Wednesday 27 June 2018


Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I have been reading an increasing amount of young adult novels in the past year or two - and I can't see myself growing tired of them any time soon. There is often a debate around whether someone who isn't anywhere near the teenage age of its protagonists shouldn't be reading more 'adult' fiction, but that narrative must be led by people who don't venture into YA. Because if they would, they'd too fall in love with this fantastically diverse reading landscape. Especially when a unique novel like Neverworld Wake comes around in which the social and mental implications of being stuck in a literal limbo are explored in a thought provoking manner (while being a crackin' story to boot).

Bee hasn't seen her group of former best friends since the death of her boyfriend, the sudden loss hitting her so hard that she has isolated herself from the person she was before and the people that were in her life at that time. But when she's invited to Wincroft House for Whitley's birthday, against all odds she decides to join them one last time and perhaps finally find some closure.

But rather than closing one chapter in her life, a faithful car accident opens quite another. After the crash she and her friends wake up right where they started that day and they're told by a mysterious man called the Keeper that the day and the accident will repeat themselves over and over until they can come to an unanimous agreement about which one person out of the group of former best friends will survive - meaning everyone else will die as a result of the vote, with no way of coming back...

Wow, this book you guys, where to start?! I thought it was going to be a cool and interesting read as it focuses on a group of teenagers that after getting into a car accident end up in limbo, but it was a far more layered and unexpected book than it even sounds from that short description. Even though I finished reading it quite a while ago, I'm still in awe of the clever way it was put together and I was most blown away by its conclusion.

Limbo (called 'Neverworld' in this book) was already a super original focus point, but in addition to that there is also a murder mystery at the core of the story. One of the friends died before the others end up in Neverworld and what follows is an incredibly engrossing journey as the characters try to uncover whether their friend committed suicide or was murdered. Perhaps even by one of their own, dun dun dun...

And then there is the Neverworld itself. This place where rules continuously change and get bend, and there are seemingly endless possibilities of movement to travel in time and place, was both highly imaginative and quietly terrifying. I've never read anything like it and as I was uncovering its mysteries alongside protagonist Bee and her former friends I was continuously in awe with author Marisha Pessl's world building and imagination. Not to mention the frighteningly realistic impact their bizarre and uncertain situation had on the characters' change in behaviour and inhibition; like a supernatural social experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Neverworld Wake is unlike any other book I've ever read – YA or otherwise – and it's all the better for it. It's eerie, intriguing and extremely well put together, it'll have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, questioning your own morals if you would ever end up in a similarly terrifying situation. It's a great story on the surface already and an incredibly insightful thought provoker just underneath.

Neverworld Wake
is published by Scholastic and you can get your copy now from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.

🎵 Listening to: Taylor Swift– Getaway Car

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