Neverworld Wake
by Pessl, Marisha

A former in-crowd member returns to her hometown a year after graduating from high school to investigate unsolved questions about her genius boyfriend's shocking death, only to be approached by a mysterious stranger who challenges her circle of friends to make a harsh decision to avoid becoming trapped in time. By the award-winning author of Night Film. Simultaneous and eBook.

Marisha Pessl is the author of Night Film and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize) and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and currently resides in New York City.

There's a lot going on in Pessl's YA debut, but every element has a touch of weird horror that keeps it from going too far off the rails. Bee is estranged from her friends after the mysterious death of her boyfriend, Jim, the year before. The night she attempts an awkward reunion with her old friends, they narrowly escape a terrible car wreck-or do they? When they awake, an eerie man tells them they're doomed to relive the same day until they can come to a consensus about which one of them will survive the crash. Ages of the same day pass, with saintly Bee trying to keep her friends from indulging their basest instincts, until brilliant Martha convinces them that they won't be able to vote on who lives until they get to the bottom of the elephant in the room-Jim's death. Although a few plot elements don't hold together under close scrutiny and the characters border on stock, this novel has ambition to spare, and teens looking for something odd, atmospheric, and twisty will likely be enthralled. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Five close friends—who used to be six until one of them died—are together again a year after their graduation from boarding school. Heading back to the mansion where they're staying following a punk-rock concert in Newport, Rhode Island, they nearly collide with a tow truck and barrel off the road into a ditch, setting up a strange journey into the unknown. A mysterious man who calls himself the Keeper tells Beatrice, Kipling, Whitley, Cannon, and Martha that they are trapped in a Groundhog Day-like existence called Neverworld Wake. They will remain in this limbo until the point when they decide which one of them may return to the world of the living. In her young adult debut, Pessl (Night Film, 2013, etc.) manages to keep her first-person narrative moving forward while her characters are stuck in time. She offers philosophical meditations on the meaning of life and death, although they frequently seem imparted by the author rather than arrived at by Beatrice, the narrator, who, having just finished her freshman year at Emerson College, seems too short on life experiences for the depth of these reflections. Given their ghostly state, the characters (all assumed white) are fully fleshed out, each seeking a way to cope in their Neverland existence. An eloquent and haunting tale, especially for philosophically-minded readers. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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