Marshall Holt sits behind Waverly Camdenmar in Spanish class and is aware of her every move. She’s smart and organized and lovely, as close to perfect as he is to ruin. But Marshall doesn’t know the real Waverly. Real Waverly doesn’t sleep. She runs for miles, looking for a sense of calm. She tolerates the arrogant behavior of her best friend, because without a veneer of invulnerability, who the hell is Waverly?
One night Waverly lights an old candle and, in an attempt to entice sleep, starts counting backwards. In a very realistic dream, Marshall looks directly at Waverly and speaks to her. The following night, Waverly follows the ritual again and is transported to a party where Marshall is on a bad LSD trip. The connection between the two grows ever stronger through nightly visits, even as they maintain their separation during the day. After all, perfect Waverly could hardly have a romantic relationship with drug-addled Marshall.
Few writers delve as intimately into raw emotion as Brenna Yovanoff as she strips her characters of their practiced self-delusions and faulty coping strategies. The wonder of mystical nighttime visits is a small part of the love story; the truer love develops as Waverly and Marshall reach for authenticity in real life. The result is a seductive blend of humor and romance with a dash of magical realism. This is perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun or Martha Brockenbrough’s The Game of Love and Death.
Diane Colson is the Library Director at City College in Gainesville, Florida.