How could I not pick up this book, emblazoned as it was with a cover depicting a generic girl sniffing a flower? The condensed Goodreads review can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/544027300
I’m not sure what magical creature we can expect to find (obviously an immortal one, but who isn’t these days?) but I can’t wait to make new friends with a new set of characters that bear no resemblance to any of the other characters I’ve met on my review journey so far.
And you never know—maybe this one will actually have a story!
After the frontspiece quote by good old Emily Dickinson we get the Auras page, which tells us what different coloured auras mean.
Oh man, this is going to be a good one!
Oh yes, yes! We begin with a description of what the main character’s best friend is wearing!I’ve hit the jackpot! Ahahahahahahaha!
Our hero describes her dear friend Haven, in all her wacky corset-wearing, Evanescence-loving, adulterous-parent-having… ness. And then she casually mentions she’s a psychic. If this wasn’t secretly written by Tara Gillespie, I’ll eat my hat.
And then Stacia Millar, the Dawn character shows up, right on the third page! Christmas has come early! (she even has the same last name as Marcie from Hush, Hush—being a mean girl character in YA paranormal romance must be a family business.) She calls Our Hero a ‘looo-ser’ for no reason, so we’re off to a good start.
And because it seems nothing else is scheduled to happen in this chapter, the main character takes the opportunity to exposit about her backstory and how her family died in an accident and stuff. She had a Near Death Experience, which as we all know gives you superpowers. Also her name is apparently ‘Ever’, because that’s what she told the paramedic in her flashback.
Enter Mysterious Transfer Student, with the stupid name of Damen August. Did the author mean Damian? Or was that too much of a shout out to The Omen? You decide!
Damen is different from all the other mysterious, mesmerising, absurdly good-looking transfer students because… his name is Damen, and none of the others are called that. Anyway, the whole class is immediately obsessed with him, Stacia, Stacia’s friend Honor, Honor’s boyfriend Craig, Haven, Miles…
Wait, who’s Miles?
It seems Miles is Haven and Ever’s Sassy Gay Friend who shows up without warning. His job is to be gay and squee over Damen. (did I mention Damen has a black BMW? No? Well he does! If you wanted to know more about this fallen angel (oh, god, I hope not) there you have it!)
Despite sharing two classes and a copy of ‘Wuthering Heights’ with the guy, Ever only realises after school that he has no aura. Spooky. Maybe he’s a robot? No, apparently it means he’s dead. So, ghost, zombie, vampire, revenant, the list continues.
Ever tells us how she now lives with her dad’s twin sister Sabine, who’s obviously loaded, and goes on about all the cool expensive shit she has. But she doesn’t want it, because her family’s deeeeead! (Yeah, cry me a river). She also explains how her psychic powers work, which basically boils down to ‘whatever’s convenient for the plot’.
She then tells us how she talks to the ghost of her dead sister Riley all the time and they have conversations using images, so I guess the afterlife operates on Pictionary rules? But no, apparently Riley was just fucking with her and can speak perfectly well—I can see why Ever was so upset over her death. Actually she’s only mentioned being upset in a kind of vague way, so maybe it’s not all that much of a problem.
I love that that entire last chapter was just backstory.
Wait, did I say love?
Anyway, Ever and Riley have a dumb conversation, but then Ever realises she’s late for another dumb conversation with Haven and Miles so she goes to school so she can listen to Miles obsess over Damen some more.
Then Damen pops up to return a book he borrowed and Ever touches him without being able to read his mind, insert Damen-is-completely-mindless-lol joke here. Then they have a boring conversation.
The familiar joys of lunch and banter settle in, so Damen can tell us he’s from lots of different places and Ever can wonder why he’s sitting with ‘the freaks’. Miles invites Damen over to Ever’s house, like all good friends do without their friend’s permission.
We’re then introduced to Haven’s hobby of copying the main character from Fight Club’s hobby of going to support groups. Ever tells us that beneath the natural blue streaks in her friend’s black hair and the red eyes, she’s just like every other girl at school! Oh no, wait, that was a character from an MST of a Lord of the Ring’s fanfic I read once. No, Haven’s thing is that beneath her copying Ebony Darkness D’mentia Raven Way’s dress sense—she’s a tender hurting soul!
Ever then goes on about how she used to be one of the cool kids, and a cheerleader, and have a friend called ‘Rachel’, which we all know is the height of popularity.
(It’s still funny, because my name’s Rachel! Geddit?)
But once she became a psychic, Ever realised that Rachel and her old boyfriend Brandon were totally teh suxxors, and went to hang out with the outsiders, who were good and pure, and she won’t risk her friendship with Haven to be with Damen!
Wait, what? How would that happen? Sure, Haven’s shown interest in Damen, but she’s known him for like, a day—she’s not madly in love with him! And why is Ever now interested in Damen when before she was just kind of freaked out by him?
Could this be… insta-love?! Off-page insta-love?
I can’t believe I’ve already written over a thousand words of this—it’s only 10% done! Time for shorter recaps!
Damen tells Ever he won’t be able to make it to her house that night. Miles seems to think that’s serious business, and takes the opportunity to harass Ever for the terrible crime of… wearing hoodies! Bluewater was right all along!
To honour the anti-hoodie sentiments of her aunt, Ever dresses up in a dress when they go out to dinner, and the ghost of her wonderful sister shows up to give her approval and to taunt her over the fact that Rachel and the old boyfriend have now got together in her absence. Sad tiems.
Ever wangsts over being ‘too damaged, too weird’ to try and form a relationship with her grieving aunt. (I don’t know…) Damen shows up at the restaurant with a mysterious redheaded friend who also doesn’t have an aura, and a ghost that isn’t Riley appears in Ever’s bedroom. Well, that was short.
This chapter begins with the line “I see dead people.”
Anyway, the ghost was Damen and Ever passes it off as a dream but still acts like he has cooties the next morning in class (we know it really was him, because this is a YA paranormal romance, and breaking into the heroine’s house to watch her sleep is womantik). The narration focuses more on what Stacia and Honour are saying in the background then Ever’s conversation with Damen—that’s how important their budding relationship is.
Then Haven shows up to glare at her supposed best friend for talking to Damen, and to tell everyone how she went to a club for vampires on the weekend. And Damen seems to know a lot about it—I wonder what that could mean!
Haven also tells them they’re getting a new friend she met at the club, and Miles whines about his internet-boyfriend secretly not being who he said he was as when Miles asked him for his picture, he sent a photo of Damen back.
Ever starts thinking far more than any normal person would about a picture of Damen being from New York, when he said he’d come from Santa Fe. Ever also tells us she can now read the minds of books as well.
And of pop quizzes. That’s… really dumb.
Then they have an art lesson, and Damen is really good. He must be a vampire! (Oh no, did I spoil that?)
Riley pops up to taunt her sister about her love life some more, and Damen pulls a rosebud from behind Stacia’s ear, upsetting Ever so much she won’t pass notes between the two of them in class. Oh the humanity!
Then she picks up a note from him to her with a red tulip. Hmm, red tulip—declaration of love, according to my handy flower-language book. Moving a bit fast, are we, Damen?
Halloween approaches, and Ever refuses to tell the reader what she’s dressing up as, so I’m on the edge of my seat.
Riley is still annoying, and lots and lots of descriptions of clothing ensues. Damen shows up even though he wasn’t invited—what a dick!—and Haven goes into jealous psycho mode.
Then another psychic shows up, hired by Ever’s aunt. Huh.
(Oh, and Ever dressed up as Marie Antoinette, and Damen’s costume matched hers serendipitously. That was totally worth all that build up, right?)
Ava the psychic begins to give readings…
And then the scene immediately changes so Ever and Damen can have a dumb conversation. Thank god, I was worried something might actually happen for a minute there!
Someone named Drina arrives to make Damen go all weird and kriptik and take Haven to the vampire club. I wonder if she’s a vampire too…
Then Ever gets mad that Damen apparently knew someone before he met her, which is a completely reasonable reaction, and storms off so Sabine can make her have a reading. I wonder if she’ll get the death card!
No, Ava puts the cards away. Aww. Then she says the usual bullshit about Ever having a wonderful gift, and Ever plays the ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about card’, but Ava counters with her business card for later plot convenience.
Ever whines about her psychic powers being a curse she deserved to get for surviving her family’s death, so sad, yawn. Riley’s back to annoy the reader, and then Ever talks to Miles about how Damen said ‘souvenir’ after he kissed her and that means he’s not planning to stay.
Which he didn’t. He said it after he took a feather from her costume, meaning he wanted a souvenir for the dumb party. Then Damen comes in… standing next to Stacia! They must be engaged! And Damen says some crap about flowers.
At lunch, Haven shows up so Ever can be amazed at her changing her contacts so her eyes match Drina’s, and how she’s completely changed everything to look like Drina.
Damen asks Ever out.
Damen and Ever go to Disneyland. Now they’re boyfriend and girlfriend!
Haven calls up to say her friend Evangeline is missing, and Damen disappears while Ever uses her mobile while driving. I can see why that terrible car accident happened! Anyway, Haven says Drina is really upset about it, but Ever doesn’t believe her because ‘Drina doesn’t seem like the type to feel much of anything’.
Which Ever knows, of course, from meeting her once and being unable to read her mind.
Oh good, we get more Riley in this chapter. She’s been talking to Ava, and Ever tells her not to, because Ava’s a fake. Which she obviously isn’t, because she can talk to Riley. Oh, Ever, I’m beginning to think you might be the stupidest YAPR heroine so far.
…no, that’s still Coach Science-teacher. Still so stupid he wins even though he’s not a heroine.
But, Damen and Ever make up, twu wuv and all that. Unfortunately history class makes her have a grief breakdown because of… history, and she’s so upset she runs into Stacia and rips her dress. Stacia is rightfully pissed off, and rightfully threatens to ruin Ever’s life (okay, that one wasn’t so rightful) but Ever uses her psychic powers to blackmail Stacia and they end in stalemate.
And Haven’s getting a tattoo of a snake eating its own tail, which I guess means she’s become a cannibal.
CONTINUED IN PART TWO