When I learned that another Louisville YA author had a debut book being released this year, I googled the name Kelly Creagh. Her upcoming book was titled Nevermore. The premise intrigued me: a paranormal teen romance that derived its creepy chills from the master of creepy chills—Edgar Allen Poe. I thought: what an awesome idea. I’ve always been a huge fan of Poe.
Still, I wasn’t entirely won over by the blurb. This is how goodreads starts off:
All right. So it sounds like— take a popular cheerleader add a romantic "dark" male hero and stir in some ghosts or something. Could Creagh take the promise of Poe-type horror and deliver in a teen romance?
I had to find out. And I’m thrilled to say the answer is yes.
Despite the stereotypical-seeming set up: pretty cheerleader-obnoxious football player-troubled goth boy triangle, the characters don’t come across as stereotypes. Isobel is a witty, strong, well-rounded character. She is considerate of others. She even continues to care about her obnoxious football player boyfriend after he proves himself a jerk who deserves to be dumped. (Not in a powerless I-can’t-get-over-the-jerk way, but in an empowered completely-over-him-but-he’s-still-a-human-being way.) Isobel comes across as real and as likeable. As does Varen. He’s aloof and sardonic, yes. But he’s also funny and earnest. And, he is also troubled. Beyond troubled. The difficulty arises because he wants Isobel in his world but knows he has to keep her out of it.
Isobel and Varen work together on an English report on Edgar Allen Poe. Varen is a bit obsessed with Poe. Isobel is gradually pulled into Varen’s sphere and learns things about him that are...unsettling. Nightmarish. Like something out of Poe.
Creagh made this work for me because of the way she made it work for Isobel. She didn’t plunk Isobel down into the midst of insanity that Isobel just accepts. Her very real, concrete world was taken over little by little. The line between the real world and this other world blurred until it disappeared. It was very creepy. Very Poe-like. And I am now a very big Kelly Creagh fan.
Check back tomorrow for my very first giveaway – a copy of Nevermore in celebration of Halloween!