Places No One Knows
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA, Magic Realism, Romance
Pub Date: May 17, 2016
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.
I first saw this book on Maggie Stiefvater’s tumblr. The author is Steifvater’s critique partner, so I was desperate to try this book because if Maggie likes it, I should definitely pay attention to it. I devoured it in a couple of hours on a car ride and was left emotionally drained by the end of it.
I was intrigued from the get go with the premise. A girl dreams herself into a boys room? Yeah, I can definitely get on board with that. I loved the descriptive prose and the “dream” chapters. This book always kept me on my feet and just when I thought I knew what would happen, the plot swerved in a different direction. It was infuriating, but great storytelling.
This kind of premised relied heavily on the characters, and man, were they amazing. Waverly isn’t a typical protagonist–she’s what most would call an unlikable female character–BUT LUCKY FOR HER, I AM THE HEAD OF THE DEFENDERS OF UNLIKABLE FEMALE CHARACTERS! She was flawed, but I still loved her. I have never met another YA character quite like her. And Marshall was just as unique and flawed as she was. Both of them had distinct voices that meshed together well and created this dark, romantic atmosphere that I absolutely loved. They’re going down in history as some of my favorite fictional leads.
Holy shit, I was so invested in their romance. It was one of the worst slow burns I’ve ever read (in the best way, of course). It’s up there with The Winner’s Crime sort of angst and slow burn, and if you’ve read that book, you’ll have an idea of how painful this book is. But when they did get together–whoa, I loved it. I was rooting for them the entire time, constantly going through highs and lows with the characters. When I closed the book, I felt emotionally drained because the book took so much out of me.
Honestly, I don’t know how much more I can rave about this book. It was glorious and I loved it more than words can explain.
Overall, I loved Places No One Knows. The writing was gorgeous, the characters were unique and flawed, and the romance was one of the best I’ve ever read. I’m so glad I took a chance on this book because it has found a place on my favorite books of all time shelf. Basically, this review boils down to four words: READ THIS DAMN BOOK.