Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

Goodreads Summary: 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 / The Book Depository
Genre: Young Adult, mystery, paranormal
Pages: 373
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

First Line: "Every town in England has a story."

Favorite Quote: 

"You're crazy," said her best friend, Angela, as the bell rang to signal five minutes before the first class on the first day of school.
"They said that about all the great visionaries."
"You know who else they said that about?" Angela demanded. "All the actual crazy people."


Before I say anything else, I have to talk about the actual, physical book: the cover is truly eye-catching and just plain interesting. I love the intricate design of the gate and the leaves at the top, the font at the beginning of the chapters and the different quotes scattered around at the start of all the parts Unspoken is divided up into. To me, it just screams "read me!" When I looked up the sequel, I was truly horrified to see that the covers of this series has been redesigned so it looks exactly like every other paranormal YA book. It's so disappointing. But anyway, I'm getting past my bookish vanity and moving onto the content of the novel.

The concept is awesome. An imaginary friend turned real? Who wouldn't want to meet their made-up childhood friend? I loved how Brennan wrote out the whole thing; I think it could have easily turned into a very messy and unorganized plot. But she made it seem very real with descriptions of Kami and Jared feeling each other's emotions and sensing each other's thoughts. Their connection was easily one of the best highlights of the book; watching them interact and get to know each other a bit after finding out their "imaginary" friend isn't quite so imaginary.

I loved how slowly the mystery gradually progresses in Unspoken; it's like it just creeps up on you without you even realizing it. The Lynburns are a family to be feared, and the natural sinister vibe that surrounds them adds a compelling element to the plot. After spending so many pages hinting about the Lynburns, what they were and how frightened everyone was by them, it wasn't all that surprising to find out what they could do. The idea is not exactly a new one in the big picture of things, but in my opinion, any overly-used concept can remain awesome if done well.

From the beginning, I absolutely adored Kami. Her quirkiness, sarcastic humor and overall charisma were apparent from the very first page. I can't count the amount of times something she thought or said made me smile or chuckle (though, maybe I was a little jealous of her, because I'd love to be a journalist but I don't really have the persistence necessary for the job). The side characters, Holly and Angela, were both very amusing in their own ways as well. I identified with Angela a lot for not really being a people person.

But honestly, I do feel extremely conflicted about the romance. On one hand, I like Kami and Jared together. I think they would be an awesome couple - even without the mind-reading thing. And while I appreciated that Kami didn't go all insta-love on me and slobber all over Jared because of their connection, I did get a little tired of her constantly pushing him away, especially in the second half of the book. She admits to herself a few times that she has feelings for him (though at the same time is a little wary of his motives), but then she goes on a date with Ash and rebuffs Jared all the time. I felt like they had a good friendship for the most part, but I just wanted to feel more . . . like they wanted to be together? Like I said, my thoughts on this are still a little unclear.

I applaud the twists in the last few chapters - I really did not see them coming. I really enjoyed the storytelling in general throughout Unspoken, and I'm really looking forward to its sequel, Untold. I feel like I got a good sense of closure in one way, but in another (the Kami/Jared way), I was left completely in the dark. I couldn't believe Brennan chose to end it like that! Sadly, I won't be able to continue this story until August, when the second book comes out.

4 stars 

Books in this series: 

1. Unspoken
2. Untold 

Other opinions:

Rally the Readers
365 Days of Reading
Sweet Reads


  1. Completely agree about your thoughts on the covers-this is so pretty and I don't get why it was changed!

    1. Sometimes I wonder what the publishers are thinking. x_x

  2. I'm so upset about the changing covers! The first cover is PERFECT. I loved the romance between Jared and Kami and am just really hoping that there won't be too much of a love triangle with Ash.