Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title/Author: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Buy It: Amazon / Book Depository

     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-on-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 that all 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?

     Oh man, you guys. This book is INTENSE. Every time I start a Sarah Rees Brennan book I know I'm in for characters who are so real they slip into your affections easily and refuse to leave once you shut the book, and Unspoken was not an exception. Kami Glass is an intelligent, sarcastic, and intrepid girl report who manages to be all of those things without coming off as false at all. She is an incredibly genuine girl who I would totally want to be best friends with if she was, you know, not fictional.

     Kami stands up for herself and her friends, who are also very realistically drawn. These are not people thrown in simply to advance the plot; Kami is close with her friends, trusts them and, in a twist on the usual (read: annoying) friendships in recent YA actually confides in her friends when things start getting weird. Or, weirder, really.

     The relationship between Kami and her not-so-imaginary friend Jared is a complex and beautiful thing. They have shared their lives with one another from the time that they were born, neither truly believing the other exists outside the bonds of their own mind. Their reactions to finding out their imaginary friends are real, and all of the stumbling and feeling out of boundaries that ensues afterward was at times hilarious and heartbreaking (damn you, Sarah Rees Brennan!) but always genuine.

  Throw in a centuries old mystery surrounding this quiet little English town, a ritual sacrifice, incredibly funny dialogue between characters you will fall hard for, a murder, and sleuthing that would make Veronica Mars proud and you've got one hell of a book. You wont be able to put it down, and the sequel is shooting to the top of my TBR list. Seriously. SO MUCH LOVE.

     If for some crazy reason you haven't read anything else by Sarah Rees Brennan I would suggest that you get your fix of wonderfully flawed characters and supernatural creepiness by picking up her series The Demons Lexicon.

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