Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 11, 2012)
Description: Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.
My Thoughts: Sarah Rees Brennan might be my new favorite author! I was swept away by this story of a girl and a boy who are linked to each other. They can read each other's minds and have been able to since they were babies. The story had me alternating between laughter and having chills run up my spine.
Kami Glass is a life-long resident of Sorry-in-the-Vale but being part Japanese feels like she can take the outsiders point of view. She also has ambitions to be a journalist and is determined to find out the secrets of the town. She knows that some of the secrets revolve around the Lynburn family and their ancient home that overlooks the town.
Kami has never been alone. She can depend on Jared to be a constant presence in her mind giving her comfort and support. However, stopping and staring into space while communicating with someone no one else can see has made Kami a bit of an outcast in her town. She lost the friendship of Nicola Pendergast because she was just too weird. Now her best friend is Angela - beautiful, lazy, and a hater of humanity.
When the Lynburns return to town in the persons of twin sisters Rosalind and Lillian, Lillian's husband Rob, Rob and Lillian's son Ash, and Rosalind's son Jared, Kami has even more secrets to uncover and explore. The two boys come to school and both get involved with Kami. Ash is like a fairy tale prince, all blond and beautiful, and interested in Kami. Jared is her Jared, the one she has shared brain space with all her life, but he seems to both need her and want to maintain distance from her.
The story heats up when someone throws Kami into a well, though she is rescued by Jared, and then starts killing. First the deaths are animals but they soon escalate until Nicola is killed. Kami has to find out what is going on. She quickly discovers secrets long buried. She lives in a town of sorcerers. The strongest of them all are the Lynburns but there are others who have magic in their blood too.
The most amazing part of this story - besides the wonderful dialogue and images - is the nature of the bond between Jared and Kami. Kami is so conflicted about it. She loves the comfort of the mental connection but doesn't know what to do now that Jared is real to her. She loves him but wants her own mental privacy. She doesn't know how much her caring is because he is in her mind and how much of her caring is real.
I loved Jared too. He is such a lonely person, hated by both his parents, that I can understand why he would not want to sever the bond with Kami. After all, she is the only one who loves him and accepts him as he is. He can't imagine life without her support.
The story has wonderful, well-developed side characters as well. Angela and her brother Rusty are great friends. Kami's father is a character - in all senses of the word. Her mother is supportive but has been keeping secrets Kami's whole life. And the Lynburns... Lillian is arrogant and aristocratic, Rosalind is eerie and obsessed, Rob is down to earth and seems to care for Jared along with his own son. Ash is handsome and seems to want to have a relationship with Kami.
This was a great story. I can't wait to get a finished copy and share it with my students.
"Did they say they were coming?" Kami asked suspiciously. "Or did you shout 'Kami's in the well!' and then jump in the well too, thus losing your phone and making sure the police think it was some kids playing a dumb joke?"I got this one from Random House Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.
Jared paused. He was breathing quickly, the dreamy part of Kami noticed, his chest rising and falling hard. She wasn't sure if it was because he'd had to run so fast, because he's had to dive to grab her, or it it was panic.
"Alternate plan," Jared said. "Do you have a very intelligent collie who might communicate through a system of barks to your parents that little Kami is in the well?"