Ahoy there me mateys! This here be the last book in my Scallywagathon 2019 Challenge. Challenge four was Lost in Space: chosen by someone else. Well the first mate never gets to order me around so I thought it would be fun to
order ask that scallywag to choose the final book for me. He picked this one.
Marisha Pessl is an auto-buy author for the first mate but he was slightly hesitant to pick up this one because it be young adult. When he ended up loving it, he told me that I should read it. I kept picking up other things until this readathon. I visited the maman (hi ma!) for mother’s day which involved quite a bit of driving. The audiobook of this novel kept me well entertained in the car.
This book follows five young adults who were best friends until the sixth member of their group – Jim – committed suicide. Beatrice, his girlfriend, was devastated and also convinced that Jim’s death wasn’t an accident. A year after graduation, she meets up with the old gang determined to find out exactly what happened to Jim. But the night goes wrong when the group is in a car accident. They get stuck in a time loop called the neverworld wake where they relive their last day until they all vote unanimously on the only one who will survive.
The story is told from Beatrice’s perspective. The novel was a little hard to get into at first. The beginning is rather odd up until the young adults enter the neverworld wake. The first mate claims that I previously started the story and gave up before the wake started. Well I am glad I stuck with it this time because the wake and mystery aspects were so interesting. Seriously the ramifications of the wake were both horrifying and fascinating. I can’t really explain much because a) it is fun to read yerself; and b) it is multilayered and lovely. I can see how some crew members might not like this book though because the writing style, pace, and plot are rather unusual.
The book is split into four parts. The first two parts had me thinking it was a five star read. But the third part brought it down a bit. There was a subplot involving Jim’s family that I absolutely could have done without. I thought it muddied the story and was rather lame in execution.
The other problem with the book was how absolutely hateful some of the characters were. I loved Beatrice, Martha, and Kipling. But Cannon and Whitley were horrible. They were teens who terrorized their friends and everyone around them. Why did the adults not do anything? Why was ANYONE friends with them. I know they were rich but so were basically all of the other kids at school. I just couldn’t stand them and they never really took responsibility for their choices and only apologized when they were caught. Insincerely that is. And I did think that Beatrice’s guilt was a bit overdone in comparison. Plus all of these people are so irresponsible in terms of their drinking and drugging problems. Being a high school and college student is not a good excuse. They were all self-destructive and put other people’s lives at risk. Not cool.
But the last part of the book was mostly back to being awesome and so I ended up really liking this read. Seriously how the neverwake evolved and was used was awesome. The audiobook was excellent and I thought Phobe Strole did a wonderful job. I am so glad I finally listened to the first mate. Scallawagathon Challenge Complete! Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.
One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death.
But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.
Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.
Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.
And so begins the Neverworld Wake.
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