Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Title: Nevermore
Author: Kelly Creagh
Publisher: Atheneum
Release Date: August 31, 2010

Cover Impressions: Ok, the font is nice and I like the overlay of writing.  HOWEVER - the emo dude on the cover ruined ANY chance of my having warm feelings for Varen.

The Gist:
Vapid cheerleader is paired up with (gasp!) dark, emo dude for a school project on Edgar Allan Poe.  Despite the fact that the partners were chosen by the teacher, her friends take this as a personal insult and threaten goth boy for breathing the same air as cheerleader girl.  She finds his contempt for the world enticing and leaves her friends for him.  Out of left field, she discovers a weird world where Varen (and Poe's) writing comes to life and Isobel is the only super special snowflake who can save Varen from himself.

This book (and its sequel) have been on my TBR list for quite a while.  A lot of the reviewers that I follow have loved it and I had such high hopes that I saved it to be my last read of 2012.  What. A. Mistake.  Here were some of my issues:

1) The characters were stereotypical and irritating.  Isobel = the vapid cheerleader and Varen = the moody, emo teenager she falls in love with. 
2) Isobel didn't even LIKE Varen.  She was constantly hating on the goths and when she had her little fantasy sequence - he was there, but as a prep who was NOTHING like the real character.  For his part, Varen was a jerk.  He treated Isobel like crap and she kept coming back for more.  I read a lot of review that praised the romantic angle, but I just didn't get it.  Their connection didn't feel real and Isobel was more than a little pathetic.
3) At least 1/2 the plot revolves around a homework assignment.  That's right folks, Isobel loses all her friends and Varen gets pulverized OVER HOMEWORK!  I kept waiting for the supernatural elements to kick in, but they took FOREVER.  All this teen angst over homework was boring and irritating.
4) Speaking of homework, why were her parents so bent out of shape that she had to sneak out of the house in order to work on a project?  What kind of parent doesn't make allowances so that their kid can pass a class?
5) Also speaking of homework, despite at least half of the book centering around a homework project, and despite sneaking out to meet Varen to work on said project, Isobel spent her time avoiding doing any of the actual reading or research.  At the last minute, she threw together some flashy presentation meant to mask the fact that she didn't do any actual work.
6) When we were finally thrown into the supernatural element it was with very little explanation.  Isobel basically wandered around searching for Varen.  She had no plan and no information.  None of the other characters felt the need to explain anything that was going on and the whole Dreamworld seemed like one convoluted mess.
7) This book was supposed to be strongly tied to Poe - a master of suspense and horror.  This story does not do him justice and I am appalled that his name was invoked at all.  

I have NO desire to read any further in this series and, quite frankly, I hope one of the creepy ass bird kids eats Isobel for lunch.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

Age: 16 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Fist Fighting, Bullying
Inappropriate Language: Faggot, Christ, Piss, Pussy
Substance Use/Abuse: Smoking


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