Release Date: September 8, 2014
Genre: Mature Young Adult
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Last week, Cooper Mesa was a quiet, studious bookworm.
This week, she feels unworthy of love or forgiveness.
When Cooper's twin sister, Kayla, tries to end her own life, Cooper blames herself. If only she had paid more attention...
Desperate to understand her sister's decision, Cooper starts down a dark path, discovering her own inner turmoil. Losing herself is easy, but finding a reason to live is becoming impossible.
Girl Nevermore was a little slow to start but once I was hooked, it was a provocative read. The story begins with an introduction to Cooper and Kayla Mesa, twin sisters, as they sit in English class...and Kayla begins to fade away right in front of Cooper's eyes. Girl Nevermore tells the tale of destruction that a suicide attempt can wreak. And how those affected by it can learn to deal with what life brings - how perception can help you cope with the darkness inherent in life.
Cooper experienced a myriad of emotions following her sister's suicide attempt. She pinged between anger, confusion, and guilt, as she processed the what and the why behind Kayla's decision to take her life. At first, I agreed with Cooper when she felt like she was being selfish by considering how Kayla's actions affected her. But as I put myself in her 16 year old shoes, I could sympathize with Cooper to a certain degree. She was angry with Kayla but for more than just how her actions affected her socially. I felt she was more angry with the fact that Kayla hadn't confided in her and that Cooper, preferring a book to interacting with anyone, missed the signs that something so serious was happening with Kayla.
I enjoyed how Desilets used The Raven as a way for Cooper to explore the existential crisis that Cooper experienced following Kayla's suicide attempt. The parallels between Cooper's questions, why she's asking them and the answers she's expecting, and those of the narrator of The Raven worked really well together. And although I've read Poe, you don't have to have read The Raven for this element to make sense. This element aided the dark feel of Girl Nevermore - and it is a dark story. But as Cooper realized,
"While darkness doesn't make life interesting, without it, there wouldn't be any light."Ms. Desilets' use of Kayla's diary did a great job of acquainting us with Kayla, despite her absence from most of the book. It was a creative way to build sympathy and understanding for Kayla's plight. Cooper and Kayla's mom was not necessarily a sympathetic character. As I put myself in her shoes, I could understand some of her reactions to Kayla's suicide attempt. She felt a certain amount of guilt for not being more aware of what was going on in her daughter's life. But more telling was the understanding I gained about how the girls ended up in this place through witnessing the mother-daughter dynamics.
Logan - ahh, he was 'the light' in this story. I liked Logan from the start. He'd been friends with Cooper and Kayla for a few years. But he and Cooper really clicked. And he seemed to know exactly what Cooper needed and he showed her the compassion she was looking for.
I was a little shocked at how Cooper and Kayla were so distant from one another - especially since they are twins. But Desilets did provide some insight into their situation, so while I had a hard time believing it, I could see how it could happen. Cooper really declined quickly into the depths of emotion she felt following Kayla's suicide attempt. I was happy to see how she recovered and was able to make sense of things - at least as it related to her life.
Overall, Desilets has woven a very thought-provoking story around the fallout of a suicide attempt. Although it was a bumpy start for me, I did become entrenched in Cooper's life and the hope I had for how she'd move on. I was also left hopeful for the sisters' relationship - that they'd grow closer than they'd ever been. This was my first read from Ms. Desilets and it definitely won't be the last.
Rachel A. Desilets was born in southern New Hampshire. She graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.
She currently resides in California with her husband and cats.
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