The Lynburn Legacy #1
Reviewed by Noelle October 10, 2012
Published September 11, 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
Mad Girl's Love Song by Sylvia Plath
I've been eager to read Unspoken ever since I caught sight of that beautiful cover and am happy to say that it did not disappoint.
Kami Glass, teen investigative reporter, has always stood out from the crowd. Whether it was not being shy about talking to her imaginary friend in public, or being the only one daring enough to dig around the mysteries of her town Sorry-in-the-Vale, Kami has never quite fit in. And why should she want to when she's finally running the school newspaper with her best friend and the mysteries of her hometown have just gotten more fascinating than ever? The legendary Lynburn family has returned and with them the rumors of the family's dark history with Sorry-in-the-Vale. Kami is unable to resist investigating their cryptic hold over the town----especially when it turns out that her imaginary friend is actually a real, live Lynburn. Kami is determined to discover just what the Lynburns are hiding and what exactly her not-so-imaginary friend has to do with it.
Unspoken is a charming, hilarious, exciting, gothic mystery that emotionally delivers in satisfyingly unexpected ways. The characters all have wonderfully distinct personalities and Sarah Rees Brennan really excels at natural, humorous character interactions and hilarious yet realistic dialogue. I was gleefully cracking up the entire book. She is also wonderful at defying YA stereotypes and tropes, a skill I immensely appreciated and that really elevated Unspoken to the next level for me.
And Kami? Kami is definitely going to be inducted into my Heroine Hall of Fame/ granted a seat at my Lunch Table.
I've read a couple of books lately featuring some kind of psychic or emotional connection and am I the only one whose mind leaps straight to pure HUMILIATION Do Not Pass Go? How freaking embarrassing would it be if the guy you thought was some inner imaginary voice your entire life--the guy who you told all your most mortifying adolescent feelings and insecurities--was actually real?
How awkward would it be that this guy you have been completely emotionally open and vulnerable to suddenly was a real life person with real life personality flaws and issues? It's like if God started answering Margaret...and then turned out to be a maladjusted teenaged boy, a boy who now has all this extra personal knowledge and emotional collateral on you? Can you even imagine?!
Luckily for the readers, while I'd be taking a floor nap in the fetal position for the rest of the book, Kami is a less emotionally stunted individual than myself and handles the complexities of her and Jared's new situation with a maturity that made me so proud. Kami--wonderful, smart, ambitious Kami-- has a wealth of supportive, healthy relationships in her life. Jared--volatile, furious, scared shitless Jared-- has virtually no connections with anyone or the world around him. Kami has a strong friend network and family foundation. Jared has...Kami.
Jared also had believed that Kami was imaginary and thus his own creation and I really think that he used her as proof to himself that there was some goodness and light inside of him. He took comfort that Kami's sheer amazingness came from somewhere within him and when Kami turns out to be just as real as Jared, he's desperate to assign a higher purpose to their special connection, because he sees it as his only redeeming quality. To Kami, the reality of their connection makes her less trusting of it and skeptical of what it means for her future.
Sarah Rees Brennan handles the emotional complexities of Jared and Kami's bond so masterfully. Even as their codependency wavers back and forth from constructive and destructive and the edges between their individual feelings increasingly blur, the situation is always handled with refreshing perspective and maturity. I couldn't help but love both characters all the while questioning what their relationship should even be. I loved the depth of the dilemma.
I agree with the Book Smugglers that I can't really consider the ending to be a cliffhanger in the WTF?! NOOO! sense since what happens is 100% in line with the character development thus far, and I knew in my heart it was what would naturally occur in that particular situation with those particular characters. To me it was more a cliffhanger in the I'm very, very excited to see what happens next sense. (Especially after seeing this on SRB's tumblr hehe.)
Rating: 4/5 stars.