Book Review: Neverworld Wake


by Payal Mugunda, Editor

Five friends reunite a year after the death of their best friend, only to die in a car crash themselves. But that’s not the end of the story. Trapped in a time loop between life and death, the friends must choose, unanimously, who will survive. Add in time travel and a “One of Us is Lying”-style murder mystery, and you’re left with a book that you won’t be able to put down.

First of all, this isn’t a “Groundhog Day” type of time loop. Instead, these characters are stuck in a roughly eleven hour long time loop, where they can do whatever they want. But they’re expected to vote on the survivor a few minutes before the end of each wake: their word for the time loops

It’s also told from the point of view of Beatrice Hartley: the girlfriend of the one who died. She hasn’t seen any of the others since the death, and only came to try and figure out what happened that night. She watches as the others break down and get lost in the wake, until Martha, the genius, convinces them all to work together and solve the mystery. But all of them have secrets. Some are more deadly than others.

Overall, this is one of my favorite books. It’s one of the few that I will willingly reread, over and over again. It throws you straight into the action, introducing the characters through anecdotes as you read along. 

I don’t quite know how to describe this book. I mean, it’s an experience, if nothing else. It’s existential: What would happen if nothing mattered? If everything just started over at the end of the day. And then it adds in a healthy serving of mortality: Everyone knows that they’re going to die, unless they can magically convince everyone else that they deserve to live.

It’s not just good, it’s extraordinary. Overall, I’d give this book 5/5 stars.