Published by Simon and Schuster on 13th September 2012
Book kindly sent by publisher for an honest review.
Kami had been hearing a voice in her head all her life. When she was eight, people had thought it was cute that she had an imaginary friend. It was very different now that she was seventeen. Kami was accustomed to people thinking she was crazy.
Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met - a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn't complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part - until disturbing events begin to happen. There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real...and he may be dangerous.
I wanted to really love this book. Everyone had been raving about how wonderful an author Sarah Rees Brennan was and I became desperate to read one of her books and although I enjoyed it I was left a little irritated by it. I have rewritten this review a few times because I found it really difficult to define what I actually felt about the book. I feel like I should sit on the fence and present my likes and dislikes and leave you to be the judge whether this book is for you or not.
I thought the storyline was very good; the author weaved into elements of magic and gave the story a fairy tale dusting which was intriguing and kept me reading. I found most of the characters very entertaining. Angela was definitely one of my favourite and came across as similar to an angry sloth. I don't think I have ever come across such an entertaining character before. She could have her own sitcom and I would be glued.
The Lynburns were a rather strange family - I think the dancing in the rain would have had me backing away from them at speed. The only likeable character from that family was the rather temperamental and disagreeable Jared. The first real encounter between Jared and Kami was priceless - they had spent all their lives talking to each other telepathically yet when they actually meet, neither one is impressed by the other.
The book has that Nancy Drew style of narrative to it, where the mystery unravels as the protagonist painstakingly tries to find out the truth.The plot was a mixture of old school mystery and modern day sitcoms, blended to create a charming Gothic tale.
Sarah Rees Brennan would probably make an excellent stand up comedian as she is as witty in her writing as she is in real life. To begin with her witticisms had me snorting all over the place, however as the book progressed, I began to get fed up of them and Kami, the main character began to grate on my nerves. The sarcasm that Kami used constantly to deal with difficult situations became annoying to me in the end and I felt it didn't fit with the dark progression of the story.
I found the pacing a little slow to begin with. A lot of the action doesn't actually occur until the last hundred pages where the initial part of the book deals quite heavily with the change in relationship between Kami and Jared. Personally I would have liked to have seen these elements run more smoothly side by side, so that the mystery was more evident throughout the book with the suspects being more evident to begin with.
I also found myself getting really annoyed with the American language used by characters who were supposed to be English, in a book set in England. We don't ever talk about Jello, because we don't eat it - we definitely don't hail for cabs either. I really felt that it lacked the Englishness it was trying so hard to create.
So on the whole I did enjoy the book but I felt that the issues I had with it stopped me really loving it. I am still interested to read other books by this author and just because I didn't love, doesn't mean others won't. From the reviews I have seen on Goodreads, I would say this book is probably a Marmite book - you will either love it or hate it. Personally, I am still balancing on the fence!