Why hello, bloggoverse! Long time, no see! So sorry for my recent absence from the blog. I’ve been in grad school which meant basically all my time was spent with my family or with my textbooks. I’ve had a tiny break and both my children are in school all day now, so hopefully things will be a little less crazy…I can dream right? So, while I’ve been so busy, I have had some time to read…I couldn’t give up everything, right? So, I’ve got to fill you in on some of the awesome titles I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy. First on the list? Neverwas!
Neverwas…sigh, such a wonderful book. This was one of the few books that actually stole my attention while I was neck-deep in grad school life the last 9 months. That’s saying something because, as Dani and my family will tell you, school pretty much sucked up all my time since January!
Disclaimer: As a review of a second novel in a trilogy, there is a high likelihood that spoilers from the first book may be included in this review. Be warned. To find my review of Amber House, the first book in this series click here.
The biggest thing that grabbed me about this novel was the absolutely unexpectedness of the plot. If you remember, Amber House ends with Sarah and Jackson changing a pretty significant event in their family history, and from the looks of things in the final pages, this makes their world a better place. However, very quickly into the Neverwas, we find out that while Sarah’s family is still intact and, overall, much happier, Jackson’s life is much harder. Not only did the two of them rewrite their families histories, but all of American history as well. In fact the world in general looks quite different. Let’s just say, the fact that Jackson is a young, African-American man in southern Maryland is a lot more tricky than it should be in our present history. Even Sarah is treated differently because of her gender. The interesting thing about Amber House is that the house remembers how things “ought to be.” It almost has a will of its own and leads Sarah and Jackson to the truth behind the events of their histories and how changing them is vital to getting to their “Otherwhen.”
Beyond the absolutely compelling plot, the characters of this series steal the show. I love Sarah and Jackson, but I also love their families. I love Sammy and Sarah’s mom and Dad. I even liked Richard more in this alternate history. The imagery was gorgeous. Everything moved seamlessly through flashbacks and vibrant descriptions of people and places in a history of the United States that never actually existed. These descriptions are so well done that you can almost see how, with a few vital alterations, the world really could have ended up as it’s described.
Also essential to understanding this series is the idea that our pasts make us who we are. Being given the power to change the events of our history can have incredibly disastrous consequences for ourselves and others. I loved that the authors dealt with this honestly and lead us down the difficult path that comes from this type of power. I also love the fact that the authors don’t shy away from an interracial relationship. It’s beautiful and perfect for this story, and it just works so wonderfully. It’s not often done in YA, and I’m not sure why.
Overall, Neverwas was surprising, exquisite, and absolutely inspiring in its beauty, imagery, and complexity. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you definitely should. It’s gorgeous!