Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Title: Neverworld Wake
Author: Marisha Pessl
Genre: Mystery, Magic Realism
Source: TeenReads & Delacorte Press
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 5th 2018 

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend—changed everything. One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened. Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers... and at life. And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

Would this really be a review is I didn't take a moment to gush about how much a love this cover? The colors and the design are stunning and really attracted me into looking into this book. Neverworld Wake is a little different then the books that I typically read. I am a die hard science fiction/fantasy/high fantasy kind of girl. So a contemporary/magic realism/mystery book is quite a stretch for me, but I was down for the challenge! (It also appears dark and moody and I am a dark and moody person so I figured it would be a good fit.) 

After the unfortunate death of her boyfriend Jim, Beatrice looses contact with their other best friends Whitley, Cannon, Kipling and Martha. After a year and little answers to what happened the night Jim died Beatrice is invited to a weekend getaway with her once best friends, which she decides to attend with the intentions of finding out what happened to Jim once and for all. After a freak accident leaves the five in a perpetual time loop of the same day over and over for an undisclosed amount of time that is called Neverworld Wake, only one will survive it, for in the real world they are all lying in a ravine slowly dying. A unanimous vote must decide the one survivor of the Wake, but before that the group decides to use this as an opportunity to learn what happened to their friend once and for all. 

The book is split up into three parts. The first dealing with the groups fate and the basics of the Neverworld. This part mainly deals with how each character deals with their impending fate. Who is going to die? Who is going to live? How did this happen? I enjoyed learned about the Neverworld and why it happens and why this specific set of characters were there. I do wish that the Keeper was more involved in the story. He is there and constantly watching, but we don't know much about him, plus his explanation of the Neverworld was super complicated to understand which resulted in me having to reread it several times. 

The transition from the first part of the story to the second threw me off a bit. We go from how each character is in their own little hell in dealing with their fates and coping in their own ways. But then over the course of several pages they are all together and randomly decided that it was time to figure out what truly happened to their friend once and for all. It was a fast shift, not one that was eased into. I thought that Neverworld Wake was going to go in a different direction considering how the first fifty pages went. 

Neverworld Wake was captivating. I was one of those books that I started reading and suddenly I was 200 pages in and questioning almost everything that I had learned so far. The mystery aspect of the story was alright, it wasn't my favorite mystery and I predicted part of it earlier on but it still held my attention. It had a depth to it that not many mysteries do. Neverworld Wake brings up the question of whether or not you can trust your best friends to tell you everything and what if it is your dark secrets that nobody knows that unknowingly brings you together. 

We are all anthologies. We are each thousands of pages long, filled with fairy tales and poetry, mysteries and tragedy, forgotten stories in the back no one will ever read.

Overall I enjoyed Neverworld Wake more then I thought I was going too. It did have it's few quirks that I talked about but those still couldn't take away from the underlying meaning of the story. The ending did pull at my heart a little bit and left me with tears in my eyes.  Neverworld Wake is a story that will make you think about those around you and what love really is. 

1 comment

  1. I have to admit that the cover looks fantastic! Great review Amber! And by the way, your blog looks really cute


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