Explore the stories behind the young adult books you love with the B&N YA Podcast. Join host Melissa Albert, editor of the B&N Teen Blog and bestselling author of The Hazel Wood, as she sits down with fellow YA authors to talk about books, life, their teen years, their pop cultural obsessions, and how they came up with the stories that keep us up at night. Subscribe to listen in on fascinating new conversations every other week.
Marisha Pessl debuted in 2006 with Special Topics in Calamity Physics, a fascinating bestseller about a bookish girl and her charismatic whirlpool of a father. With its dark thrills and astonishing reveals, it made her an immediate author to watch. She followed it with Night Film, a horror thriller about a reclusive creator of cult “terror films” and the journalist who destroyed his career in pursuit of the filmmaker’s secrets. Now she’s releasing her YA debut, Neverworld Wake, a brainy supernatural tale about five teens who, following an accident that leaves them on the edge of death, must relive one day over and over, until they can vote on who among them will survive it.
Pessl’s books are dense with creation and hyper articulate, filled with invented cultural artifacts and singular characters. We sat down with her to talk about entering the YA world, cult fandom, and the killer concept behind Neverworld Wake.
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend—changed everything.
One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world–hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.
Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers…and at life.
And so begins the Neverworld Wake.