karen's Reviews > Neverworld Wake

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
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liked it
bookshelves: why-yes-i-ya, thanks-for-prezzies

hm. yeah, i think i am going to stick with a flat three on this one. it’s a shame, because i was looking forward to this with hearts in my eyes and a quiver in my loins and i even got a sweet signed copy, but while it is a thoroughly enjoyable, medium book, it stays right there in the middle.

in the positive column, pessl makes the transition to YA very well - this is perfectly suited for its audience and the pacing, the themes, the characters, the nonlinear structural juggernaut are all comparable to other YA fiction, reminiscent of One of Us Is Lying, Before I Fall, We Were Liars, etc. and if the characters sometimes speak beyond their years in some utterly romanticized casual bravado vision of young adulthood, saying things like “You have to design your life like it’s a fresh America” &etc, that's so common in YA lit that it doesn’t feel out of place at all - it’s just part of the territory. there’s definitely crossover appeal here - teens will enjoy it, adults who already read YA will enjoy it, but it’s not going to be the book that opens the door to YA for an exclusively adult-fiction reader, despite the author’s success in that market.

because like each of those books mentioned above, the journey to the mystery is ultimately better than its resolution, and the reveal is pretty straightforward, considering the afterlife limbo/time travel/groundhog day chowder of the bulk of it. there was a moment about 2/3 of the way through when i stopped and squinted at the book and said, “holy shit, did i just figure this out?,” getting this huge brain boner over what i thought was about to become a conceptual masterpiece of a twist on the same level (but different ballpark) of More Than This, but it went a different way and ended up being perfectly satisfying, but not a game-changer that would ruin the next five books by comparison.

but back in the positive column: she controls the story very well, doling out the dripping-clue backstory and “do you know what’s happening?” glee very sparingly, which makes this a real suspenseful page-turner, it's just not the kind you finish and want to start over from the beginning.

a fast and fun leisure read, but pack two more in your suitcase. (LGM)


probably a 3.5 - lemme think on it...

review TK.


why did no one tell me this took place in rhode island???? they have already mentioned del's lemonade!!! my HEART!





come to my blog!
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Reading Progress

April 26, 2017 – Shelved
July 16, 2018 – Started Reading
July 17, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)

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message 1: by El (new) - added it

El Ohhhh, yeah. \m/

karen i mean, a pub date, even a tentative one, would be nice, but still - i am excited!

message 3: by Miranda (new) - added it

Miranda :o New Marisha Pessl!?!? Squeee!!!

message 4: by Kyle (new) - added it

Kyle I've been waiting years for a moment like this!!!!

message 5: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie I saw on instagram that she's writing a YA novel? I wonder if this is it.

karen intriguing!


message 8: by August (new)

August this book has to be good

message 9: by Yasmine (new)

Yasmine I like your book

Daniel Bostelmann I would too!!

message 11: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth did you see that they updated the description, Karen? I can't wait!!

karen Beth wrote: "did you see that they updated the description, Karen? I can't wait!!"

i hadn't, so THANK YOU! and now i am even more intrigued and greedy for it.

unknown this one would fit on your secret history shelf.

karen that shelf needs a new friend

message 15: by r.b. (new) - rated it 3 stars

r.b. I'm waitin' for your review, child!

karen i don't even own it yet! but i NEED IT

message 17: by r.b. (new) - rated it 3 stars

r.b. Yes, child! you need to read it, child! I have opinions, child! (mostly good)

message 18: by El (new) - added it

El I just saw a copy in Ireland BUT DIDN'T BUY IT. Now that I am home, I hate myself.

karen we will both get it (and not hate ourselves). and then we will learn all about rb's opinions!

message 20: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Spoer have you read it yet? lol

karen i haven't read anything yet. i've been so busy this month trying to get blog going and find a job and stuff i think i've only read two books? i don't even know if i remember how to read....

message 22: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Spoer I feel ya. I have read like 10 books this year. ):

message 23: by Jesse marienau (new)

Jesse marienau I like what you said about the book

message 24: by Cathie (new)

Cathie This takes place in RI. :)


message 26: by Cathie (new)

Cathie Any time! Good intel to be aware of!

Damarionvinskydestra I like some of these books

message 28: by Fitz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Fitz I didn't even know she had a new book out, but now I'm excited, too!

Luis Fernando ramirez Ser una de

Luis Fernando ramirez 💑💄🔰👓👒💼👝🎓Boy no de g

Tucker You got a signed copy? Lucky. I loved this. like 5 star loved it. i bguess we will have to agree to disagree :4

message 32: by Courtney (new)

Courtney I can’t be the only one who’s curious about the ‘brain-boner’ solution/ending you thought you’d figured out 2/3 of the way through? You should tell me because it’s likely better than the ‘real’ ending!

Michelle Agreed with the above commenter! What's your twist?

karen ugh, i should have responded to this question earlier (and i appreciate the second request to remind me that this had been asked when i was too busy to reply - duhhh) because now i forget all the reasons i had for my boner, but in brief - i was thinking that jim died and all of this was some sort of fugue state in which beatrice was fragmenting into different personalities which were manifestations of the five stages of grief. and that girl (whose name i forget now) who was having all those tantrums was anger, and her boyfriend who ran into the woods was denial &etc etc. and beatrice was finally going to be .... acceptance.

depression and bargaining were distributed amongst the other two for reasons that escape me. sorry. if i'd have liked this book more, the details would have stuck with me better. alas...

Leslie Cardix Your twist would have been so much better!

karen there's some holes in it, for sure. but someone smarter than me could have pulled it off i think

message 37: by Paula (new)

Paula Kalin Terrific review, Karen!

karen thank you!!

message 39: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Anderson Darn... why did I even think I was going to be blown away by a teen book? Also, yes the unrealistically adult-sounding speech of teenage characters is standard in teen books, but I've gotten tired of it, I want to see books about/for this age group that don't keep following the same formula. Thanks for helping me decide not to read this!

karen i have been blown away by YA before, but this time - nyope.

message 41: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Anderson Would you mind sharing the teen-level books that did blow your mind?

message 43: by munashe matsuro (new)

munashe matsuro karen please may i ask you a question a sister of mine has to download this book for cie cambridge maths but she has searched for it and she hasnt even found and she needs it urgently so if you find how to download it please may you contact me on this same goodreads account or you could contact my sister on e-mail at panashematsuro@gmail.com please tell that its someone from goodreads she would be so great full if you could help .her thank you:)

karen for... maths? yeah, i don't know how to do the whole downloading thing. libraries are good for finding books.

message 45: by Ben (new) - added it

Ben Just finished this book and I love your idea for the twist. I was ultimately satisfied with the ending - particularly the way she subverted expectations for what Martha was up to - but I thought the twist was going to be that Bee’s involvement in the murder was much more sinister/intentional.

Also, I think you could make an argument that, even with the more realistic ending, each of the five are meant to represent one of the five stages of grief. Cannon as denial, Wit as anger, Martha as bargaining (the way she tries to manipulate the system), Kip as depression, and Bee as acceptance. It totally works.

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