Author: Kelley Moore, Tucker Reed, & Larkin Reed
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 320 pages
"I was sixteen the second time I had my first kiss...."
At the end of AMBER HOUSE, Sarah made a choice that transformed everything--and now she must choose it all again.
Things are very different--better--for Sarah and her family: her Aunt Maggie grew up; her parents are happily married; her grandmother died after a long, productive and respected life. But other things are different too, and not for the better.
After growing up in the free country of the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Parsons has settled in at Amber House, the stately Maryland home that's been in her family for generations. But the world surrounding the House feels deeply wrong to Sarah. It's a place where the colonists lost the 1776 Insurrection, where the American Confederation of States still struggles with segregation, and where Sarah is haunted by echoes of a better world that she knows never existed.
Her friend Jackson shares these visions of a different world--and together, they manage both to remember the way things ought to be, and to plan a daring mission that will reset the universe once again. Sarah must figure out what has changed, and why, and how she can fix it--how she can find her way to another otherwhen.
Protagonist: The Sarah Parsons of Neverwas is very different from the Sarah Parsons in Amber House, though both are still the same person at heart. This Sarah however grew up in a loving and whole family that wasn't scarred by the accident that put her aunt Maggie in a coma, because in this world she woke up. In this book Sarah has, in many ways, been reset. Her family is moving into Amber House after the unfortunate death of her grandmother, but unlike last time, Sarah wants no part of Amber House. Still the strong willed clever girl we know from the first book, this Sarah needs to remember the past to save the future.
Romance: Much like the last installment there isn't too much emphasis put on the romance, and this book focuses a lot more on the characters and plot as well as the history of Amber House. Since time has, in many ways, reset itself, the love triangle between Richard, Sarah, and Jackson is alive and well, and this time Richard isn't jaded and spiraling down into oblivion of drunken despair like the last book, making him a formidable match for Sarah's heart. While it's always fairly obvious where Sarah's affections will ultimately lie, it's still a great enjoyment watching the tension between these three characters.
World-Building: The world of Neverwas, much like Sarah, is extremely different from the world of Amber House. Due to Sarah waking up those trapped in between the echoes, she's changed time, thought not entirely for the better. While her family is happier, somehow what she did also made it so that events such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Second World War didn't turn out in the same way they did in the world we know. It's very interesting reading this, almost, alternate history. While there are a few modern conveniences here and there for the most part it feels as Sarah is stuck in the fifties or even earlier. This new world adds a whole new element to the overall mythos of this series and makes me all the more interested to see how it's expanded in the final installment.
Predictability: For the most part this book comes of unpredictable. Personally I hadn't read the synopsis prior to beginning the book so I had no idea whatsoever that Sarah had changed time as much as she did. Therefore when everything went down I was confused, but mostly curious as to where the story was going. I was surprised and delighted to see what approach these authors took with the story and the little and even huge surprises along the way made for an intense ride.
Ending: Even though this book is very different, yet in some ways the same, thematically than the first one, one of the things I was counting on was an epilogue to tease where the story would go from here. However there was no epilogue, instead there was a fairly large cliffhanger. I'm not necessarily disappointed in the lack of an epilogue, but I was hoping to see where the events of the book left our characters off at, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next and final installment, Otherwhen.
While this book is definitely different than the book, both in the world and in the tone, with this one taking a much darker approach, I loved it as much if not more than the first. Its fast pace and rich and vibrant history will captivate you, just like it did me.