There’s a non-zero chance Evermore is not bad YA, but masterful satire

There’s a non-zero chance Evermore is not bad YA, but masterful satire

☆☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

Evermore is about as generic as paranormal romance can get. It’s pretty much identical to the other genre books from the same time frame- Evermore, Hush Hush, and Fallen all were published in 2009, though bizarrely in that order. I was rather shocked to learn Evermore actually came before the other, more notable YA paranormal books at the time- it feels at times so strange and parodist that I figured it must have been a cash-in rip off.

Yet Evermore stands, strangely, in the early days of the paranormal romance bubble. I’m no expert, but the zenith was 2009, and Evermore is from February. We can proudly stand Evermore as early and (non) notable in the genre.

The reason I’m so fixated on when Evermore came out is simple: This book feels exactly, literally exactly, like satire of the para-ro genre. At first I dismissed the book as I read it, but then I sat on it for a day. I realized it was almost the same as how I’d write a parody book- the generic plot of the ‘not beautiful’ beautiful blonde main character, the mysterious bad boy new kid, the unexplained powers, the sheer number of powers, the I Love You exchange early on, the bizarre goth friend, the ridiculous names, the mean girl stereotypes, the stupid richness of the main characters, the fated/reincarnation storyline… All of it is so perfectly predictable and at points slightly more absurd than normal that I can safely conclude there is a non zero chance this book is a satire.

Beyond the fact it came first.

Plot

The main character in Evermore is named Ever. She’s super psychic after surviving a car crash. Her best friend is Haven, an over the top scene/goth/emo who is addicted to anonymous self help groups. Her love interest’s name is Damen, and he’s an ethnically ambiguous son of an alchemist from the 1400s whose father invented an immortal-making potion which also lets you travel between planes and create matter from your imagination. Also Ever is his soulmate, and he’s been tracking her down across reincarnations to try and get with her, despite the fact she always dies around the time she’s 16 (and before they can have sex).

It’s kind of hard to scratch the surface of the sheer number of things in this book, and yet nothing particularly happens. Ever meets Damen, the new bad boy super hot guy. Everyone loves him, but he takes special interest in Ever, taking her on two dates: Disneyland, and a horse racetrack. He’s very hot and cold, being unclear with Ever at all times if they are dating or not, as well as constantly seeming to hang with the mean girls at school and a mean girl from outside school named Drina.

Ever is the only survivor after her family died in a car crash trying to avoid a deer, and while she watched her family walk across a bridge into presumably heaven, Ever stuck around and then woke up. However, she woke up with a ton of psychic powers. She can see the future, hear everyone’s thoughts at all times, can see people’s auras, can see ghosts, can learn any information by touching it (such as just touching a closed book), and can learn someone’s life story and feelings by touch. This causes her, a beautiful blue eyed, blonde haired white girl to hide under sweatshirts! Hoodies! Sunglasses! Because she finds just going to school and being around people exhausting.

Ever is also hanging out with her dead 12 year old sister, Riley, who refuses to move onto Heaven and instead just wants to chill with Ever.

Damen shows a few strange traits like being perhaps psychic, seeming to see dead sister Riley, being too perfect, making tulips appear out of thin air constantly, acting like he personally knew Van Gogh and Picasso and occasionally moving so fast he ‘visibly blurs’. Riley at one point follows him home and notes he has no furniture in his house, and Ever sees him drink a strange reddish liquid.

If you’re like, ‘great! He’s a vampire!’, this book would like to laugh at you. In two ways. One, any explanation of what he is first appears at about 69% (230 out of 350) through. Second, the book goes out of its way to laugh at the idea he’s a vampire. There’s quite a few jokes. How funny it is, to assume he was drinking blood! No, that’s just special alchemy sauce immortals drink sometimes. Oh, Drina the evil mean girl dresses like a vampire and hangs out at a vampire-goth nightclub called ‘Nocturne’? You idiot. She’s just Damen’s childhood friend/former wife. Vampires aren’t real, don’t be silly. A magical plane where imagination can create tangible objects by the name of ‘Summerland’? Oh yeah. That’s real.

The book doesn’t offer any explanation on why this alchemy syrup gives you immense psychic powers, or how the ability to move at super speed is a side effect. Rather, Immortals are just capable of… everything. Damen and Drina, who are proper immortals, have all of the same powers as Ever plus super speed, instant healing, memory altering, and the ability to influence peoples’ dreams. Damen additionally can travel to Summerland, where he’s able to manifest anything he can imagine and just bring it to the real world.

I’m struggling to move past this section on their many, many powers because it’s again so fascinating how overpowered they are.

The plot posits that Damen and Ever fall in love, but mean girl weirdo Drina keeps showing up and being obviously mean, wanting Damen all to herself. Drina befriends Ever’s friend Haven, who is going through a hard time and easily influenced. Around Drina, Haven changes her whole style to be more ‘historical’ over ‘goth’, including changing her hair color and getting color contacts. Drina also has Haven get an ouroboros tattoo. All of this is pretty much irrelevant, actually, but the tattoo leads to possibly the weirdest part of the book: Ever sees the tattoo move on its own several times, going to look at her or shifting in position. This bares no importance at all and is never addressed, and the ‘threat’ of this weird tattoo is just that it gets badly infected. I can’t offer an explanation on why it was semi magical.

Anyway, Damen eventually owns up to being an Immortal and gives us a lot of pages of what that means and his life story. He also reveals Ever is about his soulmate, or else he ‘fell deeply in love with her soul’. He used to be hedonistic and chaotic with Drina, but when he met Ever in like the 1500s he changes his ways for good. However, Ever keeps dying (mysteriously?), meaning they’ve never had sex or been together very long. Damen keeps tracking down Ever across lifetimes and falling in love with her- or getting her to fall in love with him?

This is extremely creepy. This is an immortal stalker situation. We dealt with this exact plot in Fallen (which, remember, came out after this book), but at least in that they were 100% soul mates who always found each other by chance, and also she used to be an angel like her boyfriend. Ever is just human, just keeps getting murdered by Drina, and Damen keeps pursuing and wooing her. That’s. Very disturbing.

Ah, and yes: Drina is the one doing the killing. She gives Ever her whole end game speech before attempting to murder her in a canyon. She reveals she’s been sending Ever prophetic dreams and killing her across generations over her jealousy. She even reveals (very hilariously) she was the one who killed Ever’s family this time around! She hid in the bushes and scared the deer that Ever’s dad swerved to avoid, killing everyone in the car.

Ever however backflips accidentally into Summerland by thinking about happy memories, and we get more explanations from Damen. For one, Drina can’t come to Summerland because she doesn’t know it exists, and she’s too mean and sucky to go here. Second, Ever has been an Immortal this whole time and only just came into her powers on the brink of death. You see, the power of love and the will to keep living let her escape Drina and activate her TRUE powers.

You might be wondering: if Damen wants to be with Ever, and is the guy making all these immortal potions and Immortals, why didn’t he just make Ever immortal back in the 1500s? Who knows. Maybe she kept getting murdered before hand. In this timeline however, after getting murdered, Damen saw her linger for a moment (I guess he was stalking her family through the woods?) and ‘took this as a sign she wanted to live’, so he spoon-fed her dead body some Immortal juice and brought her back. You know, without her consent.

With her new semi powers, Ever returns to face Drina. She still gets beat up and nearly dies. As Drina is taunting her yet again, Ever yet again focuses on the power of love and punches Drina in the chest. She shrivels up, ages, and dies instantly. Damen explains this is because Ever punched her in her heart chakra, and Drina was so devoid of love the feeling of Ever’s love killed her.

Look, I’m struggling with this review because all I can really do is recount every detail for you.

At the end of the book, Ever tells her dead 12 year old sister to move onto heaven and also finally visits the psychic she’s been childishly avoiding, who has been offering to help. Off page she quickly learns to make a psychic shield so she doesn’t have to hear everyone’s thoughts and can just chill out. The end.

Now, this is skipping a lot of other strange bits, like how part of Drina’s evil plan involved setting Ever’s aunt up with a guy who ‘lived in his mother’s house’ (This is seen as horrible despite the fact the aunt seems to like him as a person. She leaves him when she realizes), getting Ever’s gay best friend the lead part in hair spray (genuinely funny: she remarks how talented he is with full honesty), and helping Ever get briefly addicted to vodka.

Usually I do more bullets or headings, but I really can’t.

Conclusion

I think this book is a joke. I don’t know. There’s too many things which are too extreme and comical that I struggle to believe it was written with sincerity. It feels so much like a piss take of the genre, in every little way, it boggles the mind. It’s also fairly boring, somehow, to experience (another staple of the genre), so don’t bother reading it. This is a 6 book series and they have sex by book 6, and I’m not going to read them all.

Also it’s later revealed in one of the later books in one of Ever’s past lives she was a slave on a plantation in the southern states and Damen bought her at an auction, separating her from her family at the time. Hey author. What. What the. What the. Hey.

Evermore preempts a lot of the para-ro genre, yet somehow stands as the perfect capsule of it. When I was about 17 I started writing a para-ro parody book called ‘Caught’, which involved many of the tropes Evermore covers- and yet my purposeful parody pales compared to this actual, real book (which somehow got 6 book series and a 3 book adjacent series about the dead 12 year old sister).

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