Thursday, December 26, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Neverwas

To learn all information about this blog tour, go Here
Neverwas by Kelly Moore, Tucker/Larkin Reed
Series: Amber House #2
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Press
Genre: YA ? Not sure what to label it
Release date: Jan. 7, 2014
320 pages
What it's about:
"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.

My thoughts:
This is the second book in the Amber House trilogy. For my review on Amber House, click Here.

It had been about 10 months since I had read Amber House, so smaller details were a little fuzzy for me going into Neverwas. Which is why I was a little confused for the first part of the book. And it took me longer than I care to admit to realize how much had chance in this new world of Sarah's. The history of the United States was a little bit baffling until I figured out what all had changed. When I had read the synopsis for this book, it was a little different than it is now, which is what lead me to be confused.

But once I got my head a little bit more into the book, I really enjoyed it. I always like to read about the House. I love how we got to know Sarah's aunt in this book, and of course Sam. I love Sam and how he has autism and how realistic his character is. I work with children with autism and love to see when books/movies actually have realistic portrayals of people with autism.

While I love the characters, I really adore the house the most. The descriptions, the decorating, the way that it is sort of magical. Which is why I have asked the authors to talk about the house some more and about their favorite rooms.


We are often asked whether Amber House is a real house, and, if not, where the idea for it came from.


  There are houses in North America that have been standing since before the Revolution, and descriptions of some aspects of these were incorporated into the character of Amber House.

 The Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts — built in 1637 — was an influence.  Pictures show how it has been haphazardly added on to over the centuries.  Its mashing-together of different architectural styles is definitely present in Amber House — although, overall, Amber House is certainly more Federal in style.

  Other historic houses that lent some characteristics to Amber House include Bacon's Castle in Surry, Virginia, built in 1665, the oldest brick building in the North America; the eccentric Sleeper-McCann House of Gloucester, Massachusetts, built in 1907 (its "Tower Room" was the inspiration for Sarah's bedroom); Orchard House, the childhood home of Louisa May Alcott; and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, built in 1772.


  Sammy's nautical bedroom is based on my late grandfather's study, which included a captain's desk, a masthead, and a collection of scrimshaw.


  The largest influence, however, was Sarah Winchester's "mystery house." It was a supposedly-haunted mansion nearby the college I attended.  Sarah Winchester was the widow of William Wirt Winchester, a gun magnate responsible for the Winchester rifle.  Sarah believed she was haunted by the souls of those who had died due to the use of her husband's "terrible weapon."  A psychic told Sarah that if she were to move West, she might escape the ghosts that haunted her — and perhaps even escape Death itself.  But the psychic warned her to never stop building — if Sarah did, Sarah would die.  So in 1886, carpenters began work on Sarah's house and this work continued day and night for over forty years.

Sarah was very superstitious, and was fixated with the symbolism of spider webs.  In honor of the Winchester House's influence on the early stages of my story, we wove references to Sarah Winchester's webs throughout the book.  The "Good Mother" spider was inspired by Sarah Winchester's fixation, for example.  And Sarah was named in part for the late Mrs. Winchester.


In a nod to Sarah Winchester's use of web motifs, there are webs throughout Amber House. One of our favorite rooms is the entry, with spider-web-paned windows on either side of the front door.

The main wing of Amber House was built during the 1700s.  This is an example of what one of the front parlors would look like.

KELLY:  My favorite room to imagine and write about is Fiona's conservatory, built during the Art Deco era.

TUCKER:  My favorite is Sarah's bedroom, a fantasy exaggeration of my own bedroom growing up.

LARKIN:  For me it's a tie between Deirdre's haunted nursery on the third floor, and the hedge maze.

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