Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan is part of my Young Adult filler portion of my reading goal. Kami Glass has lived her entire life with someone else in her head. Most would call it an imaginary friend, but her vivid detail unsettled even her own parents and even ended a childhood friendship. Kami learned, sort of, to keep “Jared” to herself. Kami’s quaint English town, Sorry-in-the-Vale, is not a hotbed of excitement – there’s not enough kids in town for more than one school, even. Everything is turned upside down when the Lynburn family returns to their enormous mansion overlooking the town. Especially when one of the teenage sons of the original Lynburn twins turns out to be the same Jared who has shared his innermost thoughts and feelings with Kami his entire life. HE’S REAL. Not coincidentally, when the Lynburns come back, shit starts to get weird. Kami, an aspiring investigative journalist, wants to get to the bottom of the weirdness, and hopefully figure out why she and Jared’s brains are linked.
I enjoyed the fact that Kami is an independent thinker. Though she loves her imaginary-cum-corporeal friend Jared, she recognizes how unhealthy and uncomfortable it would be to have any kind of relationship with someone without any privacy. She’s curious, scared, brave, and funny. Her choice of friends is a little to be desired; I found her bff Angela to be a little grating. Her misanthropy is meant to be amusing, I think, but I find it unrealistic someone would be able to stand her presence long enough to be close friends. I also have forgotten if there’s any explanation for it. Later you find out she has some confusion about her sexuality, which to me only adds to my dislike of her characterization. Since I don’t like the character and in my view someone’s sexuality isn’t the point of their existence, I feel ok spoiling that. Not all lesbians (budding or established) are rabid man-haters and characterizing them as such is a little dangerous, especially (imo) in a young adult novel. I’ll allow that her hatred extends to women as well but most of her vitriol is directed at guys. I might have misinterpreted her rage, though; I’ll allow she’s possibly just a super overprotective friend. Anyway. Jared and Ash, the mysterious Lynburn brothers are apparently supposed to serve as points in the love triangle many YA novels seem to require. I don’t like either of them particularly and they’re basically just types.
The central mystery is interesting enough. I often like supernaturally-themed ones so that was an enjoyable portion of the story. I liked that the resolution wasn’t necessarily what you expected, though I expect that is also because this book is the first in a series and the writer needed to leave room for the next book. I didn’t like anyone aside from the main character, however, and so I would only recommend this if you really enjoy reading about the same old hot teenage love triangle dudes, like cool heroines, and need something fairly quick to read. Entertaining? Yes. Groundbreaking? No.