Published by Delacorte Press on May 17th 2016
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For fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart, here is a dreamy love story set in the dark halls of contemporary high school, from New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff.
Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.
Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.
But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.
Places No One Knows is a step out for Brenna Yovanoff. I’ve only read one of her other books (The Space Between, which I loved) but I felt like I got a sense of her writing from that one. Places No One Knows is a completely different story from anything she has done before and anything I have read before.
- Writing: Brenna Yovanoff’s writing is what really grabbed me when I read The Space Between and while Places No One Knows is a completely different story, Brenna’s writing shines through. Her writing is descriptive and can sometimes come across a little heavy but I have always loved that style and think it really worked well with the story here. I can see why Brenna Yovanoff is Maggie Stiefvater’s critique partner because their styles of writing are similar. Even if I had hated the story in Places No One Knows, I would have kept reading for the writing alone.
- Story: The story had it’s strong points and it’s weak points. When I started Places No One Knows, I was looking for a contemporary story set in high school. Places No One Knows fits those criteria but it’s a lot more than that. Waverly doesn’t sleep and in an attempt to get some sleep, she ends up visiting another classmate, without ever having left her room. He’s the only one who can see her and he’s the only one she visits this way. He doesn’t run in her circle at school but she is drawn to him for some reason. They come from very different walks of life but they have more in common than either of them think. Brenna Yovanoff doesn’t spend much time detailing exactly what Waverly does to be able to visit him but that’s okay because that’s not what the book is about. It’s more about what happens when Waverly does spend time with Marshall and how that time together (away from everyone else) brings out the truth of who they are and who they want to be.
- Characters: Pros and cons here, that’s for sure, especially with Waverly. It’s odd because the thing I hated about Waverly also made me really like her. She was very much a high school girl. She let Maribeth put her down all the time, she cared so much about what everyone else thought of her, and she participated in all the cheesy school functions even if she didn’t care about them. It may not be the case for everyone but I could relate to Waverly so much about those aspects. It was almost exactly how I felt in high school. As for Marshall, he was probably my favorite although Autumn gave him a run for his money. I could understand why they were friends. Autumn did what she wanted and didn’t care what anyone thought. She was genuine and she cared deeply for her friends. Marshall was the same way. He had a seriously messed up home life and it showed through in everything he did. He was a slacker and a bit of a nobody and he didn’t mind that until Waverly came into his life. They both made each other stronger and brought out new sides of each other. Waverly was finally willing to just be herself with him and he was willing to want more out of life when he was with her. I loved that about their relationship.
- Waverly: While Waverly did have some pros about her, she also had some very big cons for me. I almost gave up on this one at one point because I did not like Waverly at all. She was so shut off from the world that she was kind of impossible to like or sympathize with. I couldn’t understand her. I didn’t get why she didn’t sleep and I think that impacted how she acted with people. I would have liked a little more background about that. I also would have liked more background about her friendship with Maribeth because it was obvious that she didn’t like Maribeth but she just put up with her, no matter what she said or did.
Overall, Places No One Knows may not be my favorite from Brenna Yovanoff but it’s still a solid addition to her books. I think it really shows that her talent lends itself to any style story that she chooses to write and I look forward to seeing what she does next.
What others are saying about Places No One Knows:
- Wrapped Up In Books’ review: “It’s a complicated and nuanced look at how difficult it can be to inhabit your own skin, especially in high school, and how sometimes, the right person can make it easier to breathe.”
- BookPage’s review: “Few writers delve as intimately into raw emotion as Brenna Yovanoff as she strips her characters of their practiced self-delusions and faulty coping strategies.”
- Read.Breathe.Relax’s review: “Places No One Knows offers an intriguing mystery, romantic tension and incredible writing, and if you don’t mind the inclusion of some tough topics then I would definitely recommend it.”