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Harbinger

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3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,397 ratings  ·  300 reviews
Girl, Interrupted meets Beautiful Creatures in this fast-paced thriller

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels
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Hardcover, 309 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
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Cinder by Marissa MeyerThe Selection by Kiera CassUnder the Never Sky by Veronica RossiEverneath by Brodi AshtonIncarnate by Jodi Meadows
2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
42nd out of 973 books — 5,796 voters
Incarnate by Jodi MeadowsA Million Suns by Beth RevisEverneath by Brodi AshtonInsurgent by Veronica RothThe Selection by Kiera Cass
Amazing YA Covers of 2012
75th out of 736 books — 2,300 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
”Whether you know it or not, each one of you is at a critical turning point. If you are willing, there is still time to turn back from the terminal paths you have chosen. But Holbrook is your last chance. In the peace of these woods, we can lead you back to society, show you how to assimilate, nurture appropriate behavior. But if you turn your back on this final opportunity, the rest of the world will not be so kind.”

Well, they weren’t exactly kind either. Faye Robson has been fighting with vis
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✿ℎazℯℓ - thℯ ℛock Cℎick ℱairy✿
I can honestly say that i tried hard to like this book.. I even tried to like Kel (i always tend to like the main guys so what? ).. i tried, but i failed miserably. There's just nothing in the story that i can relate to. Their world was a messed up one, which made me feel like this one is a mixture of dystopian and paranormal... I usually like those types.. but now.. errm.. i just feel awkward.

I don't feel good after reading it. I feel weirded out and i admit that i did not exactly get the point
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Bern
Jun 17, 2012 Bern rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who liked Lost. Or people who TRIED to like lost, whichever.
I... I really have no idea of what to say to this.

I had this whole speech planned out about how buried deep within Harbinger, there was a good book - great even - dying to come out, but clunky writing, choppy sentences and pandemic insta-love made sure it didn't.

But that was before I read the last hundred pages of... this and now I'm like...


Because I don't. I have seriously no idea of what happened here. This book was headed on a clear path to disaster and then it suddenly morphed into this
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Jennifer
A dark, mysterious, disturbing, disturbing, disturbing, and beautifully written masterpiece. If you start it, you won't be able to finish it until you find out what the hell is going on at Holbrook Academy.
Lisa
I'm so glad I got to read this early. I loved it so much I blurbed it. Don't you just love the cover?
Amber
4 1/2 stars

Yes yes yes, "never judge a book by its cover," I know, I know. But can we just PLEASE sit here for a minute and appreciate that AMAZING artwork. LOOK AT IT.

Sara Etienne's debut novel will knock your socks off. I'm serious. Etienne's mastery of storytelling and remarkable characters will not allow you to put this book down, and if you do, you're stuck wondering how it's all going to end.

Faye is tricked by her parents into enrolling into Holbrook Academy which caters to students who
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Rebecca
I loved this book so much I don’t know where to start. Yes, I have said I loved a book before but you don’t understand I want to write the Harbinger sonnets, sing it love songs, and woo it until, Harbinger loves me back. Take another look at that cover, amazing right? You know how I am about covers! Harbinger totally lives up to its cover.

Once I started reading Harbinger I became so enveloped in the world that Ms. Wilson Etienne created. (Like to the point of being late for picking my kid up fro
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Jessica
First, I want to start off and congratulate Etienne with creating a story world seemingly set in reality, but with the paranormal influences of Native American myth and tarot cards. I really liked the world she created.

Now, I want to preface the rest of my review by beginning with a quote by John Gardner from his The Art of Fiction: Notes on the Craft for Young Writers, “It is this quality of the novel, its built in need to return and repeat, that forms the physical basis of the novel’s chief g
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Sarah
I don't even know where to start. This book was just plain weird. Sometimes weird can be a good thing. Other times...not so much.

Harbinger had an interesting hook with a unique idea for expressing it. But the onslaught of dystopian, oddity, & paranormal mashed into one 300-page book was just too much. Things happened at such a rapid pace that I was left struggling to keep up. The turning point came in such a way that I lost interest on the downslide to the climax, & the final 100 pages
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jo mo
1.5/5


(c) andrea offermann

a story along the lines of l.j. smith's deliciously creepy dark vision series.

actually it reads as if the author wanted to pay homage to smith and wrote this book, to do so. a mysterious thriller, complete with eerie happenings in this school for 'special' children.
plot:
the protagonist, faye is sent to a reform school run by dr. mordoch, because she's different. each morning faye and her group (called "family") wake up with red-stained hands from the night before. wth
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Ferdy
3.5 stars - Some spoilers

Harbinger introduces us to Faye, a troubled sixteen year old who's parents enrol her at the newly opened Holbrook Academy. Holbrook Academy is a school for disturbed and unruly teenagers. Faye is distressed when she finds out her parents have betrayed her and abandoned her at Holbrook so she can get the 'help' she needs. From a young age, Faye has had strange and frightening visions of the sea. On top of that, Faye has never had any friends and is very much alone due to
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Izabela Malan
...

...

...

aaaaaaallllllrrrriiiiiiggggggggghhhhhhhhhttttttttyyyyy tttttthhhhhhhheeeeennnnnnn

...

so.

that didn't make a lot of sense.

by which I mean that it made absolutely no sense at all.

It was all this book meets that movie for some time, channelling degradation and bad people who think they're good and crazy people who think they're sane (maybe?) and it was very difficult to keep reading because that kind of stuff is never going to be a bucket of fun, but I was ... interested? Yeah, I guess I wan
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 Arushi
Me while reading this book:

Every once in a while you come across that one book that looks/sounds so good that you just want to take it your bedroom and whisper naughty things to it seductively. Or maybe that's just me.

Then that book pulls a Harbinger on you.

Let me make this very clear, this isn't a review. This is a rant.

Harbinger is fucking eerie and I mean that in a totally good way. I loved being kept in the dark about stained hands and weird designs on the floor. I loved wondering if Rit
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Edith
Teenage Faye finds herself at the creepy Holbrook Academy where she struggles to maintain her sanity, while unraveling her true destiny. Not since the Grandmother in Flowers in the Attic has there been a villain so villainous as Holbrook's headmistress, Dr. Mordock. "Fear is an illusion," Faye repeats to herself as Holbrook's bone-chilling happenings go from strange to life-threatening.

For the reader, Fear is *not* an illusion. Be afraid, be very afraid. Do not read this book during a hurricane
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Mary Peterson
A highly original, edge of your seat, page turner. Not for one second did I suspect how it would end--nice work Ms. Etienne. Keep those combat boot wearing kick ass girls coming and I'll keep reading.
Katie
Harbinger is a book unlike any I have read. It was not at all what I expected and in this case that only made it better. It was creepy, suspenseful, and at times, confusing (but in a good way!)

Holbrook Academy is a place for kids who need help. Some of them have mental issues, some have anger issues, some have issues with authority, and some have issues that they would rather keep hidden. Holbrook, however, does not plan on helping them. The headmaster of the school has a different agenda, one t
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Pricky
As seen on Zombie Mommies.

I really really wanted to like this one: Mind Games, Visions, Sleepwalking, A Boarding School, A Mystery, A Dark and Handsome Mysterious Boy? All the perfect ingredients for a great story...

...that fell flat like a homemade souffle.

The main problem with Harbinger were too many lose ends. With thrillers, I am completely prepared for unanswered questions that compel me to turn the page, eager to find the answer. But with this one, when i finally got to the end, all the lo
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Miranda
I’m not even sure what to say about this other than wow. It definitely lived up to my expectations. Before you start this one make sure you have a good chunk of time set aside to read it in one go. I had to keep putting it down because that icky thing called life got in the way and I found myself wondering constantly when I could get back to it. It’s one of those books that sucks you in completely.

Faye may be one of my favourite heroines so far in 2012; she’s flawed, in fact at times she’s not
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Ta§chima Cullen
You can find more reviews @BloodyBookaholic

This book is just plain weird. In a good way? I am still on the fence on that. I saw so many excellent reviews on the book, so I thought "ugh, maybe this book will be kick ass (even though the cover isn't my favorite)" but after reading it, I was more looking for the 3-4 star reviews, because to be completely honest I was confused for the most part of the story, with the story line and how the things, like the hallucinations, were taking place, and I ju
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Caitlings
I’m not sure what about this book made me want to read it. It certainly wasn’t the cover. This is one of those books that I had to make myself read despite the cover. Possibly I had the impression from a description that it took place at a boarding school and was about kids with powers. Kids with powers at a boarding school is one of my all time favourite tropes I will read almost anything with this set up.

Plus there’s that random line, “her only comfort the bones of dead animals.” Like…what???
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Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
3.5 stars

A gripping, psychological thriller that's hard to put down. This debut is as terrifying as it is fascinating. Sara did a masterful job at creating a story that will make the reader feel just as insane as her main character Faye. Getting inside the head of Faye made it hard to distinguish what was real and what was an figment of her imagination. I have to say, that really made for an interesting read, because it was impossible for me to figure out what was really going on. This is one of
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Amanda (Pearl the Book Girl)
Harbinger had a lot of things going on. I mean a LOT. There were elements that were dystopian, paranormal, psychological thriller, or romance. Unfortunately these ideas were not strung together well and gave Harbinger a disorderly and confusing plot.

Harbinger is set in a post apocalyptic type world, but because Faye is secluded in an institution type place, we only get hints at the dystopian world around her. This would be ok if the action was only in Holbrook Academy, but the story eventually
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Princess Kayla
That was interesting…
Ok so it took me a bit of time to sort through my thoughts on this book and I have finally decided. No wait I lied… no I’m sure

(view spoiler)

Anyway, I had a hard time deciding whether I loved or loathed this book. I think I settled on loved because this book was just filled with awesomeness. So I came into this thinking it was another one of those camp for people with powers where a girl will fall in love w
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Leah (Jane Speare)
Faye is going crazy, seeing things that aren’t there. Since she can remember, she’s had a weird connection to death and the ocean. When she is sent to Holbrook Academy to ‘get better’, everything only gets worse. Faye and her friends wake up every morning with blood on their hands, and mysterious symbols written on the floor. She knows it’s her causing this, but how? Working with her friend Kel, she starts to unravel an age old prophecy foretelling madness and death, and soon no one can be trust ...more
JeanBookNerd
Harbinger truly carried a complex storyline. I was enthralled from the first turn of the page to the very last. It was full of adventures, action, and mystery that I had a hard time stepping away from the story.

Sara Wilson Etienne brilliantly created a one-of-a-kind setting that is justly beautiful in every way. The characters are unforgettable and had real sincerity. Each character had distinct eccentricity that helped build up the story.

There are many twists and turns in the story, in particul
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TheBookSmugglers
Couldn't get into this. Writing was annoying me with all the telling. "My sense of direction deserted me". And then the insta-love took the cake this time. The girl "met" the guy when they were on solitary confinement and spoke through the walls and at the end of a few paragraphs she was already thinking she would "lose him" when she was released. sigh. (Ana)
Susanne Winnacker
Dark, creepy, mysterious and so so so beautiful. I loved this book.
Crystal Books Unbound
Reading Harbinger did not go as well as I had planned. When asked if I would like to review it, I was so excited! I featured as one of my WoW’s because I loved the cover and I thought the synopsis sounded fantastic. I got it pretty early on so I put off reading it closer to the release date. I started it in November and put it down 80 pages into. The release date came and went and I decided to give it another try. Maybe when I tried to read it the first time I was going through some kind of read ...more
Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
Words cannot adequately describe Harbinger because the book is an explosion of misleading statements and confusing events. The entire time I was reading it, I was attempting to sort out one clue from the next, constantly wavering between fiction and reality.

Sara Wilson Etienne has crafted an incredible, phenomenal, and radically unique debut that will mess with your mind and open your eyes. It’s part disturbing – it takes place in some future world where cities are full of savagery and scarcity
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Rebecca
I really really liked this. I wasn't sure what to expect going in and I'd been back and forth about whether or not I wanted to read it, but it ended up being pretty awesome. Totally creepy, dark, weird, and kind of unsettling, but awesome. It reminded me a lot of Shutter Island in that you have no idea what the hell is going on the entire time, with little pieces plinking into place along the way, and then it's all just one big mind fuck. I hate seeing everything coming in a book like this, but ...more
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I used to dream of being a marine biologist but quickly realized that I love fantasy more than fact. Now I enjoy combining both to create stories that ask “What if?” I write in sunny California alongside my artist husband and my two dogs.

My favorite days are spent disappearing into different universes, whether it’s traveling with Dr. Who, popping into a parallel world with Diana Wynne Jones, writi
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