I’m ticking another book off my summer reading list with Marisha Pessl’s Neverworld Wake.
Yes, I took an embarrassingly long amount of time to finish Marisha Pessl’s Neverworld Wake – but I absolutely did it on purpose.
Ever since I turned the final page of Night Film in 2014, I’ve been absolutely dying for Pessl to release another thriller. Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film both were such engrossing reads that I felt like I literally was stepping into another world. Add to that Marisha Pessl’s unfaltering ability to deliver the best metaphors out there and present a story in a way you’ve never seen before, I knew whatever she had cooking up her sleeves for her third book would be 100% enjoyable.
Summer Reading: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Assuming you’ve not heard of her before, Marisha Pessl is a best-selling author whose thrillers have caught the attention of readers (and critics) everywhere. Night Film is a book I instantly recommend to anyone looking for a something good to read and the wait for her next work has been LONG.
Interestingly enough, Marisha Pessl went in a bit of a different direction with her third book – with Neverworld Wake taking a stab at the young adult fiction genre. Like her adult fiction reads, though, it creates a thick atmosphere you feel you’re actually living and takes into question the psychology of the human condition. Pessl definitely has an interest in human behavior and writes books in a way that mess with your hand in the most brilliant of ways.
While I really think Neverworld Wake is best read without knowing too much about you’re heading into, allow me to share a very BRIEF synopsis.
Neverworld Wake Synopsis
Upon finishing her freshman year of college, Beatrice Hartley finds herself spending her summer break working at her parent’s Rhode Island restaurant and ignoring her five best friends. It’s been a year since she’s seen them, but after the unexpected and shocking death of her high school boyfriend Jim, she’s trying to move forward.
But when invited by her former friends to return to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they bonded, shared secrets and hoped for the future – Beatrice couldn’t ignore the call and found herself driving up the coast to see them. With so many questions about his death still lingering on her mind, she simply couldn’t help but want to get to the bottom of it all.
It’s at Wincroft where the story of Neverworld Wake unfolds. There, both Beatrice and her friends are forced to make difficult decisions and face dark consequences. Will they ever learn the truth about Jim’s death?
The Scoop – Without Spoilers
Like all of Marisha Pessl’s books, Neverworld Wake takes you on a journey and it simply wouldn’t be as much fun if I clued you in on what to expect along the way.
That said, I can tell you that the book features a really fascinated group of characters and challenges them in a way I have not seen before. Neverworld Wake has an incredibly immersive atmosphere. Stepping into the world of Wincroft, you’ll witness a cast of characters fight against reality and explore the truth behind their friend Jim’s unexpected death.
Sadly, at just over 300 pages, Neverworld Wake is significantly shorter than Pessl’s previous reads. This creates the ultimate challenge for the reader:
- Do you forge on and finish the book as quickly as you possibly can because you just NEED TO KNOW
- Or, do you try to savor the experience of Neverworld Wake as long as you can?
I of course chose the later and stretched the reading experience out as looooong as possible. But, it’s no doubt also the type of read you can easily fly through in one day. (Or even one sitting, tbh.)
The storyline is both haunting and thought provoking. Expertly building suspense, Pessl leads you down a path with no clear indication of where she’s taking you. But when you get where you’re going, I promise in the end it’s well worth it.
YA v. Adult Storylines
Since this is Marisha Pessl’s first stab at young adult fiction, I was curious if the book would have the same depth of her previous works Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film.
Fortunately, while the book is significantly shorter and does follow younger characters, she by no means dumbs down her audience.
If you’re a fan of Pessl’s writing, I honestly feel you’ll enjoy Neverworld Wake every bit as much as her longer novels. Despite being labeled “YA”, the subject matter is actually quite adult and introduced a concept I don’t think anyone has explored before.
It’s interesting to me that all of Marisha Pessl’s books are dubbed ‘thrillers’, because for me Night Film was the only one delivered with a level of intensity so high that I felt I was on the brink of a panic attack. (Good times, truly!)
In Neverworld Wake and STCP, however, Pessl focuses heavily on the atmosphere surrounding her characters and you’ll find the suspense of the novel will creep up on you more and more as you work your way through the story.
The Perfect Summer Read
I honestly think all of Marisha Pessl’s books are great for the summer months, but given that Neverworld Wake itself is set in the summer months it’s more than qualified to be your next read. No matter what time of year you get to read it, though, I think you’ll agree it’s a straight up fun book to indulge yourself in.
If you do give it a read, be sure to let me know what you think about it! Neverworld Wake definitely raises a lot of discussion points and questions and I’m interested to hear what you think.
Book Suggestions, Please!
Also, PLEASE let me know of any other reads you’ve been enjoying lately!
Now that the long wait for Marisha Pessl’s next book sets in, I’m going to be in need of a lot of great titles to help me pass the time.
(*Fingers crossed* it doesn’t take four years before her next release.)
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Marisha Pessl’s Previous Adult Thrillers
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