Keertana's Reviews > Unspoken

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
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Feb 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: kick-ass-heroines

Unspoken is a novel that now, looking back, I can see had a huge margin for error. In fact, in the hands of a less-experienced author, I am confident that this story would have fallen apart, but Sarah Rees Brennan manages to pull it off. I am always awe-struck by the innovative ideas she thinks of and even more in awe of her flawless method of execution. Yet, despite the precarious line that this story balanced on and my incredibly high expectations, Unspoken managed to be every bit as breathtaking, hilarious, and heart-warming as I had imagined.

Kami Glass has grown up in her small town, Sorry-in-the-Vale, hearing a voice in her head her whole life. While most people seem to think Kami has an imaginary friend, she knows better. Jared, the boy whose thoughts, emotions, and memories she shares, has been her constant companion throughout her childhood, but when Jared moves into Kami’s small town, the situation may just be too bizarre for the two to handle. After all, who ever expects to meet the person who knows their every thought, dream, feeling, and secret? In the midst of this new complication though, animals are being slaughtered in the woods behind Kami’s house and the Lynburns, the aristocratic family of Sorry-in-the-Vale who inspired fear amongst the town’s citizens, have returned. Suddenly, Kami’s life is beginning to become a lot more interesting…and dangerous!

I feel as if I could write an entire post about Sarah Rees Brennan and still not gush enough about her. While I admired her writing style in The Demon’s Lexicon, complete with her signature wit, complex character relationships, and hilarious situations, nothing prepared me for the utter beauty of the writing in this novel. Unspoken flows in a way few books do these days and if the characters of this story hadn’t already stolen my heart, the writing surely would have. Furthermore, while the plot of this novel takes awhile to unfold, it is never boring and has you frantically flipping the pages, uncovering clue-after-clue of the mystery within these pages. Its many plot twists took me completely by surprise and while I feel as if I should have been able to predict what happened, the fact that I wasn’t able to is just another mark of Brennan’s writing prowess and talent over subtlety.

Yet, what really made this novel as wonderful as it was were its characters. Kami is one of the most lovable protagonists I've come across and it seems impossible to me that anyone could resist her intelligence and charm. While she can come across as juvenile at times, her narration seeming to be younger than her actual age, her curiosity and thirst for answers is a journey you cannot help but be caught up in. Furthermore, she is utterly kick-ass with her unparalleled wit, independent nature, stubborn streak, and ability to hold her own. If that isn’t enough to want you to make Kami your best friend, she’s unerringly loyal, intelligent to a degree of insanity, and so strong that I can only admire her. In other words, Kami Glass is a heroine that comes alive on the page and it is her, more than anything else in this novel, which keeps this story shining.

While Kami was the central, and really one of the strongest, points of this book, Jared won me over as well. Jared seems to be like any bad boy from the surface, but as we get to know him better, we begin to see the chinks in his armor - his inner insecurities, his dependability upon Kami, and his immense capacity for love and kindness. Jared is a character who grows on you, stealthily making his way into your heart and staying there, despite the mistakes he's known to make. Brennan makes it so easy for us to understand Jared, even from Kami's perspective, that we sympathize with and love him as our tragic hero with all our heart.

Yet, with all these wonderful characters, Unspoken shines because of the connection between Jared and Kami. None of us (I think!) know what it's like to have a voice in our head or even meet that disembodied voice in reality, but through Kami's eyes, I can picture the situation perfectly. It's one wrought with emotion, misunderstandings, and a delicate balance which Brennan treads with a fine and experienced line. While the romance between these two is extremely subtle (Seriously, Brennan gives subtle a whole new meaning with the love story in this!) and the friendship between Kami and Jared is overwhelmingly tender, it was a union that I fell for at once. It seems obvious that anyone who knows each other as well as these two should be able to see the inner beauty of another person, but the complicated (and blurred!) lines between friendship and romance between Kami and Jared were remarkably well-written. Theirs is a friendship that makes you think and question and ponder and ultimately yearn for that childhood easiness all over again. I can't do enough justice to it, but just know that it is beautiful.

If you haven't already caught the gist of this review, it's basically this: read Unspoken. It contains some of the most well-developed characters I've come across in YA Lit, some of the most complex character relationships, some of the wittiest lines and hilarious moments, some of the best page-turning tendencies, and a mystery that will utterly surprise you with its simplicity and brilliance all at once. Furthermore, Kami's best friends, Angela and Holly, and her family all play a huge role in this story making it all the more realistic and endearing. Unspoken is another must-read of 2012 and Brennan has, yet again, managed to take me utterly by surprise. Trust me; this is one author that simply does not disappoint. Okay, maybe I was disappointed by that evil cliffhanger ending because WHO ENDS A BOOK LIKE THAT and WHY IS THE SEQUEL NOT AVAILABLE YET but otherwise, this was awesome. ;)

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
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Quotes Keertana Liked

Sarah Rees Brennan
“Hark," he said, his tone very dry. "What stone through yonder window breaks?”
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken

Sarah Rees Brennan
“What the hell is going on?" demanded Kami's dad, advancing with his black eyes snapping. Jared blurted, "My intentions are honourable."
Kami sat up straight in her bed and stared in Jared's direction. "Are you completely crazy?" she wanted to know. "This isn't the eighteenth century. How do you think that's going to help?"
"Well, I mean," Jared said, back against the wall like a cornered animal. "When we're older. I mean-"
"Please shut up," Kami begged.
"I agree with Kami," said Dad. "When you're in an abyss-like hole, quit digging.”
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken

Sarah Rees Brennan
“One of the lambs fixed its attention on Jared. “Baa,” it flirted.
“Boo,” said Jared.
“Oh my God, Jared. Don’t tough-talk the lambs.”
"It was giving me a funny look.”
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken

Sarah Rees Brennan
“Angela spared a glare for Kami, and then resumed her marathon glaring session at Jared. 'It's too weird. I'm going to call you Carl.'
Jared scowled. 'I don't want you to call me Carl.'
'That's interesting, Carl,' said Angela, cheering up.”
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken

Sarah Rees Brennan
“Listen to me. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what any of this means. But I know this much. It doesn’t matter. You’re not one of them. You never were. You’re not theirs. You’re mine.”
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken

Sarah Rees Brennan
“Hark,” he said, his tone very dry. “What stone through yonder window breaks?”
Kami yelled up at him, “It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!”
Jared abandoned Shakespeare and demanded, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Throwing a pebble,” said Kami defensively. “Uh… and I’ll pay for the window.”
Jared vanished and Kami was ready to start shouting again, when he reemerged with the pebble clenched in his fist. “This isn’t a pebble! This is a rock.”
“It’s possible that your behaviour has inspired some negative feelings that caused me to pick a slightly overlarge pebble,” Kami admitted.”
Sarah Rees Brennan, Unspoken

Reading Progress

February 25, 2012 – Shelved
September 14, 2012 – Started Reading
September 15, 2012 – Shelved as: kick-ass-heroines
September 15, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Heidi Oh yay! I really liked this. Until the end. And then I considered sending the author vaguely threatening mail. (Consider this your cliffhagner warning).

Keertana Uh-oh, cliffhangers are always bad news...*sigh* Still, I'm loving this one so far! It's hilarious and I just love the characters, the world, and Brennan's writing is, of course, spectacular! I might just pull an all-nighter to finish this one if I don't fall asleep for sheer exhaustion, but I'm really liking it so far and I'm glad you enjoyed this too, Heidi! :)

Heidi Yeah, it's definitely an 'I can't sleep until I finish this' kind of book. I could only read it when my bf wasn't home because it was on the ipad we share, and there were some near physical altercations when it came time for me to give it up. :P

Have you read any of her other books? This was my first, but I have a feeling I'll be devouring Team Human and The Demon's Lexicon series soon!

message 4: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. I can't seem to stop commenting on anyone reading this. I hope this blows your socks off!

Keertana @Heidi: I read The Demon's Lexicon and The Demon's Covenant and loved both of them but for some reason I haven't picked up The Demon's Surrender yet. Each of the books is told from a different POV and I don't know how I'm going to like the POV of Demon's Surrender and now I don't even remember Demon's Lexicon or Demon's Covenant, so I'll need to re-read those because I have them at home and I really want to read Demon's Surrender. I loved them though, so I hope you enjoy those! :)

@K.: I loved it, so thank you! :D

message 6: by Jasprit (new) - added it

Jasprit Oh my gosh I heard about the killer ending, I really can't wait to read this, but I;m so nervous at the same time. Look forward to your review hun! :)

Keertana Thanks Jasprit!(: Yes, the ending was a HUGE heart-stabber, but it is SO worth it! I loved this one, so I hope you enjoy it too! :D

♥Rachel♥ Same thoughts, Keertana! I just finished this as well. I loved the story but the cliffhanger was BRUTAL!

Keertana @Rachel: YES! It was SO brutal! Gosh, I hated it and now I'm terrified and worried and SO SCARED for the sequel, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything will work out. (view spoiler)

@Sam: Yes, I loved her Demon's Lexicon Series! I haven't read the last one yet, but the first two were simply brilliant, so I'm really glad I enjoyed this one too! Now, if only the sequel would release quicker... :)

Keertana Aww, thanks Sam! :) Gosh, I'm coming over to join your discussion at Rachel's review then! (view spoiler)

If you find out who we have to threaten, I'm right with you! I need an ARC at any rate, so NetGalley better approve me this time or else... *takes out dangerous object* ;) It's the cliffhanger though, if it wasn't for that this might have been bearable...maayyyybe! :)

Keertana (view spoiler)

♥Rachel♥ Oh no! I just read the spoilers! She better not!! (view spoiler)

Keertana Sam, I agree, there will be MAJOR tantrums and Rachel, I am totally wish you: she better now! (view spoiler)

Keertana Sam wrote: "Rachel, I think that's possible. [spoilers removed]

Gosh thinking about all of this is making me really anxious! Waiting for sequels is unhealthy. ;)"

It is SO unhealthy, isn't it? (view spoiler) :)

♥Rachel♥ Keertana wrote: "Sam, I agree, there will be MAJOR tantrums and Rachel, I am totally wish you: she better now! [spoilers removed]"

Lol Keertana! If the worst happens, you write your fan-fiction the way we want it, I'll cut out the parts of the book that we don't like, and paste your version in there! Major tantrums if we don't get our way. But seriously (view spoiler)

Keertana Yup, we have a back-up plan now if all should fail, which it hopefully won't, but back-ups are always good! ;) (view spoiler)

Purcheria Hey Keertana, was this book scary at all? I'm a bit of a wuss so I wanna know before I start it.

Keertana Nope, not at all! I'm a wuss too and can't stand to watch horror movies, so don't worry, this one wasn't scary in the least. It's just pure awesome! ;)

Purcheria Niiiiice...I'm on it...hehehe

Purcheria Oh and I finished "Speechless" btw. But my pc is on the fritz and I do NOT like writing from my Ipod, so I can't right a review yet. But I did like it. Not as much as "If I Lie", but good none-the-less

Keertana Yay! Yup, you can't really compare it with If I Lie since it's not such a serious subject matter, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was just so much fun to read! :) I'll be looking out for your review when you get around to writing it! :D

Michele at A Belle's Tales I loved this one... even that evil ending :D Great review!

Keertana Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one - it was SO good! :D

Purcheria Can I just say that I love Kami...she's so funny and witty

Savindi I'm considering buying this book. Will it be worth it?

Keertana Yes. Definitely. No question about it. ;)

I hope you like it! :D

Savindi Keertana wrote: "Yes. Definitely. No question about it. ;)

I hope you like it! :D"

Haha okay! Thanks Keertana :).

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