Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Bee hasn’t spoken to her best friends since her boyfriend’s mysterious death. Now a year later, she needs to face them. They’re beautiful, rich and deadly. She is certain one of them holds the truth about what really happened to Jim.

A whirlwind night leads to a narrowly missed car collision and a sinister man knocking at the door as a storm rages outside, to discover a world shattering message.

As secrets unravel and time backbends, the five friends must make a shocking choice.

Trust no one. Fear everything. How would you vote?

Who will survive the Neverworld Wake?

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl. Published by Delacorte Press, June 2018, 328 pages, Kindle edition. Young adult. This was the April pick for my local book club, Hauntingly Good Reads.

When I heard Marisha Pessl was finally coming out with a new book, I was super excited! I absolutely LOVED her last book, Night Film. It was a mind blowing book that was addictive and phenomenal and easily sailed in to my “Best Books Ever” category. Then I found out the new book, Neverworld Wake, was going to be a YA book. My excitement waned a little… I am not the biggest fan of YA books. I know there are good ones out there, but I just don’t like teenagers in my stories. More often then not they are too angsty and stereotypical with the most amazing of all amazing loves and it’s just like, um, no thank you. But I loved Night Film so much and I had been waiting what felt like forever for her next book… I decided, ok, I’m going to buy it and give it a shot even though the plot description felt a little too vague. I managed to talk my local book club in to adding it to the list of books to read. Yay! But now I had to wait several months before we would get to that book because we had several months already planned out in advance. Boo. After waiting for what felt like forever, April 2019 finally rolled around and it was time for us to read Neverworld Wake.

Neverworld Wake is a sci-fi supernatural whodunnit murder mystery. Bee’s boyfriend Jim was killed one year ago and she knows her group of friends know more about his death then they are letting on. Her friends aren’t the only ones hiding information though. Basically, nobody in this book should be trusted and they are all unreliable. They are also all kind of assholes. So there’s that. But back to the murder mystery. I’ll admit, I was also dying to know what happened to Jim? How did he really die? Through a series of supernatural time loops, the group of friends get a chance to finally get together and figure out what happened that night. In typical whodunnit style, the truth about Jim is not revealed until the very end.

The time loop in Neverworld Wake turns in to the worst Groundhog’s Day ever. Tension and frustration build as the characters are forced to relive the same moment of time over and over again. Having a time loop plot can be a little frustration for the reader as well. Sitting through the same thing over and over can get a little repetitious. While I understand how a lot of people who have read this book felt that the repeats in time became too rambling and a little boring, but, really, that kind of works for this book because you see how the characters began to suffer mental break downs because things just kept repeating no matter what they did. The characters felt bored, crazed, angry, frustrated, tired, exasperated, etc. They were all getting closer and closer to the end of their ropes the farther on you read. The rambling reputation of behavior and actions felt more realistic to me while also bordering right on the line of being too much.

There were several twists and turns through out the book. I had a lot of fun watching as secrets unraveled and you found out what everyone actually knew. Sometimes you could tell you were getting a misdirect or a red herring, but you still didn’t know what was actually going to happen. The twists and turns were the same sort of WTFOMG moments that the author is known for from her previous books. The big reveal about Jim was actually rather sad and even though none of the main characters were very likeable, I kinda felt bad for them.

The very FINAL part of the book, past the big reveal about Jim, I’m not sure what I actually think about it. Just like in Night Film, you get to the very ending and you fall in to the murky territory of ambiguity. You are presented with multiple choices of what the truth is and you, the reader, have to determine which version is the real one and there is not clear cut answer, it’s all up for debate. I was honestly a little pissed off about that, really… I was hoping for something that had a little bit more finality in it. This ending is my only big complaint about this story. A complaint about the end is never a good thing though, and I’m not sure if I want to give it a 3 or a 4… Neverworld Wake was entertaining and better then a MEH rating (which is what a rating of 3 is for me), but I feel the ending was too….not satisfying… to be a 4. -.-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s