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Monday, April 16, 2012

ARC Review: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

TITLE: Glimmer                    AUTHOR: Phoebe Kitanidis
PUB: Balzer + Bray               PUB DATE: 4/17/12
FORMAT: ARC, 344 pgs
SOURCE: from pub in exchange for my honest review

What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

THREE FIVE WORDS: Weird…in a good way

MY REVIEW: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis turned out to be quite different than I initially expected it to be based off its blurb, but this isn’t a bad thing. Glimmer took me on a strange and complex, yet completely intriguing journey.

A teenage boy and girl wake up naked and entangled together with no memory of each other or even of who they are. Scared and confused, the two band together to uncover their missing memories, but end up uncovering a whole town’s worth of secrets. They soon learn that they are Elyse Alton and Marshall King- the resident popular girl and cocky, hot computer nerd- and they live in Summer Falls, a seemingly idyllic town. Summer Falls is paradise for its residents and a haven for tourists…but underneath its glimmering façade lays a sinister power that deprives the residents of their bad memories and hungry ghosts. Elyse and Marshall race to save their town, the people they love and their intense relationship.

Phoebe Kitanidis has certainly crafted an enthralling story that is original and, well unusual and weird…but, I use the term weird in the best way possible. Weird is good. Weird is intriguing. Weird is unexpectantly, but welcomingly different. I’m going to try my hardest to not include any spoilers, so forgive me if I’m a bit vague…

Glimmer wastes no time jumping right into the mystery and intrigue, which I really loved. Told from alternating perspectives- Elsye’s and Marshall’s-  the story unfolds with the two teens simply trying to figure out who they are and why they’re connected, then once this is accomplished the story delves deeper into the bigger mystery. All the mystery is captivating, but the book has a bit of a pacing problem. The first quarter moves slowly, the last couple of chapters seem sorta rushed, while the rest of the book paces nicely. But this didn’t keep me from enjoying the story as a whole.

And the overall mystery is written very well. There are plenty of suspenseful twists, turns and unexpected revelations and Kitanidis adds very rich and complex layers to each storyline.  This is a fantasy/paranormal book, but some readers may find the magical/supernatural elements and story too farfetched or even confusing to believe. I felt this way when the main paranormal and magical abilities were revealed, but once I simply let myself fall into the story and just go with it, I found that I was truly captivated by and appreciated the “out there-ness” of it.

While I think the story and mystery really shine, I found the characters a little lackluster, at least as individuals. I like Elyse and Marshall well enough, but I just don’t love them. I admire Elsye’s determination and strength and Marshall’s compassion and humor, but I never really connected with them individually on a deeper level. I really enjoyed them as a pair and team, but I didn’t like that they never felt complete or developed enough as separate characters.

I’m surprised that I liked the romantic aspect of Elyse and Marshall’s relationship as much as I did. Like I said, as a pair the two are engaging and they have palpable sparks and chemistry. At first their relationship seems to be of the dreaded insta-love variety, but eventually you realize it isn’t…and I can’t elaborate more than that without totally spoiling the book ;)

As I already stated, the last few chapters feel kinda rushed, but the mysteries and storylines are wrapped up in a way that left me satisfied.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Glimmer is a refreshing read, with an intriguingly weird and captivating story full of well written mystery and root-able romance.

***Oh and one more thing- the cover is really beautiful and all but who the heck is that blonde, smoky eyed gal supposed to be? ‘Cuz it looks NOTHING like how Elyse is described…this bothers me more than it should…that is all***

***I learned from the author that in the finished book Elyse is actually blonde so she does look like the girl on the cover :-)***

4/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Dep
Phoebe Kitanidis is a West Coast writer. She is the author of the young adult novels WHISPER and GLIMMER, published by Harper Collins. Phoebe grew up in a variety of places, including Athens, Greece; the American Midwest; and the San Francisco Bay Area. After her graduation from U.C. Berkeley, she taught Language Arts, then worked in a few high-tech corporate offices. In 2004, she earned her M.A. in Communication from San Jose State University. A former contributor to Discovery Girls magazine, she also wrote THE FAB GIRLS GUIDE TO FRIENDSHIP HARDSHIP, published by Discovery Girls Inc. She lives with her family in Seattle.


Unknown said...

I love weird! I'm really looking forward to this. I love amnesia plot lines too. I can't wait to see the weird mystery of these two and this town unfold.

Amy said...

This book is high on my want list. I think I am going to have to buy it really soon. I know that I won't have time for it for a while though. Great review and thanks for clearing up the cover model thing. This is not the first blog that has mentioned that. ;)

Amanda said...

Love your review! :) This is definitely going on my to-read list. Also, I HATE it when the cover model doesn't look like anyone in the book! Major pet peeve of mine.