Something weird happened. For once, they hype actually enticed me to read a book instead of making me want to read it less (or at least put it off until the hype died down). And despite the fact I already own two unread Marisha Pessl books, I decided to pick up Neverworld Wake because everyone has been talking about it. Maybe it was the cover that pulled me in. Maybe I was just curious about the plot. Either way, I’m glad I read it.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) 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.
And so begins the Neverworld Wake.
If you read my blog regularly, you probably know that I’m a bit skeptical about YA books. I have nothing against them, I’m just old enough that typical teenage characters (and real teenagers) can be a bit annoying. I’m just not interested in reliving high school. But I am so glad I gave Neverworld Wake a chance, because it managed to be a young adult novel with young adult characters that read like an adult novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that felt so ageless, and I really appreciated that. This is a great novel for young adults and for adults (even those who typically don’t like YA).
I thought the story was really creative and interesting. It actually reminded me a bit of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, but was also completely different. I liked how dark it was without being scary. I enjoyed the pace – it wasn’t too slow, but felt appropriate for a story that basically takes place while the rest of the world is on pause. I was hesitant to pick this up in part because I was worried the book wouldn’t live up to the synopsis, but it definitely did. It is what it said it would be, and I appreciated it.
I also liked the characters, for the most part. Admittedly, they kind of annoyed me in the beginning, but they grew on me. They had very distinct personalities, which made the story more interesting. And I kind of got attached to them.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but there were a few things I wished were different. I don’t want to give away too much, but because this book is told from one person’s perspective, it’s immediately apparent what will happen in the end. I wish it had been more of a mystery, because I think it would have made the process of getting there much more exciting. And I thought the ending was just a bit too anticlimactic. In part because I knew what was coming, but also because the tension just kind of melted away, but the story kept going. It wasn’t bad, I just wanted a little bit more.
★★★★☆ – Overall, I enjoyed Neverworld Wake a lot more than I thought I would, and I am so happy to have read it. I definitely recommend it if the synopsis interests you. It’s unique and exciting, and I am definitely more excited to read the other two Marisha Pessl books already on my shelves.
Have you read Neverworld Wake? What did you think?
Neverworld Wake is available on bookstores now – you can pick up a copy on Amazon!
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose Neverworld Wake as one of your two free books.
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