Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Tags: YA, paranormal, romance


The day Isobel’s life starts unraveling is the day she gets paired with Varen Nethers for an English project. Imagine: she, a pretty, popular cheerleader having to spend time with the most sullen, mysterious, and depressing freak in school!

The more time Isobel spends with Varen, however, the more intriguing she finds him. He is a talented writer who hides himself behind a thick wall all the time. Isobel knows there is more to him than his cold exterior, but her old friends and possessive boyfriend do NOT like her spending time with Varen. As things head towards a tense climax, Isobel has to figure out how to save Varen before he is lost completely to a dark world that Isobel has never known before.


I’m not sure what to think about this ambitious debut novel. On the one hand, NEVERMORE is a chillingly intriguing exploration of the psychological changes undergone when two opposites cross paths. On the other, it is all too often plodding, frustrating, and melodramatic.

Good things first: the characters in NEVERMORE are quite unlike most YA characters I’ve read, particularly Varen. He is aloof without being arrogant, reserved without seeming hopelessly depressed. His appeal lies in these things: in a sense, he has all the appeal of a stereotypical bad boy, but his “badness” is in being so-called freakish and socially distant. And that made for a very nice combination. I always looked forward to Isobel and Varen’s interactions, because they were full of the bittersweet subtleties that real relationships are about, and not the usual insta-attraction wish fulfillment that usually abounds in YA lit.

Unfortunately, NEVERMORE felt a bit shaky for me for several reasons. I found it difficult to place Isobel: she’s not technically a nice person (as evidenced by her initial interactions with Varen), and yet she’s not convincingly mean, either. YA novelists such as Courtney Summers and Lauren Oliver have successfully proven that even mean girls can be sympathetic protagonists. And while most of the other characters are convincingly rich enough in their roles, whether major or minor, I would have liked to see more definition from Isobel. As of now she just feels like a fairly generic protagonist to me.

Likewise, I felt that the paranormal elements of NEVERMORE were not as strong as the contemporary, psychological aspects. It seems like a bit of a stretch right now to believe Isobel and Varen’s involvement with a whole other world. Nevertheless, NEVERMORE is definitely the first book in a series, and I’d be interested to see what the promising author Kelly Creagh does in the sequel. I would definitely love to see more development of the other world and integration with “our” world.

Similar Authors
Lois Duncan
Cyn Balog
Nina Malkin
Kirsten Miller
Kimberly Derting

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - The more I look at that cover, the more I like it. The models look exactly like how I pictured the characters in my mind, and Isobel's pink dress plays a key role in the story.

Atheneum / Aug. 31, 2010 / Hardcover / 560pp. / $17.99

ARC sent by author/S&S for review.


  1. While I was reading the synopsis, it sounded reminiscent of so many other YA novels out there. I am intrigued by your assurance that it is different, enough so that I can't help but want to read it to find out how it differs from Hush, Hush or Twilight. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention!

  2. I have to agree with Michelle when she says it sounds like so many YA novels out there. Awesome, in-depth review!

  3. I'm actually really looking forward to this one - it just sounds different, and I haven't read much concerning dreams/dream worlds.

    Great review as always.

  4. Ouch Steph. I had the opposite reaction to it, I thought it was amazing. But, I see your points. :) Nice honest review!

  5. I've been going back and forth on whether or not to add this to the wish list. Maybe I'll wait until the second book comes out.

  6. Hm, I don't know what to think of this one! I haven't read it myself, but after finishing your review I'm on the fence. It sounds a bit weak, to be honest. I'd have to read it and find out, I guess!

  7. Wonderful review Steph! I loved how you described the characters, as well as the paranormal elements of the novel. I'm looking forward to reading Nevermore!

  8. I'll agree that the synopsis didn't scream "unique!" to me at first, but I enjoyed your review! I might give this one a chance someday.

  9. The book is pretty amazing. You may be thinking the typical YA ordinary girl finds out about the spooks in this world and that she has special powers and meets a handsome warrior boy. NOPE its very different. I loved Osobelle. The very thing you are describing is what makes her real. Real humans are NOT the mean girl or the nice girl. They are both and neither. Isobelle is a believable, common sense kid. if someone is pissy to her(like Varen in the start) she responds angrilly. So would I. But if someone is Ok to her, she treats them with respect. I liked it. I recently read a few decent books with the most awful young female characters. One was "City of Bones" the girl in it was totally impossible. She did react to things predictably. ALWAYS angry when someone didn't do/say/think exactly what she wanted. ALWAYS angry when trying to get her way. ALWAYS insecure about her clothing or appearance. It got old. No one is like that. Thats not how it is. Id much rather have a female hero that isn't mean or nice, but depends on the trigger and her mood. Varen is INTENSE! You will love him.
    The best thing is that the world they step into really exists. It is the world of the mind, and it is full of everything spooky and cool. It certainly spills tha magic into the "real " world, but by then you believe. This is by far the best book of its type out there right now.


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