Places No One Knows

PNOK Final Cover 101515.inddFirst Lines: There’s something awful about the sun.  It rockets up from the horizon like a hot-air balloon.  One minute, you’re looking at the shy, glowing sliver of it.  The next, it’s glaring down at you like the wrath of God.

This was one of the books I’d recently picked up when I nearly cleaned out my library of their new books.  (What else are you supposed to do when they have like, 7 of the new books you wanted to read?)  And after reading a few romances, this seemed like a good change.

I’m going to copy this from Goodreads because I’m short on time today: Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.

Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.

But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.

This book is a little weird, but I mean that in a good way.  It’s the kind of book where  it’s nearly all realistic fiction except for this one thing.  And that one thing is Waverly being able to dream and almost transport herself to wherever Marshall is.

Really, I liked the plot.  It was different and interesting, even if the reason for the slightly paranormal dream-traveling isn’t actually explained.  I liked the way we got to know each of the characters because they start out as stereotypes, but we then see that’s not who they are, not really.

I will admit that the beginning was really slow for me.  It took what felt like ages to hook me.  But once it did, I was with the story.  It just took until Waverly actually started dreaming.

I definitely liked Marshall as a character.  A general flunky and stoner on the outside, Marshall is actually quite compassionate and sweet.  He just has to deal with a lot in his life, and that helped explain why he was the way he was.  I liked that.

It’s not that I didn’t like Waverly, but her and her friends are Grade-A Queen Bees (where the “bees” actually stands for something else.  You know what I mean).  These girls would’ve put Regina George to shame.  Her best friend, Maribeth, is planning world domination one club at a time.  And Waverly is constantly described as being robotic and emotionless, probably a side effect of her insomnia.  But part of it is also this mask she chooses to wear in public and it’s really weird.  I mean, I understand why someone who is practically a perfectionist in school would want to mask anything that makes them seem less than perfect, but she’s so stoic.  (In her acknowledgements at the end, Yovanoff mentions that one of her friends thought Waverly was a psychopath.)

My favorite character is a little weirdo named Autumn.  Now she was charming.

There were some really good themes in this book as well, and that’s really what won me over.  For every time Waverly and her friends would do something that feels a bit immoral and wicked, Waverly would turn around and do something that fed into the theme and I’d be right back in the story.  I like when books have good themes about life and relationships.

So maybe it wasn’t what I’d been expecting, but it was still a fun read.

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