Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends on it.
On one hand, I felt like the book could have been half as long as it was. I’m a bad person, I admit it: I skipped ahead a chapter at one point. Is that why I was so confused at the end? I truly don’t think so, but I was a reckless reader, so I am probably to blame and forfeit all rights to complain.
On the other hand, I was completely enchanted by Varen. Look, look at the cover. All I could think when I picked up this book was, “Really!?” But, no, really. He was dark and whiny, but he had depth and reason for being that way. It was fascinating to read about this sort of “beauty and the beast” dynamic, in which two people you would never place together end up being great.
Honesty/creepy old lady moment: At age 17, I promised myself I’d someday kiss a boy with a lip ring. As that CLEARLY will never happen now that I am a married to a boy who will roll on the floor laughing when he reads this and never let me live it down, I have to say that element of the story was a nice bonus. Whatever, I’m just being honest.