Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis

SUMMARY (From goodreads):

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 a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, 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


A great blend of realistic and supernatural, light and intense, Whisper is a new take on the hearing voices scenario. What seems helpful and manageable at the beginning of the book starts to change, triggering much of the events that follow. Also having some unexpected twists and striking character development, Whisper draws attention back to mind reading.

Joy is happy and well rounded, but she unintentionally defines herself around her ability. Calling the thoughts she hears from people 'wishes,' Joy often goes out of her way to please people and cater to their inner thoughts. Cloaked in a shroud of good, however, it slowly becomes clear that Joy isn't hearing everything. She isn't able to understand why her sister is so dark and vastly different from her, and the tension between the two girls is realistic and intense. Joy's character goes through stunning development and changes, seeing many things for how they really are for the first time. Though some of her reactions are annoying and frustrating, it is understandable for the situation, setting and her age.

Jessica, Joy's sister otherwise known as just Icka, spends her time getting high and drunk- anything to numb her Hearing. She seems to go out of her way to cause problems for her sister and her parents, and has no friends, due in large part to her own personality and actions. Icka, too, goes through a great amount of personal growth, adding to the overall realism of this book.

The rest of the cast, from Joy's parents and aunt to Jaime, have their own hidden layers and the full picture of things is revealed at a steady pace. Though a few parts did drag, Whisper is still an enjoyable and engaging read. It isn't high action, and focuses more on the character development, but it has it's moments of uncertainty and eyebrow raising twists.

Kitanidis' writing is easy to read and gives a great overall picture. Her emotional infusions hold some power and even pulls the reader into Joy's head in a way that makes it harder to see the overall picture as well. With some subtler thought provoking aspects as well, Whisper makes for an enjoyable and lingering reading experience. As Joy is being forced to learn, it isn't possible to please everyone, and knowing the darker thoughts people have isn't as great as it might seem.

Source: Purchased
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061799254
ISBN-13: 978-0061799259