Author: Phoebe Kitanidis
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."I wish..."
"I could use a..."
Joy has the ability to hear 'whispers'. She can hear people deepest desires. She uses her talent to benefit people, unlike her sister, who uses her ability to make people's lives harder and miserable. But when Joy starts hearing darker 'whispers', and when her sister runs away, her whole world goes into a tailspin. Will her life ever go back to normal?
Absorbing, riveting, and dark, Whisper will attract readers into its suspense-ridden world wherein a different, darker side of people is exposed. With intensity and an obscure, sinister semblance lingering throughout the novel, readers will be introduced to a different mindset in which hearing people's deep, secret desires are normal happenings. This psychologically-draining urban fantasy unflinchingly delves into the human's dark, inner nature and ultimately divulges what happens if it overtakes a person's sense of humanity.
Always with good intentions and a desire to live a normal life, Joy is a strong protagonist that is thrust into being able to 'hear' people's 'whispers'. Her narration is an intertwining of perspectives, both as a teenager, and a listening outsider. Wracked to the core with raging inner battles, disturbing problems, and worries about her estranged sister, Joy is forced to mature and grow up quickly. Her cheerful, bright, and well-loved personality contrasts the grim, sometimes morbid events that she has to deal with, contriving a young woman torn between two identities.
At first glance, Jessica is grumpy, tainted, and spiteful. But as readers start to familiarize themselves with Jessica, they will ultimately recognize her as a hurt, angry, and sensitive teenager aching to escape the preconceived stereotype that her friends, and even most of her family have put her into. She is discerned as the 'darker, evil' sister while Joy is perceived as 'happier, uplifting' sister. The little, broken glimpses of her softer, delicate side, shown through Joy's eyes towards the end leave a touch of hope and permeate a lighter sense of affection into the novel.
Forgiveness, friendship, and jealousy are all steadfast themes throughout the novel but are shown in unoriginal and somewhat predictable ways. But the redeeming aspect of Whisper is the concept of 'whispers' and how it is seamlessly fused with the real world. The 'whispers' really explored the ugly truth about the shady side of human nature. Through 'whispers', Kitanidis is able to expose the different vulnerabilities, insecurities, and desires that people might not even be aware of.
With dark themes, and concrete character development, Phoebe Kitanidis is the author to watch. Although the plot is confusing, Whisper is filled with gripping, compensating aspects that readers will immediately devour. Whisper's supernatural allure, with its up-to-date contemporary setting, is a stand-out amongst today's YA urban fantasies. (B)
The Bottom Line: A balance of imagination and reality.
My reaction/enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 79/100 (B)