Nevermore tells the story of Isobel Lanely, a popular blonde cheerleader, who is partnered with super goth, Varen Nethers, for an English project about Edgar Allen Poe. This pairing, which was chosen by the teacher, causes outrage among Isobel's friends. Her quarterback boyfriend, Brad, is so enraged at Varen for daring to be partnered with Isobel against his will that he starts harassing him. And this is where Nevermore lost me, during the very first chapter.
I found the characters and plot to be so completely unbelievable that I could never really get into the story. I never understood what was so scandalous about Isobel and Varen being partners for a class assignment. Why would this cause gossip among Isobel's friends, or cause her boyfriend to go ballistic? It makes absolutely no sense.
Brad is a cartoonish villain. There is no depth to his character. He is a jerk, plain and simple. Isobel is shown to be disgusted by him from the very beginning, which begs the question of why she was with him in the first place. Brad has no redeeming qualities, and Isobel is shown to be a nice girl, who lacks the kind of insecurities that would drive her to date someone like Brad. The fact that he's a football player and she's a cheerleader does not adequately explain their relationship.
The other secondary characters also lack depth and are mainly used as plot devices. Alyssa is your cliché bitchy cheerleader with platinum blonde hair. Her sole purpose in this novel is to be mean to Isobel and side with Brad. Nikki's purpose in the novel is a mystery. She and Alyssa could easily have been combined into one character and it wouldn't have changed anything. Varen's sort-of girlfriend, Lacy, also served no purpose and could easily have been removed altogether.
Gwen is slightly better developed in that she doesn't fit any cliché and occasionally has a backbone, but she is there only as a plot device. Whenever Isobel needs someone to sit with, someone to talk to, or a ride, Gwen shows up. Gwen's life revolves around Isobel and Isobel does nothing but use Gwen. Even in the end when Gwen confronts Isobel about avoiding her, Isobel only reaches out to her because she needs her help with Varen.
Isobel's family doesn't fair much better. Her brother Danny, like Gwen, serves only as a plot device. Her father seems mostly to be another foil for her relationship with Varen. At one point he refuses to let her leave the house to work on the class project with him even though her grade depends on it. He also likes Brad and supports him over his own daughter for some inexplicable reason. Her mother is completely forgettable.
I also found myself unimpressed with either Isobel or Varen. Isobel's actions and decisions are often nonsensical like dating Brad, not telling Varen about Reynolds, and sneaking out to do homework, so I never could see her as a real person. Varen showed promise, but his character wasn't fleshed out enough to be truly compelling to me. I agree with other reviewers that if the novel had been written from his perspective it would have been a much more interesting read.
Another major problem I had with the story was that I did not buy the romance. Isobel is drawn to Varen from the beginning, before she learns that there's more to him than just being a goth, and by the end of the novel, which takes place over the course of a month, she's willing to die for him and risk the lives of her friends and family for him. This was especially unbelievable given that he was a moody jerk towards her for a large chunk of that month. That said, I liked that the love interest didn't follow the typical YA cliché of being super beautiful and talented, and the relationship, while unbelievable, wasn't abusive or controlling.
My feelings about the writing are mixed. While I enjoyed Creagh's writing style in terms of her sentence structure, word choice, and imagery, there was too much description. Very little is left to the reader's imagination and a lot of it was unnecessary. I felt like it ended up bogging down the story. Creagh frequently interrupts action scenes with description, slowing them down, making the story hard to follow at times.
I do give Creagh credit for being original in terms of her mythology. It was very creative to spin a mythology around the life and works of Edgar Allen Poe. Creagh's love for Poe's works is evident in the text, and the novel appears to be well researched, though admittedly I am not the best judge since I am no expert on Poe.
I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book more, but it wasn't my cup of tea. To each their own.