Publication Date: August 31st 2010
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 543 pages
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
Let’s just get it right out there – Varen is a lame name. Even with the obvious Poe-allusion, still lame.
Okay, now that that’s done with. It took me till about page 115 to get into this story. I had a haaard time seeing past the Twilight-yness of the beginning (shut up, it’s there, and yes, I fear that every paranormal romance young adult novel will forever be compared to Twilight, alas.) Some of the writing was a little contrived in places, and seriously, do normal high school girls think about boys THAT much? Because all I remember in high school is vaguely wanting a boyfriend, but being more concerned with oh I don’t know, like grades and graduating and college and crap. Go figure.
Anyway, after I got into the story, I couldn’t put this book down. Loved reading about the characters. I did think the scene with Varen’s dad was a little contrived (but, being not-the-target-audience, I can see why it’s in there. Wow, it hurts to realize I am no longer the YA target audience. Gack.) Loved Varen’s unruffledness. Got a little annoyed with the eyes, those jade eyes, soul piercing eyes (ocher eyes, anyone?)
I adored Gwen. Absolutely love her. I want her as my friend. The jury is out on Isobel. She’s decent, but
do I like her? I do not know. I like her enough to continue reading about her (but let’s be honest, I more interested in a showdown with Reynolds, another character I adored.)
All my ranting and raving aside, this is a decent book. Much better than 90% of the current YA offerings. Great way to pass the time, and perfect to read in October. So someone remind me to re-read it around Halloween.