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Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan took my breath away. I loved every tantalizing, suspenseful moment. A 2013 top read for sure.

Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title & Author: Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy Book 1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Genre: YA Fantasy- Magic

Release Date: September 11, 2012

Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: Book Club Pick


“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?”

What I Like About You

More like what do I absolutely love about you. Unspoken is everything I love in books. It had amazing humor, a fantastic setting (the Cotswolds in England!), interesting magic and paranormal activity and a romance that was gloriously convoluted and complex!

Let’s start with the magic/fantasy part first. Kami lives in the very small town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. (And yes, towns in the Cotswolds really do have weird names. Ex: Moreton-on-the-Marsh is a real town!). Ever since she can remember, she’s had an imaginary friend.

The only thing is, her friend isn’t someone Kami made up. He’s in her thoughts – he can hear hers and she can hear his. Plus, he answers her questions, which a real imaginary friend is unable to do.

This element of Unspoken is not explained right away. Which is both smart and interesting. Readers are just left to assume Kami isn’t crazy and that somehow the mystery will be solved.

Then, the Lynburns return to Sorry-in-the-Vale. They’re a family that most residents avoid due to various odd reasons. The reporter in Kami is intrigued and a series of investigative reports are published in a newly created school paper that Kami created (of course).

Can I just say, I loved everything about Kami. Her confidence and charm, her wit and wordsmith-ery. Plus, her best friend Angela is hilarious in her own right. Kami is a character who felt fully real to me. I wanted to be her friend!!

You Keep Me Up at Night

I could not put down Unspoken. There were so many mysteries to solve, and once I thought I had one figured out, some new piece of the puzzle would fit and skew my previous assumptions.

One of my favorite things about the book, which does exactly what I just described, is Kami’s romance with the Lynburn boys. Yes, boys plural. Because they are night and day – almost literally. One is angelic and noble and the other is dark and twisted.

GAH!! I definitely don’t want to ruin anything for you – and trust me, the cliffhanger at the end prevents me from saying too much – but trust me on this one. SO GOOD!

A huge theme that Brennan plays on throughout the novel and is shown in Kami’s relationships with the boys, her friends, her parents and with the town is the idea that everything that is familiar and safe is not as predictable or secure as she thought.

A ton of assumptions Kami has are turned on their heads, and she can’t be sure what’s up and what’s down anymore. That level of suspense is what carried Unspoken over from good to great.


It’s obvious – I have a mega crush on this book. I fell in love with Kami most of all and then everything else lined right up. Sometimes strong characters and writing can just do that to a person. Unspoken is definitely a stand out of 2013!!

Bonus: Pics from The Cotswolds

So, as some of you know, I went to England earlier this year, and actually visited the Cotswolds!!

I thought I’d share a few pics to give you an idea of the setting for Unspoken!

the cotswolds, england

the cotswolds, england

the cotswolds, england

Our stay at the Cotswolds

the cotswolds, england

Obligatory phone booth pic, amirite?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Erica Jane Ostergar

    I’ve been wanting to read something of her’s for a while. (Surely the wonderful Maggie Stiefvater can’t have poor taste in critic partners, right?) I think this might have to be it.

    • Oh, I didn’t realize she’d written other books! Anything I should add to my ever-growing TBR? And, no, Maggie can do no wrong 😉

  • Sarah

    I just discovered your post, and your enthusiasm and description made me check out the book right away…I’m obsessed, I couldn’t put it down last night!!