Release Date: September 11th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Blurb: Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?
Have you ever had a vision of the perfect book in your mind? Pictured a setting, a theme, the storyline and characters? Maybe this makes me strange, but I always have. I’ve always pictured this big gothic manor in the woods–there definitely has to be a creepy forest–and it always has some form of magic (maybe witches) and a healthy romance between two teens. Obviously I am just talking about the young adult genre here, but Unspoken covered all of these things and then some.
I had heard great things about Sarah Rees Brennan before. I’m not sure I will ever read her Demon Lexicon series (it doesn’t really interest me), but I jumped at the chance to read this one. The blurb really pulled me in, and I am happy to say that it was as delightfully creepy as the blurb makes it sound. The story was really entertaining and I had a ton of fun reading this book. But if there is one area in which Unspoken stands out, it is in the characterization of its protagonist Kami.
Kami was strong, funny, sarcastic…she’s basically a fearless badass. She is definitely NOT your typical YA heroine. She would never be dependent on a man, and she would certainly never let a boy control her. She is independent all the way and she truly knows who she is. She’s easy to root for. Her dialogue was witty and I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say next. Or do next. She’s possibly my favorite protagonist of the year so far. It’s a tight race but she really brought something special and new to the table.
The writing was pretty fantastic as well. The tone was sometimes whimsical and sometimes very serious, but it was always what it needed to be at the right time. I loved the author’s word choices. The dialogue was humorous and I found myself laughing often. I don’t think it’s the type of humor that will agree with everyone, but I think fans of dry humor and intelligent comedy will enjoy it.
If there is one thing to complain about–and believe me when I say there isn’t much–it’s that there were a couple of spots where I felt the writing was a little choppy and could have used better transitions. But this is a very minor detail and I really only noticed it, at the most, three times. The book is also a little of a slow starter. It takes a little bit of patience, but it finally got going for me around page 102. So if you are the type of person who gives up at page 50, DON’T. Stick it out a little longer. It’s worth it. The beautiful writing and setting should be enough to get you there.
The mystery completely fooled me. All along I was trying to figure it out, and I did get a few things right, but mostly…not so much. I felt kind of stupid, but at the same time, I really love it when an author manages to get one over on me. It’s part of the reason why I truly enjoyed this book. The clues are there, the foreshadowing works, but it’s hidden well, and that is the mark of a talented writer.
In closing, just a checklist of all the things I enjoyed:
~Characters, especially Kami and Angela.
~The humor. This book was just really funny. Kami’s dad was full of fabulous lines.
~The writing. Vivid, whimsical, creepy, and exactly what it needed to be at all the right times.
~The mystery. You will be fooled. And if you aren’t, you are much more intelligent than I.
~The setting and sensory language. Brilliant and so vividly written.
Bottom line: This is exactly the book I needed at the right time. I’ve read several disappointing books in a row and this book hit the dang spot and made me love reading again.