions are created than answered.
Rating: 2/5 Stars