Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff Review!

Started: August 4, 2016

Finished: August 22, 2016

Genre: YA, contemporary, romance, magical realism

Rating: 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

Well, this was definitely a different YA contemporary.

The wonderful Maggie Stiefvater reviewed this novel as: “I can’t tell if this novel is a dream wrapped in razor wire or razor wire wrapped in a dream.”

I have to agree with her.

This book is rough. It’s rough around the edges, but once you got into Waverly’s head, it became even rougher.

This story, at its bare bones, is about a girl who is changing herself to fit into her school. And she’s really, really good at it. Waverly is so good at changing herself, that she doesn’t even realize who the real her is. Marshall Holt is the opposite. He’s not very good at changing himself to fit in, but he also doesn’t really know who he is under the pain that his parents cause him.

It’s a story about two people who don’t know themselves coming together in a place no one knows about where they can find themselves with each other.

This book was absolutely beautiful. I’m a big fan of Brenna Yovanoff’s writing. She’s the author of my favorite short story ever “Scheherazade”, which is right here if you haven’t read it (I highly recommend that you do). This was the first full-length novel I’ve read by her, but I had high expectations because I had heard her speak about this novel at a YA convention that I went to in March. I loved the concept of it, but I only just got around to reading it this month.

The plot was very well-thought out to me, I didn’t really notice any big plot holes that were concerning or any part of the plot that I really didn’t like. The fact that this didn’t read like the YA contemporaries that I’m used to reading was a refreshing change and I loved it.

Even though it doesn’t appear like a dark read, it was very dark at times. Waverly’s inner monologue caused me so much heartbreak, that it was hard to keep reading. The idea that she needed to be someone else to be the best friend to the girl that she essentially created broke my heart. The farther she grew away from Maribeth and the closer she grew to Autumn made me really happy for her, and I began to look at Waverly as my own friend.

I loved that I could see Waverly’s personal growth and strength throughout the novel. She grew from a girl who believed that she couldn’t be who she wanted to be or show any side of her other than the calculating side that built the world she lived in. She knew everything she needed to say and when she needed to say it to get the result that was expected of her. She grew from this to a girl who was willing to be emotionally vulnerable to get what she wanted, and she was willing to admit that she wanted things that were not considered the social norm. For that, I loved her and she is by far my favorite character.

All in all, I really loved this book and I really loved Brenna Yovanoff’s writing. I look forward to reading her other books in the future (probably the near future), and finding more stories that are like dreams wrapped in razor wire (thanks Maggie).

NEXT READ: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

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