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Darkly Romantic | Book Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Places No One Knows is not your typical YA romance…

Book Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

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places-no-one-knows brenna yovanoff book review

Title & Author: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy/Paranormal

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Random House

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher

Description:

“Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.

Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.

But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.”

Dark Romance

At its core, Places No One Knows is a romantic novel. It’s main story focuses on Waverly and Marshall, who could not be more different.

Waverly is outwardly perfect – she’s popular and social, but…she’s also cold and bored and unable to connect with those around her. Marshall’s life, on the other hand, is a wreck. His family is falling a part, but he’s a sweet guy who is trying not to feel all the hard things going on around him.

I would describe this book as a dark romance. Some consistent themes involve drug and alcohol abuse, but somehow the tension between Waverly and Marshall leaches away some of the other tension.

What’s interesting is that Places No One Knows is kind of paranormal but without much emphasis on the mechanics. Essentially Waverly is able to converse/touch/interact with Marshall in real life but via her dreams and a mysterious candle.

I both loved and hated that this wasn’t explored more – I’m the type of person that demands answers. BUT, because this wasn’t the focus of the book, I liked that the aura of mystery around this aspect of the story remained in tact.

This book GOES THERE. The romance is on full throttle, the issues each character has are big and amplified and the result is satisfying and lovely.

Yovanoff knows how to write. I love how she described things and how she created the characters complete with so many flaws but equally winning qualities.

This was a book I HAD to keep reading. I was hooked from page one and I LOVE that feeling. Regardless of anything else, a book that can make you pick it up again and again is very, very special.

I read Yovanoff’s The Replacement a few months ago, and I have to say I enjoyed Place No One Knows much more. The romance and suspense added a new, special element I CRAVED.

OVERALL:

If you’re looking for a dark twist on your YA romance story, then look no further. Places No One Knows offers an intriguing mystery, romantic tension and incredible writing, and if you don’t mind the inclusion of some tough topics then I would definitely recommend it.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Giselle Culinski

    Thanks for this helpful review. I’m inclined to stop by more often and immerse myself in your riveting insights: as they were the driving force behind my excitement to read this book. I mean, when you describe a piece of literature as a darkly romantic novel that GOES THERE… Dammit, I’m gonna go there! Even knowing the author wouldn’t satisfy my thirst for answers. Ah, well. At least she tossed me a small bone to gnaw on with the mention of astral projection (p. 170).