Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

June 6, 2018
Neverworld Wake, Marisha Pessl, InToriLex, Book Review
Published By: Delacorte Press on June 5, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (324 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Mystery/ Sci-fi
Series: Standalone
Source: Won Publisher Giveaway
Neverworld Wake
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend—changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers... and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.


Content Warning: Suicide, Murder, Mental Illness, Drug Use


This book pulled me out of my reading slump because I had such a good time with this book. Beatrice/ Bee sets out to find answers from her ex-group of friends about her boyfriend Jim , who died suddenly. After a night out they find out they are stuck in time by a mysterious man. While stuck in time the mystery of what happened to Jim begins to unravel while secrets the friends have held close are slowly revealed. The group of friends Bee, Martha, Kipling and Cannon were very well developed. I was nervous while reading that this group of white privileged teens would not be relateable, but I slowly became more invested as I learned about their lives.
"Friendship, when it runs deep , blinds you to the outside world. It's your exclusive country with sealed borders, unfair distribution of green cards, rich culture no foreigner could understand."
Science fiction and fantasy elements added danger and tension to the what happens to the group of friends as they are stuck in time. It allowed the characters to engage in action and settings that kept the story interesting and going at a fast pace. The mystery takes twists and turns I was not expecting.  I was anxiously turning the pages and waiting to see what would happen next. The drug use, narcissism and bad young adult decisions were portrayed realistically and made me nostalgic about my high school experience. While you suspend your belief for some elements of the story, the suspense and nice pacing of the book never let up.
"You are more magical then you know. Take your advice from the elderly and children. None of it as crucial as you think , but that makes it no less vital. Our lives go on. And on. Look for the breadcrumbs."
The only issues I had with the book had to do with the ending. While the story had unique elements I was disappointed with the direction the author decided to take. This was a solid thriller with great writing so I'm definitely going to check out this author's other books.

Recommended for Readers Who
- enjoy page turning thrillers
- love books that make you think
- enjoy great writing and surprising twists


 Marisha Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Night Film, comes out August 20, 2013.

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