With the end of the year approaching (I can’t believe it’s ALREADY November!), this is when I start to catch up on the review copies I’ve been putting off for months. In most cases, I begin them grudgingly, thinking if I hadn’t read it back in May, I probably won’t like it. I know that logic makes not a lot of sense, but I never said I made sense all of the time. Anyway, that’s the kind of reader you’re dealing with now. So, I’m picking up these books more out of duty than anything else and find myself being pleasantly surprised. But not surprised enough to hit myself in the head for waiting this long to read that particular book.
Then I started reading Unspoken. Boy, I think the self-annoyance in me was at an all-time high as I flipped more and more pages of Sarah Rees Brennan’s new novel, the first in The Lynburn Legacy series. From the very first page, Unspoken was purely delightful, and by the end, it was purely depressing. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year, and I really hate myself for not reading this witty and gothic story sooner.
Unspoken follows the undeniably sassy Kami Glass, a young and serious investigative reporter. Kami is always looking for a story and people to interview, much to her parents’ and friends’ dismay at times. In her small town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, something major has happened: The Lynburns have returned. Confused by the townspeople’s fearful and slightly reverent response to the Lynburn’s mysterious return, Kami is hell-bent on finding out why. There’s something special about Kami, despite her incessant and never-ending curiosity and pursuit of the truth. Kami can telepathically connect to Jared, an American boy. They have been able to speak to each their whole lives, never meeting. Well, their world gets turned upside when Jared moves to Sorry-in-the-Vale.
While the plot has a lot to do with mystery and intrigue, this book is hilarious. I am not kidding. Kami is the sassiest main character I’ve read all year, and may be even last year too. While I love YA and enjoy most of it, sometime the leads are a little too much alike, and they begin to get mixed up in my head. Kami stands out like a McQueen gown in a Calvin Klein show. (I sadly only have the ability to make fashion similes.) And Kami is one fab McQueen gown. She’s fully of spirit, smart, and makes the most entertaining witticisms. The rest of the characters are just as great. There is a diverse bunch, and the author doesn’t rely on clichés when writing them. In fact, it practically goes against every stereotype, which in turn made me love this book even more.
Another thing that makes Unspoken stand out is how the romance is played out. It’s not the typical romance. There’s no insta-love, and I don’t think “slow-burn” could even work. You can even question if there is actually romance in it. I personally think there is; it’s just different. You would think that because Kami and Jared have this connection, they must be soul-mates. I feel like for most YA that would be the answer, and then BAM! let’s make out now! Well, not for this story. Jared and Kami question the whole soul-mate thing. Jared, in an early part of the novel, blurts out something “We should date!” to Kami’s (and my) surprise. It shows right there that Brennan wants her characters to be real. To actually question what is going on, not just blindly accept “Oh! This must be fate!” and kiss. She wants them fall in love or feel love in a real way. That allowed me to become so invested in Kami, Jared and everyone. And that is probably why I felt very depressed at the end.
As far as the plot and mystery, it was pleasantly unpredictable. As much as I tried to hone my own investigative skills, I couldn’t figure out the deal with the Lynburns until it revealed itself. Questions are answered by the end, but of course, there are way more new questions. On top of that, it does end on a somber note. (If you want to feel more depressed and add some confusion to the mix, read this tease from the sequel, Untold!) So now, I really really care about these characters and need to know what happens to them next.
Don’t be stubborn doofus like me and wait to read Unspoken. It’ll surprise you in so many amazing ways. Sarah Rees Brennan has created a bright shining star in YA.
Rating: 10/10 stars
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- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 25, 2012)
- Length: 384 pages (Hardcover)
- Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
- Source: NetGalley
- Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Magic
- Completed: November 2012