3 disco balls
Published: June 5, 2018 by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing
Narrator: Phoebe Strole (whom I just discovered was Penny on Glee)
Length: 8 hours, 46 minutes
Category: Young Adult, Supernatural, Mystery, Thriller
Plot: 2.5 disco balls
Narrator: 4 disco balls
I recently downloaded Penguin Random House’s Volumes app on my iPhone and registered as an audiobook reviewer. I like to listen to at least 1 – 2 audiobooks a month during my short drive to the Path train, and especially while doing laundry. I hate folding laundry but audiobooks somehow make it more doable. But I digress.
My first audiobook through this program was Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, which my friend recently read and recommended. I am not sure if I would have had a different experience with the story had I chose to read it versus listen to it; there was too much going on. I found myself losing interest and it was almost a DNF had I not wanted to figure out what the heck was going on.
I will preface my review with: I typically do not read supernatural and found myself feeling the story was a bit farfetched, but still with a rather interesting concept so I was intrigued. I know I need to make up my mind.
Beatrice Hartley becomes estranged from her four best friends after the mysterious death of her boyfriend, Jim. She retreated and broke off from the group believing they each were holding a secret and knew what happened to Jim, even though the police labeled it a suicide. But, Beatrice has a few secrets of her own.
Beatrice decides to visit the group during a previously planned get together, in which they weren’t expecting her. Things are weird, but she is determined to find out what they know about Jim and that fateful night he disappeared. They attend a concert and drive home in a rainstorm. They wake the next morning – and like Groundhog Day – it’s the day before. A mysterious man appears at their door and tells them they have been in a car accident: all five of them are in limbo, called the Neverworld. Only one gets to survive and the group must vote unanimously on who that person will be. If they can’t reach a consensus – or do not vote – then they are stuck to repeat the same day over and over again (essentially stuck).
What will the group do with the time in the Neverworld? Do they ever reach an agreement? Who deserves to survive: that is the real question.
Interesting concept, right?! I just felt the build-up was rather slow; it was like I was in my own Groundhog Day. Once the pace picked up, there were too many things happening that I lost interest. If not for already reaching the halfway mark and establishing my own theory (that I needed validated), then I would have set this one aside. I may have had a different experience had I read the book versus listen to it. It is easier to disengage and let your mind wander when listening to an audiobook, so don’t give up on this one if you enjoy YA, supernatural tales.
Narrators have an especially hard job, and narrator Phoebe Strole has been one of the best I have listened to in a while. She had an even tone and I didn’t find her different character voices distracting.
Have you read or listened to ‘Neverworld Wake’? Do tell!
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