Book Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff


I identify with Waverly more than I’d like to admit. We’re almost copies of each other, only she’s more ambitious.

Places No One Knows, is a contemporary novel. It’s about Waverly and Marshall (love the names btw). Waverly is a straight-a insomniac. And Marshall is a flunking stoner. The characters are kind of cliché but it’s not obvious and annoying.

The story is told in alternating first person POV’s. Waverly is more developed than Marshall, and I think she overcomes a greater character arc.

Waverly is a person that keeps her emotions to herself. She doesn’t want people overanalyzing her. She wants to give off a ‘perfect’ vibe. People expect a certain thing from her and she delivers. She doesn’t understand feelings and why they’re irrational, and abstract. She’s in this cage—locked in in, and no one but her has the key.

And then there’s Marshall. His nickname is Mars and it’s adorable. But anyway, this is where the cliché comes in. He’s the child of a broken home. His dad is sick. His parents argue every night. I identify with Marshall a little too.

Marshall escapes his home life through drugs and alcohol. He’s a quiet guy who takes the role of the flunking stoner. He’s not ‘feared’ or a ‘bad boy’ or even ‘the one girls fawn over’. He’s a down to Earth type of guy. He’s noticed and known of, but no one bothers him.

The duo collides during one of Waverly’s experiences to try to fall asleep. The method she uses causes her to astral-project and she happens to only appear wherever Marshall is. And at first it only seems like it’s going to be when he’s stoned or inhibited in some way, but then she appears when he’s sober.

Something that made the book compelling (it was a literal page turner) was that they would have these deep, intimate conversations at night, but then at school they wouldn’t even acknowledge each other. Each of them acknowledged the other once and it was infuriating. But that just shows good writing.

I liked the ending, but I just with that there was more Marshall and Waverly time. And the whole astral-projection thing was glossed over so I have some questions about that too (like why he was the only one who could see her).

But I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would and it sits in a special place on my shelf.



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