Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

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:  5 cupcakes

Unspoken was, quite possibly, the perfect book for me. It was the first of Sarah Rees Brennan’s works that I’ve picked up, and now I find myself wondering what took me so long to finally read it. It was witty, engaging, made me laugh out loud at so many points (garnering me a lot of strange looks from my family), and the originality behind the premise was certainly refreshing.

Kami Glass, our narrator and protagonist, is absolutely adorable. She’s quirky, hilarious, prone to saying her thoughts out loud without realizing it, and very determined to get the perfect story for her school’s newspaper. She’s a strong, fun female lead, who also has a vulnerable side, making her so easy to love.

From sleepy, people-hating Angela to Kami’s adorable younger siblings, the other characters in Unspoken are just as unique and likeable as Kami. And, unlike most YA novels, there is no missing parent syndrome; Kami’s family is an important part of her life, and her interactions with them aren’t glossed over. Jared in particular quickly won me over, largely thanks to our ability to see him through Kami’s eyes. Underneath his bad boy exterior, he’s vulnerable, insecure, and capable of great love and kindness. He’s dependent on Kami, and their relationship was wonderfully written.

The plot, which mostly focuses on the mysterious Lynburn family and their possible connection to the weird happenings in Sorry-in-the-Vale, is engrossing and unpredictable. While there were many occasions where it progressed slowly because of adventures that Kami has decided to go on, I never found Unspoken boring; instead, I was always either captivated or entertained by the story, and found myself not wanting to put it down for any reason.

I only had one problem with Unspoken and that was the ending. Sarah Rees Brennan sure knows how to torture her readers because that was one awful and abrupt cliffhanger – and it was made even more painful by the fact that I don’t have a copy of the sequel.

Overall, Unspoken was a fun, unpredictable adventure. I will definitely be purchasing and rereading it in the near future, and I can’t wait to see where Brennan takes the story next.

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