Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Whisper

Title: Whisper

Author: Phoebe Kitanidis

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
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.

So what did I like from this book? 

I thought the concept of Whispers and Waves was fun. It wasn't very unique, maybe, but you can't really squeeze that much more out of the mind reading lemon these days. In a way, Kitanidis featured a different sort of mind reading that was only limited to desires. I had no idea a person wished for something so much. I'll have to be more aware more often of what I subconsciously think about people. 

Whispers actually focused a lot more on Joy and Icka's sisterhood. That was a new and refreshing twist. I thought the book would be more suspense-driven, especially looking at the Goodreads summary. But I actually found the flashback moments into the sisters' past and the development of their present day relationship to be poignant and well-developed. I can only hope for more Joy-Icka bonding in later installments. 

What did I think could definitely use some improvements for the next book?

Joy, Joy, Joy. I had a tremendous amount of difficulty relating to her. She is so frustratingly naive, as her sister pointed out. While a lot of people would find Icka's (note: Icka is the saddest nickname to give a person...ever) criticism insensitive and hateful, I actually agreed with the eldest Stefani sister. Joy can be so blind and shallow--she takes all her information "prechewed" from her Mom and her friends. For a fifteen-year-old, Joy is heavily dependent on those around her. To be honest, the only way to describe her initial personality is ghostly; she has no substance of her own but is only defined by those she interacts with. Overall, Whisper, for better or for worse, tilted away from urban fantasy mystery and more towards chicklitty melodrama. And chicklits all deal in the minutiae of teenage woes and high school drama. 

Joy's "friends" with the exception of Parker are all plastic and fake. While I can sort of relate with Joy in not seeing how badly she fits in with her friends (for me, it's 2nd grade all over again...), I can't really say Joy did anything to stand out from being the follower. Joy gets really pissy right about when her Hearing starts improving and she realizes her BFFs think she's a sidekick. But honestly, for 2/3 of the book, Joy only focuses on pleasing everyone else but never herself. Whether it's becoming president of Parker's recycling club or trying to appease both grandparents during the most awkward family brunch in history, Joy spends every hour of her life Hearing the Whispers in order to keep everyone satisfied. Disappointing someone ruins her entire day. Moreover, it completely blindsides Joy when her father tells her that he only wants her to be happy. At that moment, I was thinking, Joy, you cannot please everyone! And are you really surprised that your dad is selfless? Are you so surprised that someone actually doesn't want something from you? Try to get to know the man before you run off to your mom because your father is way more understanding than you think. 

So...I did have a few more minor qualms, but I mainly just wished Joy wasn't so bland. She sort of ruined the story for me, but I'll still read whatever sequel is next.

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