Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

unspoken cover

View from the window seat:
Kami Glass isn’t like other girls in her small English town, Sorry-in-the-Vale: she’s talked with and shared her life with her imaginary friend since she was born. Kami has her best friend Angela and the school newspaper, though, so her life is relatively normal, except for the odd looks she gets when she spaces out during conversations with her friend in her mind. Her quiet life becomes terrifying and exciting when the Lynburns return, a family whose name is whispered with reverence and fear and who no one in Sorry-in-the-Vale wants to talk about. The Lynburn twins who left years ago are back with their sons, Ash and Jared, one of whom seems familiar to Kami. With howling in the woods and animals turning up dead, Kami and her friends must learn the secrets of the mysterious Lynburn family before anyone gets hurt.

While reading the acknowledgements at the end of Unspoken, the author refers to it as a “sassy gothic” and I can’t think of a better term to describe this awesome book. Kami is a badass heroine, steadfastly diving into danger in the pursuit of journalistic justice. She’s quirky and funny and fiercely loyal, everything I love in a heroine. Her best friend Angela is just as awesome, a girl who prefers to be napping and hates everyone but Kami.

This is the kind of book you race through, because something happens on every page. The mystery surrounding the Lynburn family is deliciously creepy, as is the setting itself. The gothic Lynburn manor, with the message “You are not safe” engraved on its gates, and the sleepy English town all point towards something sinister. Each strange event builds until the final reveal, but then the book ends with a cliffhanger that just makes me want to read even more in this series.

[Note: this paragraph contains spoilers, so BEWARE!] What I loved most about this story, though, was Kami and Jared’s relationship. Imagine that you share every detail of your life with someone you’ve never met, someone you only speak to in your mind, and someone no one else believes is real. This person is your comfort, your strength, and is always on your side. Then imagine that suddenly this person is real, and standing right next to you. Kami and Jared have loved and mentally protected each other their entire lives, but both have always doubted the other’s existence. I thought it was brilliant how the author didn’t instantly make them profess undying love the second they met. Their relationship becomes fear and uncertainty and awkwardness and confusion all tangled up in their still very real support and love for each other. It’s messy and a struggle and that’s what made it so realistic to me.

Overall impression:
Unspoken is an entertaining and creepy “sassy gothic” that I really enjoyed.

Rating:
8

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