Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Neverworld Wake, by Marisha Pessl

One year ago, Bea was living a charmed life. She was popular, she had amazing friends, and she had an incredible boyfriend, the boy all the girls wanted to date and all the guys wanted to be. Everything was perfect. Until Jim's mysterious (and accidental?) death, that is. 

That's when everything fell apart.

Today Bea is a different person. Her grades have dropped, her friends have drifted away, and she spends her free time working at her parents' restaurant and trying not to think too much about the past.

Then comes an invitation from Whitley Lansing. Whitley tells Bea that the friends are reuniting for the weekend at Wincroft Estate. And against her better judgment, Bea attends. She finds everything and everyone the same, but senses there's something very wrong. Something no one is talking about. 

Then, following a near-miss car accident, a mysterious stranger arrives at the door. He tells the five teens that they are all lingering between life and death, caught in an endless loop where they are doomed to live out the same day over and over again. There is only one way to break the loop: Each day, they must vote on who lives and who dies. 

The vote must be unanimous. 

And there can only be one survivor.

(You can guess how well that plays out)

At first no one believes the Stranger and everyone goes their separate ways. But again and again they wake to find themselves back at Wincroft, repeating the same day. Some use these repetitions to do what they want without consequence, but Bea begins to look into why she and her friends are stuck in time. She suspects it has something to do with the circumstances surrounding Jim's death. Unfortunately, this is something no one will talk about.

Neverworld Wake, the first YA novel by Marisha Pessl, reminded me of a cross between We Were Liars (Lockhart) and Before I Fall (Oliver). In the best possible way! The author did a fantastic job with character development in that I didn't much like any of the characters but, as I got to know them, I became sympathetic with each and every one of them. I understood their motivations for how they behaved and why they did what they did. The plot was highly suspenseful and hauntingly strange. It kept me guessing right until the end. And, for the most part, I didn't see the twists and turns coming until they were upon me. 

That's all I'm going to say. This is the sort of book that's best read if you don't know too many spoiler-y things. In fact, the less you know going into it, the better. (I've probably already said too much)

Just read it!

You know you want to!


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