NevermoreWritten by: Kelly Creagh
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.
This book looks chunky with 543 pages, but it is a quick read. I enjoyed it because it kept the young adult horror aspect but stepped away from vampire-land. This isn’t your Twi-mom’s “Twilight”.
As many know, I attend a convention known as Ravencon in the Richmond, VA area. This literary convention features a sci-fi/fantasy theme but also incorporates horror. I served on staff for several years at this convention and in that time I renewed my love of Poe and learned more about his personal life.
Poe is probably one of the few American classics authors that I actually love. That year of school where we studied American Lit was tough for me. I will never be a lover of “The Great Gatsby”, “The Scarlet Letter”, or other books of that ilk. Poe, however, I love. I feel bad that he had such an unfortunate life, but he truly was a brilliant and gifted writer. Though born in Boston, he grew up in Virginia, a fact I am ashamed to admit I did not know until Ravencon. I blame the failings of the American School System since I grew up not one hour from his home. (I’d like to also point out that I’m a mere 90 minutes from Fort McHenry, where the US National Anthem was written and yet I did not know this either until I was watching a reality television show a few years ago.)
This book features Poe as the driving force bringing the two main characters together. He is the subject of their latest school assignment. What I love is that the author used the book to educate people on Poe’s background without making it seem like a boring biography. A book where you can learn something without realizing you learn something is made of the win.
The characters are your typical high school stereotype: popular cheerleader dating popular jock and goth loser boy. Some of the base teen pop dragged or seemed stupid to me, but the Poe-geared story line totally made up for it. (Seriously, she’s grounded and sneaks out to do a school assignment? On what planet would a parent not allow you to do a school assignment regardless of groundation? And don’t get me started on how upset her father was when she broke up with the jock boyfriend. Wouldn’t most dads be happy to have their teen daughter in a singleton status? I thought dads weren’t supposed to like their teenagers dating, at least not seriously dating!)
If you are a lover of YA Pop, you might like this book. If you like “soft” horror, you might enjoy the read. If you are a Poe lover, this book will amuse you as it interweaves Poe’s life and death with a couple of high school kids.
Besides, there’s excellent use of ravens in this book. And that alone is awesome.–Lady Ozma