Post by Laura Laidman
What if you had the chance to pause time, to redo a day until you get it just right? A day to undo the mistakes of the past? That’s just what Beatrice Hartley and her friends get to do in Marisha Pessl’s Neverworld Wake. It is in this Neverword that they quickly realize that reliving the past is not a gift, but a curse.
A year ago, Beatrice’s boyfriend Jim, the driving creative force of her friend group, died under mysterious circumstances. Though deemed a suicide by the local police, not one of them believed it. Now, Beatrice returns to her hometown to find out just what her friends know, and what they’re hiding from her. It is in the fabulous, isolated manner belonging to her former best friend Whitley that a mysterious figure joins them and explains that time has become stuck in a loop. A loop that can only be broken if they make a cruel and painful choice.
Neverworld Wake starts out as five young adults dealing with reliving the same day over and over and how it affects their relationships with one another and their own psyches. As the story progresses, it takes surprising twists and turns that I never saw coming. Neverworld Wake isn’t just a YA version Groundhog Day. As the plot races forward, the narrative jumps the expected tracks into something so much bigger, and so much better. I never knew what to expect with every passing minute of the narration and the final revelations left me reeling for days.
Told from Beatrice’s perspective, the wonderful Phoebe Strole captures exactly the personality of ‘Sister Bee’ as her friends have always teased her. Sweet, slightly naive, and yet tirelessly working for the friends, her performance perfectly exudes the Beatrice that I pictured as I listened along.
Neverworld Wake is a perfect mix of sci-fi, mystery, and personal drama that I’ve come to expect from Marisha Pessl. While listening to the audiobook, I found myself picturing Neverworld Wake as the next big Netflix hit. With it’s creative blend of Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why, all while telling its own unique, intriguing story, it wouldn’t surprise me if an adaptation was announced in the future.
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