Monday, August 15, 2016

Recently Read: Places No One Knows

Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: Young Adult/ Magical Realism
Publication Date: 2016
Page Count: 384
Rating: 4/5

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On the surface Waverly is perfect. Best friend to the alpha female at school, track star, and wielding an extra-curricular list a mile-long. But at night, she doesn't sleep; she runs. Until one night she runs through her dreams to the house of Marshall the mysterious burn-out. Waverly continues to visit Marshall when she dreams and the two build a relationship, but can they bring their relationship into the day?

I've been on a pretty big magical realism kick lately and when I saw Maggie Stiefvater recommend this one on Goodreads, I immediately requested it from my library. I was really interested in the dream element of this novel, and I thought it was done super well.

This novel's strongest feature is the characters. Waverly is a sociopath. She's a genius, and a robot. She suffers from insomnia and presents a fake version of herself to others all day. Marshall is loveable and troubled. His character isn't as strong as Waverly because she is just so much more interesting than him, but he is fully developed and likeable in the way that burn-out-boys-who-are-having-trouble-at-home always are.

I thought the magical realism element was really well done and blended seamlessly with the contemporary story-line. The dynamic between characters was really interesting and hearing Waverly narrate her high school experience was interesting because of her personality. I thought this novel touched on some really great themes and I really liked how the topic of outgrowing friendships and faking it to fit in was addressed as it wasn't too dramatic. I also liked the the magical realism element was turned into a relatable situation; Waverly and Marshall's connection and relationship exists when they are alone but not when they are with other people. I would have liked to see a few of the side characters explored a bit more, particularly Autumn because she was so interesting to me.  

Also, this book has my new all-time-favorite and most-relatable quote of life:
"I've spent my life wishing gay dead men could be my boyfriend."
(cough, cough Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron, James Dean etc. etc.)

This is the first work of Yovanoff''s I have read, but I am interested to read more as I have heard her other works are quite dark. As always, leave me recommendations for magical realism in the comments as well as which Yovanoff book I should read next!  

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