Ever Paperback – October 1, 2012
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- Publisher : Curiosity Quills Press (October 1, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 296 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1620070898
- ISBN-13 : 978-1620070895
- Item Weight : 15.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.98 x 0.67 x 9.02 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #16,278,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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First, the plot: seventeen year old Eleanor Van Ruysdael (whose nickname, Ever, is derived from her initials) has a dead boyfriend named Frankie, who died in a car crash which she survived. She isn't over him yet, but it might be difficult to get over a teen crush who insists on haunting you.
What begins as a tale of unrequited love becomes a love triangle when twenty-two-year-old Toby and his father movs into the house in which Frankie and his family used to live. Though Ever tells us she's stuck on Frankie on numerous occasions, she is instantly smitten with Toby -- to the relief of her friend Jess. After some courtship between Ever and Toby, the arrival of Toby's ex Ariadne further complicates matters.
Ariadne's arrival kicks Ever into high gear by introducing an interpersonal conflict halfway through the novel. Ever can't stand Ariadne, but the feeling isn't mutual because Ariadne doesn't regard Ever as an equal worthy of her enmity.
I won't comment further on the plot, lest I spoil the ending. Instead, I will shift my attention to the mechanisms driving the story. In particular, I wish to consider Ms. Russo's choice of viewpoint. Ever is told exclusively through the viewpoint of its protagonist. We only know what she tells us. We have no choice but to believe Frankie is real, because Ever tells us other people can see him. When Ever learns that Toby and Ariadne are "soul collectors", we can only take her words at face value, but Ever doesn't tell us what exactly soul collectors are, or how they do what they do, because she herself doesn't know. We remain ignorant of Toby's motives and those of Ariadne, because we're limited to Ever's viewpoint.
A cursory glance at the reviews on Goodreads suggests that this limited perspective frustrates a great many readers to the point where they end up despising the novel. I consider it Ever`s chief virtue. While I might praise Ever`s verisimilitude by virtue of its characters, who are annoying enough to remind me of the teenagers with whom I used to do time in high school, the real value of this novel lies in its unreliable narrator.
An unreliable narrator, according to Wikipedia, is "a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised" (emphasis mine). Ever's youth and inexperience alone might compromise her as a narrator, but it's her psychological issues which push her over the top. Her unresolved grief and survivors' guilt are both obvious from the first page of the first chapter. Furthermore, because we have to take her word for the fact that others can see Frankie, the ghost himself might be a figment of Ever's imagination -- or a delusion. Even the events culminating in Ever`s cliffhanger ending might only be a fantasy, but it's a fantasy we must accept at face value, because we only know what Ever tells us.
I don't know if Jessa Russo intended for Ever to be an unreliable narrator. I could be overthinking a novel which is nothing more than solidly written young adult paranormal romance. Or, Jessa Russo might have infused her material with unexpected literary sophistication through her choice of viewpoint and the care with which she feeds the reader information.
Pick whichever interpretation you think is most flattering.
The storyline itself if really cool and the world building is excellent but what is so frustrating is that the characters aren't naturally revealing the story. It is completely unbelievable that if a teenaged girl lived with her best-friend/love of her life WHO is also a ghost they wouldn't be talking ALL THE TIME and SHARING information. They totally would! BUT frustratingly they don't. This not sharing information doesn't provide tension, it just provides frustration for the reader.
I will finish the book eventually because I feel I have an obligation to the author but I doubt my opinion will change
I will admit, I was rooting for Frankie all along but not because I didn't like Toby. Just because to me, what she had with Frankie, seemed more true & genuine. (I'm a romantic at heart & their story was much more romantic.)