Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Info: Delacorte Press, copyright 2016, 384 pages
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.
I've read so many contemporary teen fiction books lately that they've started to merge together in my head a bit. This particular title wasn't even on my radar. Thank goodness for book clubs :)
Waverly is a popular girl with popular friends. But she doesn't really like her life. Marshall is a loner boy with loner friends. And he's not really a fan of his life either. They move in different circles around school until their lives collide in Waverly's dreams (because of a candle and some intense counting apparently). And of course, their lives are never the same.
I can't help but notice my reviews seem a little cynical this year :) Wonder what that's all about. Perhaps we'll explore that another day.
But for today, Places No One Knows was another book I didn't expect to like. I actually didn't like it a whole lot on the outset. I was a little afraid that Yovanoff was going to make a story out of a whole lot of stereotypes - mean girl meets mysterious loner boy and they find love. Awww, how sweet and totally overdone is that? But it quickly became apparent that Waverly and Marshall were much more than their familiar personality traits, and what seemed stereotypical in the beginning began to felt familiar and genuine.
Waverly isn't a mean girl, she's just a girl who's surviving her current situation the only way she knows how - and there's really something to that. Some act out. Some shut down. Some learn how to manipulate the system to their advantage, and that's the game that Waverly learned to play. And it was a game, but in the end she learned that sometimes playing the game distracts you from becoming the person you're meant to be.
So it was in the character development that the story blossomed. Waverly finding herself magically in Marshall's bedroom was the "gimmick", the means to an end, which put these two characters in each other's path. I was invested, and found myself wanting to learn more about each - which we kind of get to do. We get a peek into Marshall's life, but Waverly seemed a little more mysterious to be in the end. Her parents were only briefly mentioned which I found extremely confusing. It reminded me of the manga I'm "encouraged" to read where the young teenage girl is living all alone in a house without an adult supervision.
Despite the confusion, I enjoy Yovanoff's voice and should really attempt to read some more of what she has to offer.