unspokenUnspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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?

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started this one. You’re kind of thrown into Kami and Jared’s connection, and the background comes later. Kami is Asian, and it’s always nice to follow a POC around a novel. Kami communicates with a boy named Jared in her head. He’s been there for Kami’s whole life, though she keeps it a secret. When the Lynburn family moves back to Sorry-in-the-Vale, the voice in her head becomes a real boy-Jared Lynburn, himself. Jared is, of course, a leather jacket-wearing bad boy who Kami dislikes on first sight, mostly because he’s an over-the-top jerk to her when they realize who they are to each other. I’m sure he has his reasons (like he’s just trying to protect Kami from something, sigh, boring tropes are boring). I was sure Jared was such a jerk so we could see how nice his cousin, Ash, was by comparison, thus setting up the love triangle! Excuse my snark, but the beginning of this one didn’t do much for me. Maybe I’ve read too much fanfiction, but that’s what this reminded me of at first. (You must be wondering why I gave it five stars if I disliked it so much. Oh, ye of little faith! Read on!)

Eventually, Jared and Kami start hanging out, which brings us back to the plot: someone is killing animals in the woods near Kami’s house, and she’s determined to find out who and why. I really, really liked the conversations Kami and Jared had. They were both smart and witty, and it made the dialogue pleasant to read. I felt their spark, even if they fought it. Did I mention I was wrong about the love triangle? Wrong in the best way, really, as there is very little romance at all in Unspoken. You should all know by now how happy that makes me. Basically, try to go into this one expecting and hoping for absolutely nothing romantically, and you should be just fine. In fact, I even started to like Ash a bit. It’s a romance I’m willing to let burn slowly, throughout the series, let’s put it that way. And oh, this one is funny. The interaction between characters left tears in my eyes from all the laughing. One of my favorite lines, out of context, is, “Oh my god, Jared. Don’t tough-talk the lambs.” The friendships between Kami and Jared, and Kami and Holly, and Kami and Angela were just so fluid and perfect in this book. That made me so happy.

Another thing I liked is how matter of fact everyone is about magic. You’re confused and in the dark at first, but once it comes out, people are talking about it like it’s no big deal. And I feel like maybe I should know better, but I like how dark and unsettling Jared is. That doesn’t necessarily mean I personally like him, but his characterization was just right for me. He has had a tough life, and his whole family are like creepy wax dolls with very little emotion. You’re bound to be messed up with that kind of life. So he grew on me, and so did angry, angry Angela. I liked Kami, Ash, and Holly right away. I love them all as a team so much. They’re all so different, but they complement each other in myriad ways, and I just feel like I was always laughing (when I wasn’t basking in this book’s delicious subtle angst). I was dismissive of the romance at first, but it is truly bittersweet, and I just loved the way it hurt my heart to read about. They’re teenagers, and they’re so interconnected, they haven’t had a chance to figure themselves out. That’s what adolescence is all about, and they haven’t been given that crucial developmental period. But they love each other. It’s so heartbreaking that it makes me happy, which should tell you something about my cold, black heart. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The ending to this one kills me, as does knowing how long it’s going to take for the next one to come out. This book is a must-read for all fans of Gothic, paranormal YA with magic, a bad boy, and witty dialogue all around. Definitely pick this one up!