From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–Cheerleader Isobel (another Bella?) becomes the reluctant partner of Goth Varen Nethers for an English assignment on Poe. Predictably, she falls hard for him, and he may not be a lost soul trapped between the real world and the dream world; psychologically abused by his father; or just a strange kid. There are so many dropped threads in the story that are just begging to be picked up in sequels that readers aren't really sure what has happened and what hasn't. The characters and story are interesting enough, however, to justify anticipation of further installments.–Corinne Henning-Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Cheerleader Isobel has been partnered with goth Varen for a report on Edgar Allan Poe. Unfortunately, this does not sit well with her jock boyfriend Brad, who makes sure to let Varen know who’s boss. Realizing that Brad might not be all she thought he was, Isobel dumps him. Rumors immediately begin circulating that she is in love with Varen, and things heat up while the two are researching their project and Isobel peeks into Varen’s private journal. Suddenly, Isobel is haunted by the ghouls, ghosts, and creepy creatures that inhabit Varen’s dreamworld. Now that she has become a part of this world, Isobel must find a way out, and a way to save Varen. The first (and only) kiss between Isobel and Varen doesn’t happen until 400 pages in, and teens might not buy the romance. They might also balk at the length; the story feels as if it needed only half the pages. Still, there are some memorable characters from the slightly-creepy dreamworld, and many Poe references throughout. Grades 9-12. --Shauna Yusko