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UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan

UNSPOKEN

From the Lynburn Legacy series, volume 1

By Sarah Rees Brennan

Age Range: 11 - 17

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-87041-5
Publisher: Random House

Sassy girl detective meets overwrought gothic romance, and it goes about as well as you'd expect.

Kami Glass knows that she could be a great reporter, if there were only something worth investigating in her sleepy Cotswolds village. But now the aristocratic, secretive Lynburns are coming home to their sinister ancestral mansion, and Kami is determined that her high school newspaper will get the scoop. Soon, two gorgeous, near-identical Lynburn cousins, princely Ash and bad-boy Jared, join her journalistic team—not to mention Kami's imaginary best friend since babyhood, who turns out to be not quite so imaginary after all. And that's when the grisly murders start….From the abandoned abbey to the veiled villain, no gothic trope is forgotten while creating the doom-drenched atmosphere. Unfortunately, when an admirably intrepid 21st-century heroine with supportive family and friends replaces the traditional isolated innocent, and when every character banters with the same witty genre-savvy repartee even under the direst of circumstances, any suspension of disbelief is stretched to the snapping point. The abrupt tonal shift at the climax, when the magic previously hinted at is revealed as both deadly and heartbreaking, makes the final cliffhanger even more devastating.    

Far too self-consciously clever to be truly emotionally absorbing, this is nonetheless an enjoyable tribute for established fans of the gothic, as well as an enticing introduction for new ones. (Fantasy. 11-17)