I have to admit I wouldn't have looked twice at this book if it weren't for the glowing reviews it received from friends. Look at that cover! I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover
On the other hand, when I found out Edgar Allan Poe's works inspired this novel, I was immediately intrigued. Besides, this also featured a pairing between an emo/goth and a cheerleader, which I thought pretty novel accompanied by the glowing reviews, I decided to give it a try.
Although it was a good book with good characterization, I had expected to be pleasantly surprised with the way the author would incorporate Poe's works in the story. It was not what I expected. I thought it was nicely done though, but didn't completely arouse excitement in me.
Isobel and Varen are paired up for a project (how convenient!) to write about an author of their choice, and they initially don't get along. She's a cheerleader, he's a goth, high school stratification will play its part. Isobel isn't that bitchy I-am-mighty type of cheerleader that a lot of books and movies seem to portray. She's a girl who's really good doing flips, and she can be badass too. They both eventually learn to drop their prejudices and like each other. I actually liked them together, although it was unclear to me how they could fall in love within the time given to them.
Now with regards to the Poe aspect, I liked the visuals it gave me. However, nothing is properly explained. Isobel is unwillingly plunged in Varen's world, but we don't know why. How can Varen just give that precious book to Isobel's care? How did Varen change his mind about Isobel and din't he care at all that she would be involved and get in trouble? I guess I just wanted Varen's POV in all this, because with only Isobel, I was just thrust into one situation to another with Isobel barely getting out of the scrapes.
There were too many conflicts (Isobel's parents, the project, Reynolds, Isobel's boyfriend, etc) I guess I just wanted to be immersed in Poe's world without having too much to do with Isobel and Varen's high school life. And when I was in Varen and Poe's dreamworld, I felt it wasn't enough.
The characterization here is a strong point. I felt Isobel was an admirable heroine, and her friends and family were nicely drawn out too. 3.5 stars