Hardcover, 528 pages
Published: August 31st 2010
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.My Rating: 4.5 / 5
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.
His life depends on it.
Who would have thought weaving Poe into a story about a goth and a cheerleader would work & not be cheesy! I came into reading this book with high expectations; ratings have been great & reviews keep calling this a favorite read. I, however, didn't read the reviews & had no idea what I was getting myself into - other than thinking this was going to rock! I would suggest that you read some Poe prior to jumping into the book (The Raven and The Masque of the Red Death) so that you can see just how brilliant Kelly is at executing a story that parallels Poe's dark, twisted & eerie style.
This is not paranormal fluff! It is dark & gloomy paranormal, I may even go as far to say it verges on a fantasy read as world's collide, the lines between reality & dream blur, even Shadows and Noc's attack! Although to me the pace was slow, the originality won me over big time. Isobel is a great lead character, a cheerleader but not snobby & not one to follow the crowd. Varen (sexy name and... Raven word play!), there is so much to learn about him, you really can't help but feel for this guy. I must add another great feature is that the main characters were not stereotypical (her overbearing ex, the football player was a tad bit). The secondary characters were a nice addition. I can't wait to learn more about her quirky locker buddy and new found friend, Gwen, and Nikky, well I hope to see a change in her & see more support for Isobel.
A fascinating debut by Kelly that really raises the bar on YA fiction. Loved this for it's originality and can't wait for more in the trilogy.