Nevermore

Nevermore

For Ages: 14 and up
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

-- from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 560 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442402003 | 
  • August 2010 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

NEVERMORE

By Kelly Creagh

1. Early in their work on the Poe project, Varen discusses the identity of Lenore with Isobel, calling her the love of the narrator.  How is this notion of the narrator's lost love an important element in the story?  In what other ways do Isobel and Varen's initial work on their project foreshadow events to come? 

2. In addition to his interest in Poe, Varen knows a good deal about dreams and their relationship to real life. What clues in this scene suggest that Poe also knew much about the nature of dreams? What does Isobel learn from talking with Varen and how does she relate their conversation to the frightening experiences that happen in her bedroom?

3. How does Reynolds first enter Isobel's consciousness?  What important information does he give her about dreaming?  Initally, do you think Reynolds is Isobel's friend, enemy, or something in-between?  How does that change over time?

4. When does Pinfeathers first appear to Isobel?  Why do you think none of her classmates can see or hear the Nocs?  What important messages do Nocs convey to Isobel in the course of the novel?

5. When Isobel finds herself in a dreamlike version of Mr. Swanson's class, she reads Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken."  Why is this poem apt for the moment in which Isobel finds herself?  How does Mr. Swanson's comment about see more

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The Nevermore Poe Collection

About the Author

Kelly Creagh
Photograph by Jennifer Haskell

Kelly Creagh

Kelly Creagh is a 2008 graduate of Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. When not writing, haunting bookstore coffee shops, or obsessively studying Poe, Kelly’s passions include the ancient art of bellydance. She lives with her squirrely, attitude-infused dogs—Annabel, Jack, and Holly—in the heart of Old Louisville, Kentucky’s largest and spookiest Victorian neighborhood. Kelly is the author of the Nevermore trilogy. Visit her at KellyCreagh.com.

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