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Glimmer Hardcover – April 17, 2012
In a seemingly idyllic small town called Summer Falls, two teens wake up naked, entwined in each other’s arms, and neither one has any memory of who they are or how they got there. Chapters alternate between “Him” and “Her” as they try to piece together their pasts and find their identities. While Summer Falls is always a perfect 72 degrees and nothing bad ever seems to happen—at least, not that anyone remembers—only Elyse and Marshall see that something is very wrong. Ghosts of the town’s past inhabitants trigger “heatnaps” to erase bad memories on the spot, while sunny memories reveal a darker side in the form of an ancient power funneled through a charismatic ancestor of Elyse’s. Readers will respond to Elyse’s and Marshall’s character development as they search for themselves, each trying to reconcile the person they’re learning about with who they feel they are at the core. The decidedly sci-fi feel of this supernatural suspense story will appeal to a broad range of readers. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth
“Both Elyse and Marshall are feisty and flawed, making for a satisfying and romantic action-adventure … perfect for a quick summer read. ” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Laced with magic and a touch of romance, and enhanced by a truly creepy setting, this is an intriguing mystery. Give this one to teens who want something other than the typical supernatural romance.” (School Library Journal)
“The decidedly sci-fi feel of this supernatural suspense story will appeal to a broad range of readers.” (ALA Booklist)
Praise for WHISPER: “Common conflicts are nuanced by Kitanidis’s intriguing construction of Joy’s powers, unexpected plot moves, and strong characterizations.” (School Library Journal)
Praise for WHISPER: “Whisper is a refreshingly unpredictable story with the perfect balance of family and friends, and magical gifts and secrets. Phoebe Kitanidis is a strong new voice in the young adult, urban fantasy genre, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.” (Kim Harrison, bestselling author of ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY)
Praise for WHISPER: “An imaginative tale that that brings to the surface the complexities of family, friends, relationships, and belonging, WHISPER also explore selfishness, selflessness, and the bonds that link us to each other.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
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Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis starts dramatically with two teenagers waking up together naked in bed. The twist is, they have no memory of each other or of their own lives. From there, in alternating first person narratives, we learn little by little about each of the characters, the odd town that they are inhabiting, and their lives prior to their loss of memory.
I am very torn when writing this review, because I thought that this book would definitely get five stars from me. The first 75% of the book is perfectly paced with very even viewpoints from each of the characters-- and this decision is necessary for this book. We have to learn about each of the characters history and take each of their individual journeys to understand what is going on. I was fascinated, drawn in, and I couldn't put it down. It has been a while since I didn't start editing a book in my head with changes that I thought might help.
Something happens in the last few chapters, and the thing is, I can't quite pinpoint the problem that I had with it. It may just be a personal preference, but some of the twists start to become a little more heavy-handed and the pacing seems off especially in comparison to the terrific beginning.
That said, this book is definitely worth reading, has wonderful characters and a really wonderful premise. I'm excited to see what else Kitanidis has up her sleeve!
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For me, Glimmer started with a bang and kept up the pace throughout the book. Elyse and Marshall wake up naked in bed. They have absolutely no memory of who they are or how they ended up together. At first, Elyse thinks that Marshall might have drugged her. But it soon becomes clear that he doesn't remember anything about his life either. Terrified and confused, Elyse decides that even though she doesn't know him, she realizes that they have to trust each other and work together if they are ever going to discover who they are, and how to get their memories back.
Their first logical choice is of course to go to the hospital. But the nurses and cops act like if there is nothing wrong with them. Even her mother acts like if losing her memory is no big deal. After some VERY strange interactions with the residents of Summer Falls, it quickly becomes clear that there is something very wrong with them. The locals are empty shells and act like zombies, what's worse is the fact that no one seems to have any unpleasant memories. Whenever anyone has a bad experience, they suffer from "heatnaps" and their bad memories are instantly forgotten. Add all this to the fact that there seem to be ghost that no one else sees but Elyse. But is she really seeing ghost, or is she just losing her mind? Along the way they find clues that helps them figure out who they are, but will Marshall and Elyse like the person they once were?
If I had to describe this book in one sentence, it would be: Hangover meets Pleasantville, plus ghosts and magic. The story is told between Elyse and Marshall's alternating POV's, which is always a plus for me. I loved that when they don't know what their names are, the chapter are simply titled: HIM and HER. As the story progresses and they search for who they are, the chapters change to: Elyse and Dark Haired Boy, and finally to Elyse and Marshall. Glimmer was such a nice surprise because it is unlike any other book I have read. It had the perfect mix of mystery, suspense, romance and several WTF moments.
The slow building relationship between Marshall and Elyse was intense and very believable. I have to admit that there were a couple of moments where I was a little bit confused towards the end, but overall the story was great fresh new take in the YA paranormal genre. The ending felt a bit rushed but made up for it in the epilogue. I really enjoyed Glimmer and I can honestly say that this book was well worth the wait.
4.5 out of 5 sparkly stars!
Some of my favorite non spoiler quotes from Glimmer:
-"Am I supposed to know these people?"
"That guy is you." Doubt creeps into my voice though. Does he really not recognize himself? "Or I don't know, maybe that's your twin brother."
"I have a twin?" He narrows his eyes at the photo, tilts his head to either side, lets out a breath, like he's trying to calm himself. He turns back to me. "Tell me he's not evil, 'cause I've got enough problems."
"You're the evil one."
-"Let's be clear, I'm not having a moment. I have no memories. Of anything before this morning As in, you're a stranger, and if I'm on some experimental reality TV show, I just want to say to the fans out there: I did not sign up for this bull****."
-I'm afraid to learn more about myself. But I'm even more afraid of staying a blank. Of never being whole again, ending up in the asylum.
-"I'm a total and complete mess. I don't know who I am, and I hate who I was."
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