Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

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?

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Suffused with wit and humour, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan isn’t at all like your typical YA novel! Here are three reasons why: 

  1. The main character, Kami, is smart, persistent, and has a voice in her head that she often talks to. Adorably quirky, Kami knows she’s a little weird and is okay with it!
  2. Kami’s parents not only make frequent appearances throughout the novel, but actually have a personality of their own! Her father, for example, is hilarious! Here’s just one of Mr. Glass’ brilliant quotes: “Why are you putting on lip gloss, my daughter? Dad asked. “Trip to the library? Trip to the nunnery? I hear the nunneries are nice this time of year.” … Are you going out on a date?” Dad asked tragically. “Wearing that? Wouldn’t you fancy a shapeless cardigan instead? You rock a shapeless cardigan, honey.” (pg. 143)
  3. There’s no love triangle … or even much of a romance. Instead, the tension in the relationship between Kami and Jared comes from the fact that they have a beautifully complicated relationship where they know each other intimately (mentally, anyway) but have also succeeded at building psychological walls so that there is some semblance of privacy. Once they discover that the imaginary voice in their head isn’t imaginary at all, neither of them knows what the other person should be to them. Should they ignore each other, continue to be friends or become a couple? 
If it weren’t for the weird pacing of the plot, Unspoken would have definitely garnered a higher rating from me. The book starts off great and ends with a surprising ending; but it was the slow-paced middle that I had problems with since it made me feel detached from the characters. Another problem I also had with Unspoken was that although I really liked that it managed to be consistently entertaining, the seriousness of some events or moments was lost due to Kami cracking a joke or doing something ridiculous. 

With a vivid Gothic setting, a fun mystery, and amusing dialogue; Unspoken was a good introduction to Brennan’s writing for me. This certainly won’t be the only novel of hers that I’m going to read!

Unspoken was released by Random House Books for Young Readers on September 11, 2012. 

Comments About the Cover: This is one of the few times where I actually prefer the US cover compared to the UK cover because it’s so whimsical looking. It’s perfect for this novel!

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.


  1. Z!!! I haven't read this one yet but I'm so glad you liked this too! I've heard so many good things about Kami and Jared but I never read about Kami's dad from others reviews. So glad you mentioned him because he sounds so darn hilarious! Can't wait to read this!

  2. That's so weird that the middle is slow and sounds kinda boring despite the great start and ending. I'm a little confused at that. I have this one on my tbr pile, but now I'm wondering if it'll lower it down. Your 3.5 rating doesn't make me want to go out of my way to read it.

  3. I think I'm a little in love with Kami's dad! I love that he is really present in this story, that's so often not the case with YA books. Too bad on the slow middle and the few ill-timed jokes, but overall this sounds like a book I would enjoy:) Lovely review Z!

  4. Great review! I'm glad you enjoyed this too. I completely agree with point number 2. It's nice to see parents actually having a role in the story for a change and I do love Kami's dad. He was pretty hilarious. :D I can't wait for the next book!

  5. Anonymous2:01 pm

    This one sounds so darkly fun and sweet; I can't wait to read it because I'm a huge fan of both humour and gothic novels. Nicely reviewed and I'm glad you enjoyed this, in spite of some of your issues with it. :) I have this book in my TBR pile and am planning to read it very soon. :)

  6. Great review! I definitely loved this much more enthusiastically than you but I'm glad you appreciated it more than others I've seen (grrr!) I do agree, though, that sometimes a particularly serious moment is subverted by Kami's humour, because serious shit does go down, ya nah? But she's just so darn cute, I can't help it!! :D

    I need help, don't I?

  7. Lovely review. I loved that quote from her dad too. I really enjoyed this book and I absolutely adored Kami. Like you, I'll definitely be picking up more of Sarah's books now.

  8. My Friend! I'm still alive! LOL

    I'm a Kami. I've been known to use humor in lame attempts to downplay seriousness issues. It rarely works in my favor. :/

    I love when parents are involved in the story and have personality to boot! Despite the slow pace in the middle, this one seems worth checking out!

  9. Yes, I loved her father!! Heh, he was brilliant. As much as I love the humour, I have to agree with you that the novel certainly could've used some more seriousness in certain parts. Do you think you'll be interested in reading the sequel?

  10. Yours is the third review of this book I've read this week. Seems I should get a copy to read. I love the quotes you included from the father! Despite the lagging middle I think I'd enjoy this one. Thanks for the review. I like the honesty!


  11. The main character sounds fun (a bit weird, lol) and I love that the parents are in the book! Really there! Too bad about the pacing! Great review.

  12. I really liked this book, and I'm glad you did, too! Kami is definitely a super quirky gal, which is one of the reasons why I love her! And her father is fantastic. I really love that line you shared. It made me crack up! :) I hope the second installment is even better. Wonderful review, Zahida! <3

  13. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I loved it and Kami and Jared're relationship was so unique and beautifully written, proving to be intimate without any true romance getting in the way either. Fantastic review! :D


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