Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis

I'd love a cup of coffee... I wish she didn't hide how pretty she is... 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...
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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.
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Whisper is an exhilarating debut novel from talented newcomer Phoebe Kitanidis.
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I'd had Whisper on my bookshelf for ages, so I was excited to finally get around to it after re-reading the synopsis and realising how cool it sounded. Unfortunately the reality didn't align with the hopes that I had had for this book.
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I found Joy, the main character to be very irritating. She is basically a do-gooder that constantly feels the need to please people by trying to fulfil their wishes and dreams that she has overheard from their whispers. However, I often felt her actions were contradictory to this helper persona that she thought she portrayed. This was never more evident than in the way she treated her older sister, Jessica. I felt she was downright mean in using the nickname 'Icka' for her. For all the help and compassion she tries to give people you would have thought she would have had at least a bit leftover for her sister, but instead she never tries to understand her and wishes only to ignore and avoid her. So in a way I felt her to be selfish and not the kind person she was supposed to be. I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stop being so naive and pathetic and that the friends she is trying to please are not worth it and that maybe she should focus on her sister more.
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Now, whereas i felt Joy was a weak character, Jessica (or 'Icka' as her supposedly affectionate sister terms her) on the other hand is actually quite a strong character and I desperately wished she had been the protagonist. She was complex and interesting and all she craved was to be rid of her 'hearing' so that she didn't have to listen to the darker side of people's mind. So much so that she will go to extreme lengths even if it kills her. This is where the plot finally picked up with Joy realising that Jessica has actually been trying to warn her about the darker side of hearing whispers and that she is the one that actually needs her help. Unfortunately this revelation of Joy's came too near the end of the book for me, although I did enjoy that part.
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The premise of this whole book is such a great idea, so I was so disappointed when the first three quarters was quite shallow with nothing more than needy Joy whining about her spiteful sister. It never went into the history of the whispers and it felt skimmed over. The last quarter was quite exciting with Joy trying to track down her sister before something terrible might happen and it was interesting to see how the relationship between two sisters can dramatically change from hatred to love. I also thought there was great potential for the love interest for Joy with Jamie who has special talents of his own which I would have loved to have been explored more. So on the whole I didn't really enjoy it but if a sequel carried on in the vein of the last part of Whisper I might be persuaded to pick it up.
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Random Passage: I squirmed. Whispers about me - or worse, addressed to me directly - were hard to ignore. It's not like I had some cosmic responsibility to make desires come true. I just hated the thought of letting people down. I mean, imagine you had to know about it every single time you failed someone.

2 comments:

mummazappa said...

I think this sounds really interesting too, but so many of these kind of books are all pretty faces (covers) and not so interesting underneath! Have you read The Body Finder? It's different from this, but kind of similar in that it's a normal girl with a super gift and how she manages it, and it's really great - very well written and the main character is not annoying!

The Library Owl said...

I loved The Body Finder!! I can't wait for the third book to be released. The main character is definitely a strong one.

I know what you mean about pretty covers. I feel like I'm being conned sometimes with them, especially when they are so beautiful and the contents don't live up to them :( A lot of the YA reads now all have amazing covers so it's hard to resist sometimes!