Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: September 11, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Kami has an imaginary friend. Which is okay when you're four, a little weird when you're seven, and utterly crazeballs when you're sixteen. Unfortunately, Kami is sixteen. She's learned to keep her conversations with Jared on the inside of her head, but despite all sorts of good reasons, she's never been willing to banish him completely.
Then the Lynburn family returns to their brooding mansion on the hill, and the town of Sorry-in-the-Vale gives out a chorus of "DOOOOOOOOOOOM!" The Lynburns were once the feudal lords of the manor, and still have more money and land than any of you, and don't you forget it. But more than land or money, they seem to have some dark power over the town, one that nobody will explain to Kami. Then she meets the ne'er-do-well, juvenile-delinquent Lynburn, who may have killed his own father . . . whose name happens to be Jared.
Kami's imaginary friend is suddenly not so imaginary . . . and maybe not so much her friend.
So you know how when there's an author that you totally fangirl for their first series, and when they start a second one with all-new world and all-new characters and everything, you're a little, "Erp!" because you truly don't know whether it was the premise or the author you were fangirling? Lay down your fears, people, because it's official: I'm fangirling the author in this case.
And I'm fangirling the author for almost the exact same reason: her characters. Kami, of course, the fast-talking, whip-smart girl reporter, and Jared, the brooding, sarcastic, possibly-evil-maybe-not black sheep. Then there's Kami's dad (I particularly liked his deeply affectionate insults), her bone-lazy best friend Angela, her new sexpot gal pal Holly, all people that you'd willingly spend a lot of time with, just to hear the repartee. The "good cousin," Ash, the villains and the daaaark mystery were all pretty stock, but that's not really what I was there for.
One of the most interesting little side threads, and one I hope continues throughout the series, is the maybe-maybe-not sexual tension between Kami and Jared. Kami has firmly friend-zoned Jared, while he seems to have a passionate crush on her, and both of these feelings stem from the same source: their close mental link. They've shared everything with each other, since birth, until lines between them have blurred. How can you trust your feelings for somebody who's in your head? Brennan wraps this up with a devastating but weirdly satisfying choice at the end, and ensures that I'm slavering for the next book in the proposed trilogy.
Bouncing merrily between a BBC village soap, a Gothic psychodrama, a Nancy Drew mystery on steroids, and a Cary Grant flick (because Kami at her best was straight out of Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday), Unspoken was exactly what I was hoping for from the next Sarah Rees Brennan book.