Nevermore – @Kelly_Creagh

I’ve been trying to finish Kelly Creagh’s debut YA novel Nevermore for the past few nights. Kids in bed, kitchen clean,  email answered. Check, check, check. With my cat Lily curled beside me, I finally settle down to the book and read until my eyes are burning.  I actually finished it during my 4th period Writing class today. (We read for the first 30 minutes on Tues and Thurs!) I have SO much love for this book.

Isobel Lanley is a popular sixteen-year-old cheerleader. In many ways she is just what you’d imagine her to be; she’s pretty, dates a hunky football player and sits with the ‘in’ crowd at lunch. But Isobel’s world takes a flying leap from normal when she is paired  with Varen Nethers to do an English project.

He sat in the back row against the far corner, slumped in his seat and staring straight ahead through shreds of inky locks, his thin wrists lined in black leather bands specked with hostile silver studs.

Isobel can’t believe her crappy luck. Not only are they going to have to work together, but they are going to be researching Edgar Allan Poe. And Varen is clearly hostile towards her. A simple (although slightly unconventional) phone number exchange sets off a chain of events that isolates Isobel in ways she couldn’t ever imagine. And then things start to get really weird.

Kelly Creagh’s book is so much fun, I couldn’t wait to read it every day. Voya called it an “English teacher’s jewel box,” and it’s easy to see why. Although I am not an expert on Edgar Allan Poe (and I don’t mean to imply that you have to be in order to enjoy this book), I did catch many of the allusions. Nevermore is a well-written, intelligent, puzzle of a book that will appeal to any reader – young or old – who likes a novel with a little meat on its bones.

Although it’s likely that Nevermore will get stuck with the ‘paranormal romance’ tag, I think that label actually does the book a disservice. Yes, there is romance – but you wait for hundreds of pages before Isobel and Varen even kiss. Ratchet up the angst, why don’t you. (And, Ms. Creagh, was that some Buffy speak I caught in there?) There were moments in this book when I was seriously creeped out. One menacing character, Pinfeathers, is super-creepy. Reynolds is another character that is difficult to figure out. Is he good? Is he deceitful?

And, best of all, Isobel is a terrific character. She’s smart and brave and resourceful. And I can’t wait to see what happens to her  in Nevermore‘s sequel, Enshadowed.

I am really looking forward to passing this one on to students in my class.