{Nostalgic Review} Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Places No One Knows

Brenna Yovanoff

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.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Published: May 17th 2016

“Girl cut from marble needs no one, when it should have said, I have been so lonely for so long that I have almost stopped breathing.”

I read this back when I didn’t believe in DNFing… yet I can’t say I’d actually abandon this one. 16 year old me was very confused with what this book was about. No, it wasn’t the premise, which was quite unique, I didn’t hate the characters…

It was just bizarre, at a time when I was developing my reading taste (we now know Magical Realism is my thing)— looking back at it, if I had read it now… I’d appreciate it more? But, I’d still keep the rating.

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Now, this is a very slow, melodic book that focuses purely on characters. Is there a plot? Barely? But, again— if you’re going into this, be here for a deep dive into two characters: a sociopathic girl, toxic friendships, two people who logistically shouldn’t fall in love, but see something in the other that they connect with.

Even with all of the weird, unexplained things happening— ie: dreaming yourself into someone’s bedroom, you just kind of drift into the story. You’re here for the ride, you know? Not to say it can’t get boring at some points… because again, not much is happening here. It can feel like your sludging through the words often.

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… Because one of the secrets of total social domination is to make your moment of vulnerability a premium. You trade on your need for people, bestowing it like a gift.

I should probably talk about these characters in a not-so-vague way:

Waverly – a perfect girl on the outside- she’s a popular kid, gets good grades, has friends, is a grammar nerd… you’d essentially think nothing was wrong with her. But, you find out that she runs at night until her feet blister over. And she collects posters of sociopaths. Moreover, she can’t connect to anyone and is unfeeling; though the label of sociopath isn’t wholly an outlandish assumption, it isn’t wholly right either. She molded herself into this unfeeling being, but inside she’s struggling to keep this persona alive— she’s coming undone.

Marshall – her counterpart who feels everything. with a mess of a family and gets drunk and high to numb it all. A bad boy with a heart of gold, who’s been in love with Waverly for the longest, but didn’t think he had a chance with her considering his reputation.

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“I thought he made me a different person altogether, but maybe I was always holding those pieces inside me, waiting for a chance to use them.”

First off, back to the plot thing— the romance is the strongest point of the plot. We never get answers on how dreaming yourself into a boys room is a thing, but it furthers the love story that is Waverly and Marshall.

They’ve never interacted… and then the dreams happen. And he sees her. And they have deep conversations of life. I don’t know if I was 100% on board with this relationship— it happened quite suddenly even with the book trying to shove down my throat the length of Marshall’s feelings for her… there was just a disconnect trying to work with Elmer’s glue.

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However, I can’t say that the love story was the only thing going for this read— we observe Waverly’s friendship with her best friend and see how unhealthy it is, how apathetic these girls are and it was a comfortable bubble for them up until Waverly makes a new friend that challenges the dynamic and Waverly learns that this isn’t the way a friendships work. That being the perfect friend is impossible and friendships have more nuance to them. Which makes this part my favorite; it really gave room for our female lead to show true character development and it was done well in my eyes.

I feel like this book is for very specific people. You like slow, books that handles tropes and turns it on their heads and complicated characters? And romance? You’ll like this one.

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