Places No One Knows – Brenna Yovanoff

A wise woman (Emily Hainsworth, apparently) once said, “So, is Waverly actually a sociopath? I mean, it would be fine if she was. But is she?” I think that’s intriguing enough to tell you that this love story is tragic and beautiful and unlike anything else you’ve ever read before.

Synopsis

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.

Review

A wise woman (Emily Hainsworth, apparently) once said, “So, is Waverly actually a sociopath? I mean, it would be fine if she was. But is she?” I think that’s enough to tell you that this love story is tragic and beautiful and unlike anything else you’ve ever read before.

This story is surreal. I’m not usually a fan of magical realism, but in this case, you just have to reach a little bit to suspend your disbelief. I usually feel like elements of magical realism are a cop-out to spice up an otherwise boring story. In this case, it augments the dreamy zeitgeist of the story; the sense that everything is very slowly spiralling out of control and drifting from everyone’s grasp on reality. Things could have gone horribly wrong (Inception, anyone?), but instead it was the story we craved. The finite nature of the candle was a nice touch.

We all know a Maribeth, and it’s truly a work-of-art to see how a beta ends up as the marionette behind the scenes. I want to be her understudy in strategy. I want her to write The Art of War for modern youth. Waverly’s penchant for tarantulas and gore were just an added bonus. I ended up feeling sorry for the Kendrys of the world, and Waverly didn’t even do anything to her.

As for Marshall Holt: this is the mysterious loner dude we’ve been waiting for. He is too, too good for his lumbering body. I am so glad that someone like Autumn exists, because he doesn’t deserve the cards he’s been dealt in life. I am satisfied with early-morning conversations over the TV. I appreciate considerate friends who stand up for you and… save you. And for love that makes you better.

This book strikes that perfect balance between agonizing and perfection. And yes, I cried.

Related Reading

  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver
  • Sweethearts – Sara Zarr
  • 99 Days – Katie Cotugno
  • Winning – Lara DeLoza (if you want to read from Meribeth’s perspective)

Rating: 5/5 

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