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Last Bus to Everland

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Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants. Here Brod Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants. Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again.


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Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants. Here Brod Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants. Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again.

30 review for Last Bus to Everland

  1. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: gay mc, gay li, gay, pan & lesbian side characters, hijabi side character, side character in wheelchair, side character with agoraphobia such a wholesome little book!! not to be that guy, but this is what u get when basically all ur characters are gay also i love kasia kowalewska, my btfl polish lesbian daughter Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin | Reads Rainbow rep: gay mc, gay li, gay, pan & lesbian side characters, hijabi side character, side character in wheelchair, side character with agoraphobia such a wholesome little book!! not to be that guy, but this is what u get when basically all ur characters are gay also i love kasia kowalewska, my btfl polish lesbian daughter Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin | Reads Rainbow

  2. 5 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    I’m starting to feel like I could disappear, and they wouldn’t even notice. On my blog. Rep: gay mc, gay li, gay/pan/lesbian side characters, hijabi side character, side character in wheelchair, side character with agoraphobia Galley provided by publisher I sat down to write this review of Last Bus to Everland, but then I realised that I had no words to offer, only tears. So, I went away for a bit, thought it over, came back and I… still have no words, only tears. But we’re gonna giv I’m starting to feel like I could disappear, and they wouldn’t even notice. On my blog. Rep: gay mc, gay li, gay/pan/lesbian side characters, hijabi side character, side character in wheelchair, side character with agoraphobia Galley provided by publisher I sat down to write this review of Last Bus to Everland, but then I realised that I had no words to offer, only tears. So, I went away for a bit, thought it over, came back and I… still have no words, only tears. But we’re gonna give writing this a go anyhow. Last Bus to Everland is the story of Brody Fair, a gay teen in Edinburgh, the middle child of three, who feels out of place in the world. He’s bullied at school, feels like no one cares at home, but then he meets Nico. Nico takes him to Everland, a magical place that opens up every Thursday at 11:21pm. There, Brody finds a place for himself, but soon things start going wrong in Everland, and he has to make a decision to stay there forever or go and never come back. The thing I loved most about this book was the family relationships. There’s a found family relationship, yes, but also the most lovely biological family relationship. Even when Brody thinks no one cares for him, you as the reader know that his family would stand behind him whatever. I think my favourite part of that was the relationship between Brody and his brother Jake. It was perfectly angsty and I probably almost cried multiple times reading the scenes they had together. Particularly the big heart-to-heart at the end. I also loved that the romance was kind of incidental to this family relationship. The plot wasn’t that Nico saved Brody or vice versa, but more that meeting Nico and everyone in Everland helped Brody become comfortable with himself. Because the most beautiful thing in LGBT books is the characters getting to be happy and content with themselves and finding their place in the world, and that will never not make me cry. And even if the ending did make me sad (though hopeful? In a way), there was nothing I didn’t like about this book. It was so soft and just… healing I guess would be the word. It’s just got that rawness and authenticity that comes with an LGBT author. So, really, I don’t know what else to say to convince you to read this. Just that it’s one you’re not going to want to miss.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    A quietly magic, truly lovely story. Despite it’s fantasy elements, this wonderful book felt so incredibly real. It brilliantly explores an array of topics, from sexuality to mental illness to poverty to academic pressures and features a wonderfully diverse cast (the MC is gay and poor with a father who is living with PTSD and agoraphobia. The love interest is Spanish and gay. There’s also a Polish lesbian side character, a hijabi SC, a Japanese SC, a latinx bi SC, a SC with an eating disorder, a A quietly magic, truly lovely story. Despite it’s fantasy elements, this wonderful book felt so incredibly real. It brilliantly explores an array of topics, from sexuality to mental illness to poverty to academic pressures and features a wonderfully diverse cast (the MC is gay and poor with a father who is living with PTSD and agoraphobia. The love interest is Spanish and gay. There’s also a Polish lesbian side character, a hijabi SC, a Japanese SC, a latinx bi SC, a SC with an eating disorder, a gay SC with anxiety and a pansexual SC who uses a wheelchair.) I loved that each character had their own story and were allowed to, not only have flaws, but to grow and learn from their own mistakes and those of others, whilst having their growth received with compassion, rather than irreconcilable fall outs. Whether it be familial, romantic or platonic, I thought the various relationship dynamics explored were also really interesting to follow. As someone who adores fairy tale retellings (especially those of the Disney variety) but is regularly let down but them, I’m so happy to be able to say I loved this contemporary spin on Peter Pan. I thought the plot was perfectly balanced between the two settings and the twist on Neverland (with a little Narnia thrown in for good measure) was a fun and unique take on the original story. From the lovable characters and easy following writing style, to the casual Studio Ghibli, Disney and Yuri on Ice references (I saw them and loved them) and a plot that brilliantly encapsulated the escape so many teens (and adults) dream of, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish. TW: Homophobia, ableism, eating disorder, agoraphobia, panic attacks, discussion of suicide.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    ♦ Video Review ♦ Last Bus to Everland is a novel that, while it includes a portal fantasy world, is much more Contemporary than Fantasy and deals with a lot of friendship and family dynamics, that are all incredibly complex and well done. “There's bravery in surviving this world when your mind can only focus on the bad in it.” Everland, the portal fantasy world, is something that the characters consciously decide to go back to every week, mostly to escape the real world. The existen ♦ Video Review ♦ Last Bus to Everland is a novel that, while it includes a portal fantasy world, is much more Contemporary than Fantasy and deals with a lot of friendship and family dynamics, that are all incredibly complex and well done. “There's bravery in surviving this world when your mind can only focus on the bad in it.” Everland, the portal fantasy world, is something that the characters consciously decide to go back to every week, mostly to escape the real world. The existence in this story is mostly a tool for story telling and character development. Through their time in Everland, the characters learn a lot about themselves and their life and that is a huge theme throughout the book. It also deals with escapism in general and looks at it from all kinds of different angles. Is it good or bad, when does it become a problem and can it be addicting? This is all reflected in different character's decisions and shows the nuance of it. Sadly, because this book focuses so heavily on the real world effects of Everland, I thought that this book did not have enough world building. I didn't need an explanation for this world but I wanted it to be much more described, to have some lush writing, so that I as a reader felt more like I was in this place and never wanted to leave too, but I didn't get that at all. Everland itself fell completely flat for me. The family dynamics were super well done and tackled a lot of issues all at the same time. I loved seeing a family with three kids, as I feel like this is rather rare in YA and it was great to see the two very different relationships that Brody has with his brother and his sister and especially how much those relationships are influenced by their parents and the way they treat them too. Brody's brother is the "smart kid" and gets favoured by their parents in a lot of ways, which obviously leads to tension. But there was great development and seeing them both figure their relationship out, basically seperate from how their parents treat them, was so nice. There is also the very complex relationships that Brody has with his dad. He served in the army and has developed PTSD from it and after an attack on the streets eventually became agoraphobic. I can't speak for the representation of that itself but I thought that the relationship between Brody and his dad was handled with care. It was very clearly stated that this is a disability like any other and nothing that you should tell people to just "get over". At the same time, it doesn't ignore the fact that it can be hard to have a parent with a mental illness. I liked that we saw Brody being angry or upset at his dad but always knowing that it is totally irrational. Basically Brody called himself out whenever he had those thoughts and I liked this balanced portrayal. Very much connected to that, this also brought up the topic of children having to carry the burden of the parents going through financial struggles and how that can affect the relationship between all members of the family because of how different activities get treated as "more important". I also enjoyed the different friendship dynamics. I liked all the characters that Brody would hang out with in Everland, although I definitely wish that we had gotten to know them a little bit better. A lot of them felt like they were purely there to help Brody develop as a character, instead of being really fleshed out characters. It fit with the theme of Everland though, so I didn't mind too much. We also saw Brody's relationship to his best friend from school change because of the time he spends in Everland. It was interesting to see their dynamic change and I liked the emphasis on not liking every single aspect of someone just because you're friends with them. “The shakiness wears off, but it takes a while for the nervous feeling to fade. Nothing about tonight has been quite right. I feel like I've seen something I shouldn't have seen. A monster baring its teeth.” This book also had a wonderful theme of finding your identity, especially as a queer teen, in the way you represent your sexuality or gender and to not be afraid of the stereotypes or feeling like you need to subvert them. And I loved showing how coming out can be vastly different for everyone, even when they are in the same societal environment. The main character himself identifies as gay and there is lesbian, bi and pan rep on page! We also have several people of colour and a side character that uses a wheelchair. Finally, another one of my gripes with this novel was the romantic relationship, that was sadly not very well done and therefore seemed kinda unnecessary. I think with all of the themes in this book, there was just not enough time to develop the romantic feelings between the main character and the love interest and while you could tell who would be Brody's love interest immediately, it still seemed liked the romantic feelings came out of nowhere because it happens from 0 to 100! A friendship between the two would've been much more believable and still could've had the same effect on the character's decisions and actions. I will say there was a theme of how romantic relationships might influence what you decide to do with your future and making potentially irreversible decisions because of your romantic partner. This definitely would not have stood out as much without it being a romantic relationship but at the end of the day, I just still don't think the romance was necessary. Overall, even with its flaws, this book is a really interesting look at portal fantasy worlds and something I would definitely recommend, if you are not too particular about your lush world building. Trigger and content warnings for agoraphobia, PTSD (after being in the army), love ones being in a coma, panic attacks, bullying, eating disorder, drug dealing and death by overdosing, suicidal thoughts. ♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦ I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Burns

    3.5 Stars Review: *I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This has not influenced my review.* I loved how this book felt so realistic and genuine in terms of the characters' struggles and imperfections. They were a bunch of teens dealing with real teen problems---fitting in, figuring themselves out, being bullied, feeling upstaged by siblings, not being understood by parents, needing breaks from all the pressure, struggling with mental illness, having financial problems, having difficul 3.5 Stars Review: *I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This has not influenced my review.* I loved how this book felt so realistic and genuine in terms of the characters' struggles and imperfections. They were a bunch of teens dealing with real teen problems---fitting in, figuring themselves out, being bullied, feeling upstaged by siblings, not being understood by parents, needing breaks from all the pressure, struggling with mental illness, having financial problems, having difficulties with school, not knowing what to do with their futures, etc. They were also a bunch of teens who were good people---maybe not perfect, but not judgmental or mean either. The main character was a relatable one, especially for LGBT+ teens. But honestly, I think a lot of people could find something to relate to in this book. Wouldn't everyone who's ever felt misunderstood or judged or like an outsider love to find a place like Everland where you can just be yourself and have time and space to work through your thoughts and feelings away from the struggles of real life? This book was all about figuring out who you are, learning to accept yourself even if some people never will, coping with life's difficulties, and realizing that even people whose lives look perfect have their own struggles you don't even know about. This was also just an easy book to sink into. There was tension and a bit of an ominous feel as the story went on, and I wanted to know what was going to happen, both in Brody's personal life and with Everland. This book was more contemporary YA than fantasy, which is not something I normally read, but it had relatable and diverse characters, a story that kept me reading, some great messages, and some touching, bittersweet moments that made me tear up a bit. I enjoyed this, and I think it would be especially great for teens. Recommended For: Anyone who likes YA, imperfect but good characters, and books that deal with life's difficulties in a poignant way. Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] A fun, inclusive story about lonely, queer teenagers in Edinburgh meeting each night in a magical portal world to party, bond and find a place where they belong. I love Sophie Cameron's writing, and it was especially nice to read a book with locations where I've been.

  7. 4 out of 5

    cathy (polluxreads)

    Actual rating for this is somewhere between 2-3 stars. I read Sophie Cameron's Out of the Blue earlier this year and was absolutely blown away by it. It was easily one of my favorite books I read this year, though when I first began it, I didn't think that would happen. Last Bus to Everland, on the other hand, had the opposite effect on me... The story follows Brody, a British teen in high school who is made fun of by the mean girls in his class for being gay. His father has a mental illness, his Actual rating for this is somewhere between 2-3 stars. I read Sophie Cameron's Out of the Blue earlier this year and was absolutely blown away by it. It was easily one of my favorite books I read this year, though when I first began it, I didn't think that would happen. Last Bus to Everland, on the other hand, had the opposite effect on me... The story follows Brody, a British teen in high school who is made fun of by the mean girls in his class for being gay. His father has a mental illness, his family barely has any money, and compared to his genius brother, he feels like a failure. Then he meets a boy, Nico, and Nico's friends, who show him a world called Everland that appears every night on Thursday. This novel is all obviously a big play on Peter Pan (which just so happens to be one of Brody's favorites), but here's the thing: the book has no plot, and it feels like nothing really happens. Each chapter is just Thursday of Brody in Everland. He goes, he flirts with Nico, he joins a band, and repeat. When Brody is at home, all he does is whine about his life. Which, listen, he has it hard, and some of it I can understand. But really, it's all he does. He even calls himself out on it a few times. But after almost 3o0 pages, it just becomes annoying. There's no world building with Everland. It changes landscapes all the time, but never enough for any of it to be important. Then Brody has to ask himself this question: should he stay in Everland forever, or not? I won't say what happens and spoil the book, though. Honestly, a lot of this feels like choppy plot points being thrown together to create a full novel without most of it being touched on. Like, something gets mentioned and then it just really isn't anymore, or it doesn't have a full explanation. And while I give the book kudos for having good queer/mentally ill representation, Brody's and Nico's relationship isn't really anything to write home about. Because, like the rest of the book, it just feels like nothing's there. Overall, it's an okay book, and I'll admit there were times where it made me emotional, but it only had me turning the pages just so I could find out what was really going to happen to Brody and Nico. I'll definitely read more by Sophie Cameron, and obviously I recommend Out of the Blue. This book, I say give it a chance yourself, but it's just meh to me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger

    I'm also a book blogger: Vee_Bookish Last Bus To Everland is an incredible LGBT, Gay coming-of-age novel featuring my new obsession - doors that take you to magical worlds where anything is possible. Everland gives the people that find it a chance to escape the everyday life they're trapped in, with no time passing when they return. For some, it becomes an obsession. I loved that every character had their unique thing they were escaping from, strict parents, an overworked violin prodigy, a muslim I'm also a book blogger: Vee_Bookish Last Bus To Everland is an incredible LGBT, Gay coming-of-age novel featuring my new obsession - doors that take you to magical worlds where anything is possible. Everland gives the people that find it a chance to escape the everyday life they're trapped in, with no time passing when they return. For some, it becomes an obsession. I loved that every character had their unique thing they were escaping from, strict parents, an overworked violin prodigy, a muslim girl who is a full time carer for her mother. And drum player Ollie, who feels like he's drifting in life with no direction, unable to admit to his parents that he's gay. I did have a few issues with this book - I really wanted a knock-your-socks-off gay romance, especially as I shipped Nico and Brody so, so much. But this book isn't about that, it's about coming to terms with growing up. There was also some major stuff going down in Everland that was not explained, which left me hoping for a sequel that might clear that up. I loved the idea of Everland so much, it would be the exact sort of place that would be difficult to leave if I was a teenager and I think I would have been one of the ones that stayed. There's so much representation in this book, physical and mental disabilities, diverse lgbt characters, I'm just in love with the whole thing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    You know those books you pick up pretty much at random, entirely unsuspecting, and then they just sneak up and hit you right in the feels? This was one of those for me. At once sad and beautiful, depressing and uplifting, a bittersweet and utterly lovely tale full of quiet magic, friendship and love, with complex characters that feel utterly real.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    THIS BOOK MAKES ME SO SAD.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Ambos

    4,5* this was really beautiful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Collazo

    Last Bus to Everland comes with three starred reviews and a Goodreads rating well over 4.0. I actually kind of hate when this happens. I expect so much from books that get this amount of praise. And yes, Last Bus to Everland was good. But was it GREAT? Meh. Possibly I expected to much; I certainly do that sometimes... This is a snippet of a longer review from a secondary school librarian. To see the full review, along with content notes and whether I would buy this for my library, please read the Last Bus to Everland comes with three starred reviews and a Goodreads rating well over 4.0. I actually kind of hate when this happens. I expect so much from books that get this amount of praise. And yes, Last Bus to Everland was good. But was it GREAT? Meh. Possibly I expected to much; I certainly do that sometimes... This is a snippet of a longer review from a secondary school librarian. To see the full review, along with content notes and whether I would buy this for my library, please read the full review on the MrsReaderPants blog.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Brinkman

    Ignoring the monsters doesn't mean they disappear. Brody doesn't feel like he truly belongs anywhere in this world. No one gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and especially not the kids at school who make his life miserable. But when Brody meets Nico, his life changes for the better. Nico takes Brody to a "knock-off Narnia" that opens its doors at exactly the same time every Thursday. There, amongst a group of fellow misfits, Brody finally feels at peace. This "kn Ignoring the monsters doesn't mean they disappear. Brody doesn't feel like he truly belongs anywhere in this world. No one gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and especially not the kids at school who make his life miserable. But when Brody meets Nico, his life changes for the better. Nico takes Brody to a "knock-off Narnia" that opens its doors at exactly the same time every Thursday. There, amongst a group of fellow misfits, Brody finally feels at peace. This "knock-off Narnia", they call Everland, is a place where they can finally be themselves, indulging in their deepest desires. But when the doors to Everland start to disappear, Brody must make a decision. Will he leave Everland and Nico behind, or will he risk saying goodbye to his family forever? A story of escaping reality. A boy shutting the door on pain, only to find it was already inside. Trigger warning for violence, bullying, depression, homophobia, an eating disorder, and agoraphobia. An awkward loner, Brody felt lost. Though a victim of the ever common teenage angst, he faced many real life problems like poverty, mental illness, and academic pressure. Waves of happiness and sadness coursed through me as he traversed the endless bounds of Everland, rediscovering joy. Although he felt ostracized from his family, it was clear that he loved them dearly, as he did everything he could to help them. Despite his sadness by the end of the novel, Brody was a new person entirely, ready to repair broken relationships and face the real world. From the artistic dreamer that was Nico, to the core group of friends he made in Everland, from his best friend in reality, to the girls who tormented him, from his poverty-stricken family to their adorable cat, Tink, Brody touched more peoples' lives than he knew. Unique, every one of the supporting cast was burdened with an emotional backstory that made them even more complex. Not only were the characters themselves beautifully written, but there was amazing representation for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color,and people with mental illness and physical disabilities as well. The tense yet tender relationships between Brody's family were realistically painful. Everyone of Brody's relationships were chock full of feelings and showed just how much of a gaping hole he would leave if he left either of the worlds behind. What does escape look like for you? Perhaps to it's benefit, Everland was vaguely depicted. Incredibly intriguing, it was easy to see why Brody and his friends became addicted to the place where dreams come alive. A perfect blend of reality with forays into the fantastic, Sophie Cameron's novel was full of relatable trials and tribulations. The way she crafted the cases for both reality and Everland was compelling. As to which place Brody's heart would land was a mystery until the very end. Mental illness was touched upon with the gentlest of hands as it showed how incredibly impactful it is on the whole family. I also loved the novel's reminder that people with mental illness deserve to be treated fairly, just like everyone else. Similar to these gentle souls that never wished to leave Everland, I never wanted this book to end. It's well worth it to take The Last Bus to Everland, at least for a while.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Surprises can be a hit or a miss for me. Sometimes it's like sticking my hand in a mystery box and hoping nothing cuts my fingers off. I came into Everland thinking it'd be a light and quirky story about a boy who goes to a magical world and discovers himself while befriending a band of misfits. Instead, I got something more quiet and poignant: a story about mental health and identity and what happens when life becomes too heavy to bear on your own. So I think things worked out pretty well with th Surprises can be a hit or a miss for me. Sometimes it's like sticking my hand in a mystery box and hoping nothing cuts my fingers off. I came into Everland thinking it'd be a light and quirky story about a boy who goes to a magical world and discovers himself while befriending a band of misfits. Instead, I got something more quiet and poignant: a story about mental health and identity and what happens when life becomes too heavy to bear on your own. So I think things worked out pretty well with this one. All fingers intact. If you're looking for a portal fantasy story with an emphasis on "fantasy," this probably isn't for you because Everland is one of the least developed portal fantasy worlds I've come across. That's not entirely a criticism, though, because detailed worldbuilding wouldn't have fit the vibe of the story. It's supposed to be a world that's magical in a vague and scattered kind of way, more like a virtual reality club than an actual fantasy setting--cool things to see (massive libraries, festivals, beaches) and interesting people to meet, but not a whole lot of depth to it all. A place that's different enough from the the real world for it to be an escape. There were definitely moments where I wished I had something more to chew on, but overall I didn't mind it. So what makes the book good? First of all, it's a YA contemporay-ish novel that's set in Scotland which already sets it apart from most of its peers. Secondly, Brody's narration is easy and charming (I loved his Scottish brogue) and his empathy pulls your right in. Thirdly, the cast is super diverse--Everland allows people from all over the world to mingle--and they're all interesting characters with their own little backstories. Fourthly, and most importantly (for me, anyway): the mental health representation. Pretty much every character is struggling with something in their lives. Like Cameron's father, for example, which was a complete surprise for me because we don't often see father figures in media going through mental health issues. Either they're strong and well put-together, or their illness manifests in violent and abusive tendencies. Empathetic portrayals are few and far between. Well, serious kudos to Cameron because Brody's father has agoraphobia and her portrayal of it is stunningly real and painful. What I love most about the story, though, is that it explores the invisible hardships that people deal with on a daily basis--depression, anxiety, phobias, eating disorders--and the idea that just because you think someone's life is perfect and untroubled, doesn't mean it actually is. When I was in undergrad, a friend opened up about how she was going through anxieties and depressive episodes and how uncertain she was about her future. Then she punctuated it by saying that I couldn't possibly understand her feelings because I was happy; I had a loving boyfriend and knew exactly what I wanted to do once I graduated. And well. Talk about words that make you feel small. I get why she said it. Often times we can be so wrapped up in our own heads that we don't see past our own darkness. And we can't help but weigh our suffering on a scale and see how it compares to someone else's. See whose life comes out the shittiest. But I think that's a train of thought that only does harm in the long run, breeding resentment in a world that already has its fair share. Life is hard and people hurt in different ways. Ways that aren't often visible to others. Your rich and successful neighbour might be dealing with panic attacks on a regular basis. Your friend who wears a smile 24/7 might be wrestling with suicidal thoughts. You just don't know sometimes. Your demons don't negate the existence of other people's demons and, conversely, other people's demons don't make yours worth any less. Like it or not, we're all in this together. And the book addresses all of that in a beautifully candid way. Characters get open and honest about their feelings by the end of the story, and it's touching to see friends and families air their problems and come together in moments of mutual understanding. A lot of "You feel that way? I'm sorry, I didn't know that" and "I know what you mean--I've felt that way too." Some people might call it cheesy; I found it cathartic. Everland isn't a book that had me bouncing off the walls and wanting to scream from the rooftops, but it is a book that made me feel warm and satisfied and a little wistful. Like waking up smiling from a dream and trying to chase the tail ends of it. And sometimes that's enough. ~ Review copy provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mc

    It has been a very long time since I’ve gobbled a book up so greedily. As I close the cover I can’t help but muse that, once again, a book that I so desperately needed to read fell into my lap at the exact point in my life that I needed to read it. Sophie Cameron tells the story of a boy who, like the rest of us, is struggling to find his place in the world. Lost in feelings of inadequacy, fear of the future, and stressors of his complicated life, Brody is searching for what all of us have and co It has been a very long time since I’ve gobbled a book up so greedily. As I close the cover I can’t help but muse that, once again, a book that I so desperately needed to read fell into my lap at the exact point in my life that I needed to read it. Sophie Cameron tells the story of a boy who, like the rest of us, is struggling to find his place in the world. Lost in feelings of inadequacy, fear of the future, and stressors of his complicated life, Brody is searching for what all of us have and continue to: himself, his tribe, and a grip on the never ending monkey wrenches that the world tries to beat him down with. But when he finds relief and a piece of himself in the fantastical realm of Everland, his grip on the real world starts to slip away. I cannot praise the character development enough. I walked right along side Brody and his friends. I know his pains, his confusion, and the hope he lost and reclaimed over the course of his story. And I know you will too. We all have a version of Everland that helps us put one foot in front of the other and find ourselves at some point in our lives. When you read the closing sentence and set this amazing book down, I hope you can remember that moment, that person, or that place too, and smile. (Received an ARC from Goodreads Giveaway Contest, and thank gosh I did!)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ross Duffy

    Great story with characters who steal your heart. At the beginning I didn’t think this was for me but as I read on, I actually really began to enjoy it. It is so imaginative and I loved its concept!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    "I found Everland. I found my people." He smiles and gives my shoulder a little push. "And now you have, too." When I started reading Last Bus to Everland I wasn't sure what I expected, maybe a light read about a boy who discovers a secret world where he can escape all of his real-life problems, and while at its heart that's what Last Bus to Everland was there were a lot of deeper parts to this book as well. Brody had a lot he was struggling with, but so did his family and his friends. We see "I found Everland. I found my people." He smiles and gives my shoulder a little push. "And now you have, too." When I started reading Last Bus to Everland I wasn't sure what I expected, maybe a light read about a boy who discovers a secret world where he can escape all of his real-life problems, and while at its heart that's what Last Bus to Everland was there were a lot of deeper parts to this book as well. Brody had a lot he was struggling with, but so did his family and his friends. We see them all grow in this books and the representation and character development were all incredible. Full review available on my blog Reading Every Night

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jen Gallagher

    If you’ve not yet read Sophie Cameron’s debut novel, Out of the Blue, then you won’t know what a magical treat you’re in for. With her second novel, Last Bus to Everland, Sophie has once again delivered an emotional, realistic, contemporary novel, full of love, hope, and magic. The novel is set in Scotland as well as a magical Narnia-esque place, and delivers its story with such a light touch, while still reaching deep into some serious issues. The way the story deals with bullying is exemplary, If you’ve not yet read Sophie Cameron’s debut novel, Out of the Blue, then you won’t know what a magical treat you’re in for. With her second novel, Last Bus to Everland, Sophie has once again delivered an emotional, realistic, contemporary novel, full of love, hope, and magic. The novel is set in Scotland as well as a magical Narnia-esque place, and delivers its story with such a light touch, while still reaching deep into some serious issues. The way the story deals with bullying is exemplary, and allows us to follow Brody through a full arc of emotions in how he deals with (or doesn’t deal with) bullies. I really appreciated how Brody doesn’t just suddenly find an inner strength out of nothing in order to cope with his bullies, but slowly builds up to a place where he can confront them and start to push back. One of the things that is explored superbly in Last Bus to Everland is poverty. Brody is part of a working-class family, and Sophie Cameron approaches that head on, never shying away from the hardships his family faces, and providing no magical cures. We definitely need more books that deal with parents working shifts, cutting back on food, and struggling to pay bills – and discussing this with their children. How this is portrayed, and Brody’s reactions to this, are carefully weaved into the magical storyline, allowing the reader to feel a part of the family and the struggles they are going through. Brody is not a perfect character, he has flaws and complexity. This was exhibited fantastically in how he responds to his father’s mental illness. Brody tries to sympathise, but often times doesn’t quite know how to keep being understanding when faced with all the difficulties the family faces. This realistic response is portrayed with subtle understanding and compassion by Sophie. As with her debut, in Last Bus to Everland Sophie Cameron delivers a novel of quietly built tension, low-key passion, and believable love and friendship between a diverse cast of LGBTQ teens. A brilliant novel that will appeal to fans of contemporary or fantasy YA.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I'm absolutely a lover of fantasy. So when I saw Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron on Netgalley, I knew that I had to give it a read. When I first started reading it, actually, I was reading it out loud to my husband in the car. I read the first paragraph of this and another book and asked him which one sounded more interesting. We both agreed that Last Bus to Everland had a better hook! Brody Fair seems to be your run-of-the-mill teenager. He feels overlooked, bullied, has low self-esteem, a I'm absolutely a lover of fantasy. So when I saw Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron on Netgalley, I knew that I had to give it a read. When I first started reading it, actually, I was reading it out loud to my husband in the car. I read the first paragraph of this and another book and asked him which one sounded more interesting. We both agreed that Last Bus to Everland had a better hook! Brody Fair seems to be your run-of-the-mill teenager. He feels overlooked, bullied, has low self-esteem, and just overall struggles to enjoy his life. One day while being teased by the neighborhood girls who call him "Fairy," he meets Nico, who is definitely not your run-of-the-mill teenager. He is a handsome art student who stands up for Brody and to top it all off, he is wearing wings. Nico invites Brody to join him and his friends at a party. Turns out this isn't really a party, but an adventure of a lifetime. Every Thursday night at 11:21 pm, a portal opens to another world, something like a "knock-off Narnia" that Nico and his friends like to call "Everland." But no matter what they do there or how long they stay, when they go back through the portal to their normal lives, only a few minutes have passed. Brody finally feels like he is "seen." He makes new friends, he gets to enjoy his hobbies and talents and best of all, it's an escape from his perfect older brother and his family's money problems. But suddenly, Brody finds himself facing the possibility of either losing "Everland" or losing his life and his family. Will he get on the "last bus to Everland?" This is Sophie Cameron's 2nd book (Her first is Out of the Blue). While Last Bus to Everland is already out in the UK, it will be released in the US on June 18th! You can pre-order your own copy here! Sophie is from Scotland (guess that's why the book is set in Edinburgh) but she lives with her wife in Barcelona! She is a lover of cats, banjos, and learning new languages. Similar to my review of The Disasters, I really liked that this book had such a diverse group of characters all facing different problems and life situations without it feeling all just mashed together for diversity sake. Brody is gay, there are other side characters of varying sexualities and ethnicities, his best friend deals with an eating disorder, and his dad is agoraphobic. The characters felt natural and well-written! It really draws you into reading the book. There were a TON of references to Peter Pan, Neverland, Tinkerbell, etc. as should be expected in a book called "Everland." Brody reminisces about his childhood memories of these things and it reminded me of watching the Disney movie and all its characters. I liked this book and I zoomed through it thanks to its quick pacing, deep characters, and strong motivations. I think Cameron did a fantastic job of making sure that this was a fun, playful book while also tackling struggles that many teens face at school, at home, with their friends. Is it worth losing our grip on reality in order to escape the harsh things we face on a day to day basis? I recommend this book for lovers of fantasy, Peter Pan, Queer and diverse characters, and well-written YA books. I hope you'll give it a chance.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Misti

    Life's not going so great for Brody: his family is in financial difficulties, the neighborhood mean girls have picked him as their favorite target, and he'll never be as smart or important or appreciated as his genius brother James. One day, when the mean girls have kidnapped his beloved cat, he's unexpectedly rescued by a boy with enormous blue papier-mâché wings, Nico, who invites Brody to come to a specific place at a very specific time. Intrigued, Brody shows up, half expecting that he's bee Life's not going so great for Brody: his family is in financial difficulties, the neighborhood mean girls have picked him as their favorite target, and he'll never be as smart or important or appreciated as his genius brother James. One day, when the mean girls have kidnapped his beloved cat, he's unexpectedly rescued by a boy with enormous blue papier-mâché wings, Nico, who invites Brody to come to a specific place at a very specific time. Intrigued, Brody shows up, half expecting that he's been the butt of yet another unkind joke -- but then Nico and his friends arrive, and together they step through a door into another world. Everland is a place of pure wish-fulfillment, where nobody can get hurt and everybody can be whoever they want to be. However, as time goes on, Brody learns that the doors that lead to Everland from different parts of their world are disappearing. Before their door disappears, Brody and Nico must make a choice. Nico is determined to stay in Everland, but can Brody leave behind his family and real-world friends? I loved this gritty, bittersweet fantasy. In general, I'm a fan of books that play with the tropes of portal fantasy, as this one does. Brody's hardships felt legitimate, and it was hard to guess what decision he would make in the end ((view spoiler)[or whether the choice would be taken out of his hands by the disappearance of the door -- I was anxious that he would convince Nico to return, but that they would not be able to do so because the door disappeared while they were still in Everland (hide spoiler)] ). If you enjoy this sort of fantasy, this one is highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristel

    Bittersweet kind of story about not thinking you're enough or have a place on earth for you to fit in. It tackles lots of hard themes, and it gives you realness mixed with fantasy. I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. I found Brody a bit too much sometimes like he was really exaggerating things with his moods. But then I thought of myself, and it happens. So often. You get into one bad day mood and even the tiniest of things make you want to wreck the world. I just felt sad: about how he Bittersweet kind of story about not thinking you're enough or have a place on earth for you to fit in. It tackles lots of hard themes, and it gives you realness mixed with fantasy. I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. I found Brody a bit too much sometimes like he was really exaggerating things with his moods. But then I thought of myself, and it happens. So often. You get into one bad day mood and even the tiniest of things make you want to wreck the world. I just felt sad: about how he felt like he was a waste of space, like he wasn't enough, like people didn't even notice he was there. I cared about Brody's wellbeing. He deserved to have the life he pictured in his head, with a boyfriend, his beloved cat, his friends, and I family who saw him and accepted him flaws and all. Everland sounded pretty amazing. I would've used the time there to learn a new language, read a long book, learn to play an instrument. And I could've been brave enough to befriend people from around the world and maybe being their pen pals! It sounded like a great idea! The side characters each had a well rounded personality and the more I read about them, the more I liked them. They seemed carefree even if that really wasn't the truth. Nico was a rollercoaster: full of life but at the same time full of sorrow, of missed opportunities. As I said, this was a very bittersweet book that ended in the most hopeful note I could've asked for. I really liked it and I would recommend it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Briana

    I really enjoyed this book! Everland is a really cool idea, and I like how it was developed because I loved the conflict felt by these characters about Everland, especially with Brody. However, I have to be honest. I dislike Nico. A lot. I know he talks about how he knows he's privileged but I literally get so annoyed by him because his character is so stagnant and ignorant of everything. Because of that, it made the read a bit more painful than I would've liked it to be. Also, I honestly didn't I really enjoyed this book! Everland is a really cool idea, and I like how it was developed because I loved the conflict felt by these characters about Everland, especially with Brody. However, I have to be honest. I dislike Nico. A lot. I know he talks about how he knows he's privileged but I literally get so annoyed by him because his character is so stagnant and ignorant of everything. Because of that, it made the read a bit more painful than I would've liked it to be. Also, I honestly didn't feel that bad for him because I sympathized so much more with Brody, who was a pretty solid character (his thought process was one that I could follow and understand/empathize with). But, because of that, I felt like that made the other characters around him seem not as fleshed out (like Megan, Jake, etc.). All in all, despite the issues I had with characters and their development, I thought this was a good book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I really loved the feel of this book - it’s sort of gently whimsical but still dealing with teenage life. Brody doesn’t feel like he fits in really, but finds Nico and Everland and begins to drift from his real life into the wonderful fantasy that is Everland. Much like Cameron’s previous book, this is a perfect blend of contemporary and fantastical. Everland is the perfect foil to the reality of Brody’s rea I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I really loved the feel of this book - it’s sort of gently whimsical but still dealing with teenage life. Brody doesn’t feel like he fits in really, but finds Nico and Everland and begins to drift from his real life into the wonderful fantasy that is Everland. Much like Cameron’s previous book, this is a perfect blend of contemporary and fantastical. Everland is the perfect foil to the reality of Brody’s real life, and feeling like he doesn’t know where he’s heading. In some ways that doesn’t change in the book, he just becomes more comfortable with it, which I really like. The book is also casually inclusive - lots of different races and sexualities, which is awesome. Really lovely and enjoyable read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine Smith

    When we think about Peter Pan, Wendy, and the Lost Boys, we think about Neverland a place where you never have to grow up. Sophie Cameron took the story and added a modern twist. While NOT Neverland, a door mysteriously opens in Edinburgh, Scotland every Thursday at 11;40 pm, and Cameron's cast of characters walk through into a magical place called Everland. It is a magical place where time stands still. There is no hardship and each person who enters gets to experience all the things that make When we think about Peter Pan, Wendy, and the Lost Boys, we think about Neverland a place where you never have to grow up. Sophie Cameron took the story and added a modern twist. While NOT Neverland, a door mysteriously opens in Edinburgh, Scotland every Thursday at 11;40 pm, and Cameron's cast of characters walk through into a magical place called Everland. It is a magical place where time stands still. There is no hardship and each person who enters gets to experience all the things that make them happy. Brody Fair is an outcast in his family, in the neighborhood, and in school. When he meets a boy named Nicho who wears wings and makeup, he finally finds the kinship and possibly fall in love with someone to who he can relate to. It is Nicho who introduces Brody to Everland and as his "real life" disintegrates, he craves all the Everland has to offer. However, the doors are closing and soon, the one that connects Brody to Edinburgh and his family may just trap him inside Everland forever. I really loved the story. We all have at one point in our lives felt like an outcast and that people just didn't understand us. We suffer hardships and wish we could find a place where we can just be and find joy in life. Brody and even Nicho's struggles to find acceptance is so heartwarming and so relevant to all that is going on around us. I especially LOVED Joshua Mannings's narration on the audio version. His Scottish brogue added authenticity to the narration. His pacing was fantastic and his style didn't seem forced or make me want to wince! I highly recommend this book as it is sweet and makes us recognize the value of friendships and being happy in one's skin.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy (Golden Books Girl)

    In her second novel, Sophie Cameron tells the story of a boy named Brody who is being bullied at school and feels like an outcast in his own family, as he meets a mysterious boy called Nico and starts going to Everland with him- a magical world you can enter once a week where you be entirely yourself. This was such an interesting concept, and I enjoyed seeing it executed- the exploration of whether Everland is really all it seems was fascinating and I loved the way that going there helps Brody r In her second novel, Sophie Cameron tells the story of a boy named Brody who is being bullied at school and feels like an outcast in his own family, as he meets a mysterious boy called Nico and starts going to Everland with him- a magical world you can enter once a week where you be entirely yourself. This was such an interesting concept, and I enjoyed seeing it executed- the exploration of whether Everland is really all it seems was fascinating and I loved the way that going there helps Brody rebuild his real life, and seeing how it affected different characters lives for better and worse. I also liked the storyline with Brody`s family, as difficult as their circumstances are to read about for a lot of the book. I particularly enjoyed his relationship with Jake- his genius brother. A clever magical realism novel that had me turning pages very quickly indeed to see how things turned out 4/5

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    I received an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Let me start by saying, I really loved this book! I’m a big fan of a portal fantasy trope to begin with, but I was not expecting the complex cast of diverse characters I would find in these pages. While this book deals with a “knockoff Narnia”, the themes are much more mature. The author deftly explores a range of issues that so many deal with today. From LGBT characters coming into their own, a I received an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Let me start by saying, I really loved this book! I’m a big fan of a portal fantasy trope to begin with, but I was not expecting the complex cast of diverse characters I would find in these pages. While this book deals with a “knockoff Narnia”, the themes are much more mature. The author deftly explores a range of issues that so many deal with today. From LGBT characters coming into their own, a true picture of mental illness, realistic family dynamics, and dealing with bullying, the author isn’t afraid to tackle hard subjects and does so beautifully. I highly recommend this book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Martyn Sanderson

    goodbye no one need write another YA book ever again because this is perfection and i might have finished it half an hour ago but you bet your ass im still sobbing like a mad person. sophie cameron, keep doing what ya doin girl, i will read anything you ever publish from now until the end of time because if this magnificent book honestly no words can do justice so i’m not gonna try, just read this because it’s so special and magical and AHHH i’m crying again

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This one took me a while to get through. A fantasy/contemporary novel about a 16-year-old Scottish boy who is gay, trying to find his place in life. He's introduced too Everland by Nico, a place he believes is the only place he can be himself. Turns out Everland is only an escape from the harsh realities of the real world. The book deals with family dynamics, friendship, first love, poverty, and self-discovery. I flip flopped between 3 and 4 stars. It didn't grab me, may not really stay with me. This one took me a while to get through. A fantasy/contemporary novel about a 16-year-old Scottish boy who is gay, trying to find his place in life. He's introduced too Everland by Nico, a place he believes is the only place he can be himself. Turns out Everland is only an escape from the harsh realities of the real world. The book deals with family dynamics, friendship, first love, poverty, and self-discovery. I flip flopped between 3 and 4 stars. It didn't grab me, may not really stay with me. It's a maybe book for me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emma Ferrier

    4.5 stars I adored this book. I love Sophie Cameron's writing, I love her characters and stories and the fact her books are set in Edinburgh and practically mention my doorstep! This filled me with so many emotions and maybe I'm just depressed af but this made me want to cry so many times and JUST UGH I LOVE BRODY AND TINK AND NICO AND KASIA AND JETT AND EVERYONE ELSE OK

  30. 4 out of 5

    noah

    im gonna cry. this was so wow. this book actually really reminded me of when i had pretty bad psychosis. which made the reading experience equal parts terrifying and awesome. two things i loved were: - the diversity!! - it's a scottish book written by a scottish author that takes place in scotland.

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