By Sarah Rees Brennan
Published on September 11, 2012
Published by Random House
Summary from Goodreads:
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?
I have read a lot of stuff this year that just has not been my cup of tea, for one reason or another. That's just the way it is -- not every book can be your new favorite, not every book is one you instantly want to go out and buy and hug to your chest. For every Code Name Verity, one of my absolute favorites that I've discovered through blogging, there are a whole handful of other books that make me raise my eyebrows and write reviews that need GIFs to get across the true depth of my feelings.
Unspoken does not fall into that latter category.
Well, okay, I might need one GIF to express my feelings. Just one.
I want there to be more books like Unspoken. YA, adult fic, new adult, middle grade, I don't care. I am tired of reading books of girls who lose all rationality when there's a cute boy in the picture. I'm tired of the hot, mysterious bad boy having a secret heart of gold: sometimes, bad boys are just bad, and girls are smart to be wary of them. I want to see more sassy girls who do what they want, regardless of what boys or friends or boyfriends might think. I want more girls like Kami Glass who are bent on discovering the truth through good old fashioned research, and also a substantial amount of arm-twisting.
Kami is the kind of girl I would have loved to read about when I was a teen. No more books about sad girls dying of cancer, or sad girls whose boyfriends are dying of cancer, or whatever else it was that I filled my bookshelves with when I was young and impressionable. Instead, I wish I could have read about a girl who was offbeat and a bit of a loner, but who was bound and determined to do things her way, anyway. I might have felt a little less alone if I'd had a Kami Glass when I was a kid. Kami was going to investigate things, and she was going to be brilliant, and she was going to take her brilliance to university no matter how much she got teased for it.
The characters in Unspoken are all very unique and witty, Kami's friends and family in particular. While there is plenty of drama to be had with the mysterious Lynburns, there are many, many laugh-out-loud moments, too. The banter is sharp and rapid-fire. The story exists in a universe where everyone is sarcastic and blunt and impossibly quick with a joke or play on words, which is a riot to read but has some drawbacks. I sometimes felt it was hard for me to make an emotional connection with the characters when they were at their sharpest, because really, no one talks like that without a lot of hurt feelings as the end result. But when it really counts, Sarah Rees Brennan isn't afraid to pull emotional punches and make you really care about what happens to Kami and her friends.
I don't want to talk too much about the plot, because I really feel like this is a book you should go into unspoiled. Despite all the talk about love in the book blurb, I wouldn't say this is a romance -- oh, sure, there are characters with romantic interests in one another, but Kami is having none of it. She has no-longer-imaginary friends to cope with and mysteries to solve, and she isn't going to be sidetracked by *anything*. So if you're looking for a love story, you may be disappointed. But if you're looking for a witty, face paced, utterly inventive story, check out Unspoken.