Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: September 11, 2012
Source: ARC from the publisher
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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?
Unspoken was one of those books that, once it hit my geeky radar, it never disappeared, and I never stopped anticipating it. I'm a fan of Gothic novels, as well as romances, and Unspoken is a delightfully twisty mixture of both. Filled with Sarah Rees Brennan's trademark snappy humor, as well as a well-rounded cast of characters that I loved getting to know, I sped through this book and had to force myself to savor the pages, since I didn't want it to end!
Somewhere between laughing at the one-liners in Unspoken, and marveling at the seamlessly unfolding plot, I fell in love with most of the main characters, including Kami, Jared, Holly, and Angela. Each of the characters contributed to story, and I cannot imagine Brennan's books without any of them. From Kami's tenaciousness, to Holly's huge heart, to Angela's snark, I loved them all. They all felt realistic, and not overdone or romanticized for the sake of the story.
By far my favorite aspect of Unspoken was the plot. I wanted to sink into the gloomy, seductive atmosphere. All the hallmarks of a terrific Gothic novel were there: the sinister ancestral home, the spooky, majestic family, the hint of dark, family secrets. Add a plucky heroine to all that, who loves mysteries, and I could barely stop reading this book. The murmurings of magic and myths were cleverly done - Sarah Rees Brennan revealed just enough to have me asking questions and demanding to know more!
And no review of Unspoken would be complete, or ever do this story justice, without mentioning the romance. Finally, a YA novel without insta-love! In fact, romance isn't even a huge part of the story, which made me applaud. What insinuations were there, were done beautifully, leaving me with an aching heart. Brennan is a bold author, who gives readers what they need, which doesn't always line up with what they want.
Bonus: Want my ARC? (Since the rumor is that the cover is changing soon, this is a limited deal!) Just leave a comment with YOUR favorite Gothic/scary novel, and I'll choose a random winner. Open US/Canada!)
Other Books by This Author:
The Demon's Lexicon
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The Diviners by Libba Bray