Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him? Quoted from Goodreads
--------------------Well, my lovely readers, yet again I am going to gush about this book. I was first introduced to Sarah Rees Brennan when I read her Demon's Lexicon series (which I have yet to convince anyone to read. Honestly, I think it's the cover, which could be better). In fact, I trusted her enough that I didn't even read the above summary before reading the book. I knew it was a paranormal mystery and that there was a gothic influence, but that's it. No character's name, no plot points, not even the main conflict. And I loved it.
I loved Kami's character. Think half-asian Veronica Mars/Lois Lane (but more VM). Enough said.
Seriously, she was smart, focused (started her own high-school newspaper), knew what she wanted, had very present and involved parents, and quirky friends. I feel like Sarah Rees Brennan sort of took everything that she hated about a lot of contemporary female characters in YA and made absolutely sure Kami was none of the above.
Let's examine the whole bond between her and her "imaginary friend" Jared. When she finds out he's a real person, we could have a) insta-love b) been creeped out because suddenly a real person literally knows everything about you c) scared but willing to work through this to become friends d) kill the other person to get rid of the voices in your head. If you guessed b and c, you are correct!
I really liked the way she explored what you would really do if the voice in your head suddenly was a real live flesh and blood person. And for all I loved Kami, I also loved Jared in a different way. He sees and feels things very differently from Kami. Despite their lifelong connection, they come from completely different backgrounds, including, but not limited to, where they grew up (USA vs. England) Family life (supportive vs. neglectful/evil), gender (obvious), race (half-asian vs. beautiful blond), etc. And this affects the way they think and act about their sharred bond.
Plus, I think Sarah Rees Brennan is funny. She likes to throw in little witty clips all over the place, many of which make me smile. This can be slightly embarrassing in public, so be warned (but you might be safe. City of Bones also cracked me up, but no one laughed like I did, so it might just be me. But probably not). Now, to be fair, there was a spot or two that made me go, what? (like the rainstorm and the tower. I had to read it three times before I really got it), but that may just be the mysterious setting being a bit too mysterious. Still I give her a 3.5 for writing (three because it was good, and the extra half because it made me laugh).
By far the biggest problem with this book I had was the ending, as in, Is she trying to kill me? June 2013 can not come quickly enough.
I absolutely give this book 4 stars. It is great, especially if you like British writers, mystery mixed in with a gothic (and I'm talking Jane Eyre and The Fall of the House of Usher) setting, and great characters. Maybe after you all read this, you will go back and pick up the Demon's Lexicon, and then I will finally, finally have someone to talk to about these books.