Neverworld Wake

Neverworld Wake

by Marisha Pessl


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Five friends. Only one can survive the Neverworld Wake. Who would you choose?

From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film comes an absorbing psychological suspense thriller in which fears are physical and memories come alive.

"A thriller that will grip readers from the start." --Hypable

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim--their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend--changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft--the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world--hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim's death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she's never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers . . . and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

"Beautifully creepy. . . . A mystery within a mystery." --The New York Times

"A truly eerie reading experience." --Nylon

"The first must-read of beach season." --Town & Country

"A dark and twisty tale brimming with psychological suspense." --Bustle

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399553929
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 97,354
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Marisha Pessl is the author of Night Film and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize) and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and currently resides in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

I hadn’t spoken to Whitley Lansing--or any of them--in over a year.

When her text arrived after my last final, it felt inevitable, like a comet tearing through the night sky, hinting of fate.


Too long. WTF. #notcool. Sorry. My Tourette’s again. How was your freshman year? Amazing? Awful?

Seriously. We miss you.

Breaking the silence bc the gang is heading to Wincroft for my bday. The Linda will be in Mallorca & ESS Burt is getting married in St. Bart’s for the 3rd time. (Vegan yogi.) So it’s ours for the weekend. Like yesteryear.

Can you come? What do you say Bumblebee?

Carpe noctem.

Seize the night.

She was the only girl I knew who surveyed everybody like a leather-clad Dior model and rattled off Latin like it was her native language.

“How was your exam?” my mom asked when she picked me up.

“I confused Socrates with Plato and ran out of time during the essay,” I said, pulling on my seat belt.

“I’m sure you did great.” She smiled, a careful look. “Anything else we need to do?”

I shook my head.

My dad and I had already cleared out my dorm room. I’d returned my textbooks to the student union to get the 30 percent off for next year. My roommate had been a girl from New Haven named Casey who’d gone home to see her boyfriend every weekend. I’d barely seen her since orientation.

The end of my freshman year at Emerson College had just come and gone with the indifferent silence usually reserved for a going-out-of-business sale at a mini-mall.

“Something dark’s a-brewin’,” Jim would have told me.

I had no plans all summer, except to work alongside my parents at the Captain’s Crow.

The Captain’s Crow--the Crow, it’s called by locals--is the seaside cafe and ice cream parlor my family owns in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, the tiny coastal village where I grew up.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Population: You Know Everyone.

My great-grandfather Burn Hartley opened the parlor in 1885, when Watch Hill was little more than a craggy hamlet where whaling captains came to shake off their sea legs and hold their children for the first time before taking off again for the Atlantic’s Great Unknowns. Burn’s framed pencil portrait hangs over the entrance, revealing him to have the mad glare of some dead genius writer, or a world explorer who never came home from the Arctic. The truth is, though, he could barely read, preferred familiar faces to strange ones and dry land to the sea. All he ever did was run our little dockside restaurant his whole life, and perfect the recipe for the best clam chowder in the world.

All summer I scooped ice cream for tan teenagers in flip-flops and pastel sweaters. They came and went in big skittish groups like schools of fish. I made cheeseburgers and tuna melts, coleslaw and milk shakes. I swept away sand dusting the black-and-white-checkered floor. I threw out napkins, ketchup packets, salt packets, over‑21 wristbands, Del’s Frozen Lemonade cups, deep-sea fishing party boat brochures. I put lost cell phones beside the register so they could be easily found when the panic-stricken owners came barging inside: “I lost my . . . Oh . . . thank you, you’re the best!” I cleaned up the torn blue tickets from the 1893 saltwater carousel, located just a few doors down by the beach, which featured faded faceless mermaids to ride, not horses. Watch Hill’s greatest claim to fame was that Eleanor Roosevelt had been photographed riding a redhead with a turquoise tail sidesaddle. (It was a town joke how put out she looked in the shot, how uncomfortable and buried alive under her plate-tectonic layers of ruffled skirt.)

I cleaned the barbecue sauce off the garbage cans, the melted Wreck Rummage off the tables (Wreck Rummage was every kid’s favorite ice cream flavor, a mash‑up of cookie dough, walnuts, cake batter, and dark chocolate nuggets). I Cloroxed and Fantasticked and Mr. Cleaned the windows and counters and doorknobs. I dusted the brine off the mussels and the clams, polishing every one like a gemstone dealer obsessively inspecting emeralds. Most days I rose at five and went with my dad to pick out the day’s seafood when the fishing boats came in, inspecting crab legs and fluke, oysters and bass, running my hands over their tapping legs and claws, barnacles and iridescent bellies. I composed song lyrics for a soundtrack to a made‑up movie called Lola Anderson’s Highway Robbery, drawing words, rhymes, faces, and hands on napkins and take-out menus, tossing them in the trash before anyone saw them. I attended grief support group for adolescents at the North Stonington Community Center. There was only one other kid in attendance, a silent boy named Turks whose dad had died from ALS. After two meetings he never returned, leaving me alone with the counselor, a jittery woman named Deb who wore pantsuits and wielded a three-inch-thick book called Grief Management for Young People.

“ ‘The purpose of this exercise is to construct a positive meaning around the lost relationship,’ ” she read from chapter seven, handing me a Goodbye Letter worksheet. “ ‘On this page, write a note to your lost loved one, detailing fond memories, hopes, and any final questions.’ ”

Slapping a chewed pen that read tabeego island resorts on my desk, she left. I could hear her on the phone out in the hall, arguing with someone named Barry, asking him why he didn’t come home last night.

I drew a screeching hawk on the Goodbye Letter, with lyrics to a made‑up Japanese animated film about a forgotten thought called Lost in a Head.

Then I slipped out the fire exit and never went back.

I taught Sleepy Sam (giant yawn of a teenager from England visiting his American dad) how to make clam cakes and the perfect grilled cheese. Grill on medium, butter, four minutes a side, six slices of Vermont sharp cheddar, two of fontina. For July Fourth, he invited me to a party at a friend of a friend’s. To his shock, I actually showed. I stood by a floor lamp with a warm beer, listening to talk about guitar lessons and Zach Galifianakis, trying to find the right moment to escape.

“That, by the way, is Bee,” said Sleepy Sam. “She does actually speak, I swear.”

I didn’t mention Whitley’s text to anyone, though it was always in the back of my mind.

It was the brand-new way-too-extravagant dress I’d bought but never taken out of the bag. I just left it there in the back of my closet, folded in tissue paper with the receipt, the tags still on, with intention of returning it.

Yet there was still the remote possibility I’d find the courage to put it on.

I knew the weekend of her birthday like I knew my own: August 30.

It was a Friday. The big event of the day had been the appearance of a stray dog wandering Main Street. It had no tags and the haunted look of a prisoner of war. He was gray, shaggy, and startled with every attempt to pet him. A honk sent him skidding into the garbage cans behind the Captain’s Crow.

“See that yellow salt-bed mud on his back paws? That’s from the west side of Nickybogg Creek,” announced Officer Locke, thrilled to have a mystery on his hands, his first of the year.

That stray dog had been the talk all that day--what to do with him, where he’d been--and it was only much later that I found my mind going back to that dog drifting into town out of the blue. I wondered if he was some kind of sign, a warning that something terrible was coming, that I should not take the much-exalted and mysterious Road Less Traveled, but the one well trod, wide-open, and brightly lit, the road I knew.

By then it was too late. The sun had set. Sleepy Sam was gone. I’d overturned the cafe chairs and put them on the tables. I’d hauled out the trash. And anyway, that flew in the face of human nature. No one ever heeded a warning sign when it came.


Excerpted from "Neverworld Wake"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Marisha Pessl.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Neverworld Wake 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uuu hi yb
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Well...……….this story was a little hard to follow at times but it was still good. A little confusing about the wakes but I kinda caught on after a while.
ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
“Our friendship was born there…. You could feel life burning us, our scars as real as the wind whipping our faces. We knew that nothing would ever be the same, that youth was here and nearly gone already, that love was gradile and death was real.” So I guess I read mysteries now? Mysteries, as a genre, aren’t something I normally reach for. Though I do love the inclusion of mysteries in other genres. So I guess it’s no surprise I loved this mystery story with a science fiction fusion. Neverworld Wake explores the struggles of friendships, life, and the ever looming “what if”. Things I Liked This is obviously a mystery story, but it’s heart is about friendship which I LOVED. I’m always here for friendship stories and Neverworld Wake weaves a delicate and realistic story about friendships, secrets, and personal connection. I also really loved seeing how the friendship had changed after the tragic loss of Jim the year before and there’s these new dynamics and a bit of uncertainty. I loved the setting of the Neverworld and experiencing the wakes with the different outcomes. It hooked me immediately and never felt repetitive, despite reliving the same day countless times. I liked seeing what each person brought to the Neverworld and how they shaped their new reality. And I thought the time travel theory, adapted from Martha’s favorite book, The Bend, was unique and fascinating. There was a recklessness and abandonment to the story that was perfect. I think the time repetition really allowed the characters to explore themselves in every possible way and try to rectify who they are and what they’ve done. It was both freeing and maddening. The writing was stunning and there were so many incredible quotes “Friendship, when it runs deep, blinds you to the outside world.” “This phenomenon is not specific to you. There are such moments occurring simultaneously in the past, present, and future all around the world across the universe, known and unknown, crumpled and unfolded. Time does not travel in a straight line. It bends and barrels across tunnels and bridges. It speeds up. Slows down. It even derails.” “...I saw very little as it truly was… We swear we see each other, but all we are ever able to make out is the tiny porthole view of an ocean. We think we remember the past as it was, but our memories are as fantastic and flimsy as dreams. It’s so easy to hate the pretty one, worship the genius, love the rock star, trust the good girl. That’s never their only story. We are all anthologies. We are each thousands of pages long, filled with fairy tales and poetry, mysteries and tragedy, forgotten stories in the back no one will even read.” Things I Didn’t Like There’s honestly not much, but I did think the ending was a little lackluster. I really liked the revel surrounding Jim’s death, but the conclusion of the Neverworld was exactly what I expected, which isn’t ideal in a mystery. Despite some tiny squabbles with the ending, I still loved this story - complex characters, dimensional relationships, unanswered questions - And I will definitely be reading more from Marisha Pessl in the future. Neverworld Wake is a YA debut that is defnitely worth the read.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
What was that? I went into this novel thinking that I was going to read something mysterious and creepy but it was nothing like that, this novel was different. I found myself chuckling at times, puzzled and analytical at others and even shocked as I followed the fate of these young college students. This novel kept me on my toes. The novel begins with a group of college students who reunite to celebrate a birthday. In high school, they were the “in-crowd” and while in high school, one in their group dies, his death is ruled a suicide. Beatrice, cannot seem to get past this specific tragedy, the night that her boyfriend died. As this group gathers and the conversations swells, Jim becomes a topic of discussion. When a knock at the door distracts the party, the individual behind the door transforms the whole group. They think that the words that leave the man’s lips are nonsense yet as the sun rises the next morning, the calendar date stays the same. It was like Groundhog Day only these characters had a different objective, they wanted more information into Jim’s death. I cringed as the “wakes” occurred and the character’s antics became costlier. I feared how it would all play out in the end and I even wondered how they would find their answer. I heard in my head, the song “I Got You Babe” as I read through their “wakes” and I found myself laughing yet their struggles felt real and their answers were slow to materialize. I have mixed feeling about the ending. I liked how it ended but part of it felt cheesy to me. I started to question the sci-fiction part of the novel and the characters themselves. It was definitely a unique novel and one that I am glad that I read. I received a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway- thank you so much for sharing this title with me.
bookishgay17 More than 1 year ago
I picked up this ARC from the ARC shelf in the library I work at, and I was so excited to find it. Things I liked: - the set-up and premise is super interesting, and the book wastes no time getting into it - it kept me guessing and kept me intrigued and actually caring what happened - those last 30 pages oh my GOD - I enjoyed the writing style, although it doesn’t particularly stick out to me Things that could use some work: - I wanted more of the relationships between the characters, both in the past and in the wake. There was some, but I feel like I didn’t fully grasp the intricacies of the group dynamic - the resolution should’ve been more fleshed out. Specifically, and without giving anything away, the group decision that was made at the end...idk. Maybe I wanted more discussion or arguing or explanation...anything. Overall, the concept and the intrigue kept me hooked. I think maybe I was expecting more of a psychological thriller and for them to focus more on group dynamics/the vote than it was, but that expectation didn’t really hinder my enjoyment. I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a YA mystery with a little “magic” thrown in.