Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Publisher:  Atheneum
Published:    August 31st 2010
Hardcover, 528 pages

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.

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

–from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Nevermore is a rare find in books. It is hard to know where to begin with how amazing this book is.  While the book is Paranormal it is not overtly obvious when compared to other books in the same genre.  Kelly Creagh’s touch of Poe brings a Gothic sense to this novel while at the same time being set much in reality.  Creagh’s attention to Poe himself shows an author with a passion, not just for writing but for believability.  You can tell she did her research as she provides details and quotes directly from Poe’s life. 
The plot of this novel is top notch.  While the plot seems to be one used by many authors (opposites attracting under “unusual” circumstances), Kelly Creagh takes it to a whole new level.  Again like many novels, our main characters are paired together for a class project; in this case, Isobel and Varen are paired to work on an English project focusing on Edgar Allan Poe.  Both are anything but pleased to be ‘forced’ to work together.  As partners they each start to open up in their own way, allowing the other to see a side of themselves they normally hide.  During which time Isobel becomes allured by and drawn into Varen’s “nightmarish world” and his secrets.  Of course with a book being over 500 pages you are given quite a few events, but the plot does not skip around. Kelly Creagh fills her pages with outstanding detail of reality and dream worlds.  It is hard to not be on the edge of your seat for the entire book.

The character development is also top notch. Both Isobel and Varen are completely believable both as human beings and as high school students falling in love.  In the beginning Isobel comes across as your typical cheerleader, but she also shows how she is not just a “typical” cheerleader.  Her character grows tremendously throughout the book in many ways.  Isobel finds herself having to stand up to people that can danger her “popularity”, questioning the status quo, and even herself. At the same time, she shows how “typical” she is as a teenager – sneaking out of her house while she is grounded, caring about what other think, and worrying about homework.

Varen is also a very unique character.  He puts up a front that he is aloof to everyone’s gossip about him being a ‘vampire’, dark, and scary.  But you find that he is more affected than he lets on.  For both Isobel and Varen, there is more than meets the eye.  They appear to be complete opposites, but under the surface they are more alike than they know. 

The only negative thing one can say about this book is the time period before its sequel is published in 2012.  Kelly Creagh’s debut novel has already set her apart from many authors, and expectations are high for her following novels – expectations of which she will surely meet. 

My Rating

Visit Kelly Creagh’s Website/Blog for all your Nevermore fixes!