Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
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“You’re crazy,” said her best friend, Angela, as the bell rang to signal five minutes before the first class on the first day back at school.
“They said that about all the great visionaries.”
“You know who else they said it about?” Angela demanded. “All the actual crazy people.”
― Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken
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? (Goodreads)
I have been anxiously awaiting this book for months. It was love at first sight. As in, I saw the cover and screamed I want now! I had such high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, while the book was enjoyable, it lacked a certain something. That extra magic that transforms a good book into a fantastic book.
Unspoken had the potential for greatness. The characters were extremely quirky, and their conversation was entertaining. I adored Kami. Who am I kidding? Kami made the book. With her witty banter and spunkiness. Here's a couple of examples:
“Put the jerk in the south wing, you won't see him for weeks at a time. Or lock him in the attic. The law will not be on your side, but literary precedent will.”or
“ 'What's going on with you?' Jared asked out of the blue.She was somebody I would love to be best friends with. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I found her hilarious. I loved that she was a writer too! Her curiosity was dangerous but so infectious. She was bold and outspoken, and I loved how fearless she was when in danger.
'Beginning a new era of journalistic history,' Kami told him, sending her cheer through their connection. 'Also, to be perfectly honest, Angela and I were slapping our asses. As one does.' ”
The names were so creative and amusing. Sorry-in-the-Vale and the Sorrier River. The quaint, little, everybody knows everybody town had its secrets, as any small town does. The book was beautifully written, almost poetic. The vivid descriptions of the town, the Lynburn mansion Aurimere, and the woods instilled in me a longing to enter the pages and see these places for myself. The Gothic and mystery elements were also a nice touch. While the town was described as beautiful, there was a darkness behind that beauty, lurking in the shadows. The Lynburn family certainly had a macabre taste in interior decorating. I found Kami's little Snoopy gang and her role as Nancy Drew amusing. And the premise was certainly unique and fascinating. I wish I had thought this stuff up.
While I loved the town and the storyline, I found it difficult to connect with the characters. Besides Kami, I felt the other characters fell flat. I just needed more character development or richer scenes with Ash, Holly, and Angela. At first, Angela's laziness and rude comments were amusing, but then it became annoying. I needed all of the characters to be more fleshed out. Not knowing more about the characters didn't work towards the mystery of the novel. It just annoyed me and I shouldn't have to wait till the second book for more characterization. I even felt distanced from Jared. We were only given snatches of his feelings or a general impression of his character. I was impartial about who Kami ended up with, whether it was Ash or Jared, because I wasn't fully invested in the characters. There were also a lot of slow parts in the book where the plot dragged along, and nothing really happened except Kami researching or trying to figure out who she had feelings for. While the book was entertaining, it lacked a certain substance, an oomph.
As for the Lynburns, I was unimpressed. The whole town is terrified of them, but they weren't convincing villains. It seemed Kami's unraveling of the town secrets came way too easily. People resist her questions at first, but then suddenly the Lynburns are telling her everything. While there are some unique twists and developments, the plot takes a predictable route. And then that nasty cliffhanger = me frustrated beyond belief.
This book was a fun read, but it lacked something. Will I read the next one? Most likely. Once I start a series, I pretty much feel committed to it. But I won't rush to buy the sequel immediately. I can wait awhile.