For fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart, here is a dreamy love story set in the dark halls of contemporary high school, from New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff.
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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I, like many others, read this book because of the rave blurb Maggie Stiefvater wrote for it and its fabulous cover. If you’re reading it for those reasons as well, chances are you won’t like this one.
The first reason why is the writing.
Reading Places No One Knows made me feel like I was going crazy. Half the time, I was trying to figure out what was going on. The other half of the time, I was trying to figure out if what was going on actually made sense. There were many scenes I flipped back to that still don’t mesh well. I’ll go over more of that in the plot.
The author tried to be deep, and when it did work, it was great. When it didn’t work, it was horrible.
The second is the plot.
If you slowed down a Maggie Stiefvater novel, stripped it of its signature humor, and flattened 50% of the plot, then you’d end up with a book like this. There are parts that remind me of Maggie, but the story overall lacks depth and character.
I won’t lie; I loved Waverly. She had her moments where she was hilarious, and she was a really interesting character to read about. Her narration was great, and her dialogue was probably the best part of the story. I made it to the end of Places No One Knows because of Waverly.
The characters in general were nuanced and unique from the cardboard cutouts that most authors stem their characters off of. In that sense, the writing wasn’t bad. The character development was spot-on, and I loved reading about each individual character.
However, very little actually happens throughout this story. The gist is that it’ll talk about Waverly’s life at school for a little bit, and then it’ll go back to dream world. So many events in the story felt completely meaningless. At the end, I searched for what I missed, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
I mean–what is this book even about?
All in all, Places No One Knows was a good look at some very strange characters, but it wasn’t the dream-fueled rollercoaster I expected it to be. I can see fans of We Were Liars liking this one, but for most people, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’m going to try Lucy Keating’s Dreamology soon. Hopefully, that’ll be better. 2.5 stars.