I really enjoyed Shari Arnold’s Neverland. It was magical and unexpected. I had high hopes for Mistique, but I have to say I was disappointed. While I liked the concept (big Les Revenants fan here), this story just didn’t come together for me. However, this book, which does feel like a YA Stephen King concept, might really appeal to you. I mean, essentially this whole town becomes the less evil equivalent of the Pet Cemetery, which is pretty cool. I also do have to say that it got me thinking about how wild it would be if you had a town that could resurrect the dead, and Arnold does a good job of really making that chaos of hope and desperation come alive.
Mystique is publishing Tuesday, November 13, 2015.
Only Bauer Grant can pull off gorgeous while dead. But staying dead is another thing entirely. When he wakes up at his own funeral, the town of Mystique calls it a miracle, until it happens again. Something is bringing the residents of Mystique back to life, but what? Presley Caine finds herself caught up in the mystery when Bauer asks her to visit him. Presley can’t figure out why the most popular guy in school is so drawn to her. And when Bauer is kidnapped soon after, she looks to Bauer’s brooding best friend Sam, whose dad works for the powerful Mystique military base, for answers. In her quest to discover the truth, Presley’s relationship with Sam deepens, her feelings for Bauer are tested, and it becomes clear that her own mysterious past is somehow connected to these strange events. But is she strong enough to handle the truth when it is finally revealed?
I think my problem really started with the things that left me feeling disbelief for too long at the very beginning of the book. It started with a question about embalming – a small detail, but a really big stumbling block for me. How can a kid wake up at his own funeral and not have his eyes glued closed or his lips sewn shut? Did he still have a heart? Didn’t they drain his blood and pump him full of chemicals? Yes, these are the things I think about. Anxiety takes many fun forms. This is finally addressed chapters later, and a weak explanation was offered, but it was already too late. I had lost a little faith in the story. When that was compounded by the seemingly inconceivable insta-connection Bauer felt for Presley, I really struggled to stick this one out. The connection was eventually explained, but, again, my ability to suspend disbelief was already gone. I didn’t trust the story, and I just never really settled in after that. I did still see a bit of what I most enjoyed about Neverland in this book – the relationship between Sam and Presely was one I could get lost in. I think that is really what the author excels at – sweet and carefully drawn connections between her main characters. However, I struggled with the relationships of her more minor characters in this book. I think this is a result of the way Presely connected with them, which created a one sided and surface friendship, but it didn’t work for me. Overall, I was able to enjoy the book when it focused on Sam and Presley, but I felt like when that focus shifted, I was reading a book that just didn’t quite gel. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.