Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Review: Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis

This review may contain some very (very, very) minor spoilers.

I’d love a cup of coffee. I wish she knew how pretty she was. I wish I could drop this kid in the dryer sometimes. I just want her to be happy. I hope she didn’t find out what Ben said about her. I wish I knew how many calories were in a bite of muffin…

Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears Jessica whisper: I want to kill my Hearing dead, and kill me too if that’s what it takes, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.

Joy's ability has always been a positive factor in her life. She uses it to help those around her, and tends to heard fairly shallow Whispers (thoughts). Unlike her older sister, Icka, she has a group of friends, and is on good terms with their mother. Icka, on the other hand, haters her power. She hears the negative Whispers. The self-conscious, jealous, or angry thoughts of the people around her. This has led her to loathe her ability, and to distance herself from everyone. Joy often feels that Icka is trying to ruin her life, and at first it seems that she is. Icka gets in the way of her friendships, and keeps warning her that her power is going to cause her problems. At the start of the book, I thought Joy was right. Upon reading more, I realized that it was more complicated than that.

What I most enjoyed about this book was the relationship between joy and Icka. While at first I thought Icka genuinely hated Joy, it became apparent that she was only trying to protect her. As an older sister, I can understand the mindset Icka was in when she thought that making her sister miserable would help her. Despite this, when Joy hears Icka's frightening Whisper, she knows she has to help her. I know that if the situation had been reversed, Icka would have dropped everything to help Joy, too.

I was torn about Joy's character as I started the book. She used her power to help others, but sometimes it was at the expense of her own feelings and choices. For example, the loner Jamie leaves her a flower on her birthday (sweet, right?), but she ends up throwing it away because her friends don't approve. She is able to hear some negative Whispers about him, and she would rather her friends be happy. Despite this, proving that Jamie is a nice guy, she hears him Whisper that he just wants her to be happy.

The beginning of the book is slow. It's completely dedicated to introducing the characters, and what Whispers are. By the time the action started, I couldn't imagine how everything could wrap up in the pages I had left. When the action started, however, it really picked up! I don't think I set the book down at all once I hit the last third of the story, because I had to know what happened. The ending also left some things open, but Kitanidis is working a sequel, according to her Goodreads page.

Overall, I enjoyed the unique premise,
despite the slow start, once the action picked up I couldn't put it down. There are also a few questions I'm looking forward to having answered in the sequel.

By Phoebe Kitanidis
Published by Balzer + Bray
320 Pages
Rating: B

*This review is based off of the unedited ARC edition. Some portions of the story are subject to change


Tales of Whimsy said...

Fantastic review. Thanks for letting me know it starts slow. Happy weekend!

Monster of Books said...

Awesome review!! I really want to read this, but a bit hesitant. I really don't like slow beginnings.

Jan von Harz said...

Whispers sound interesting, although I usually do not books that take so long to get into the main action. Still set up is important. Great Review.

I'm a Lit-Bitch, Baby said...

Great review. This one sounds interesting.

Jennay and Luke the Pup said...

Great review. I've seen this around other blogs and I want to read it!

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