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I Belong


Review: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

Title: Glimmer

Author: Phoebe Kitanidis

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 17, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0061799289 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0061799280 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: A suspenseful mystery that makes a good fun read but does involve some heavy issues.

Opening Sentence: I come to life with a gasp in the darkness.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I want to start this review with a disclaimer. Glimmer is a young adult book but it is definitely geared towards the older young adult crowd. Elyse and Marshall wake up naked in bed together. There is also kissing and groping and one case of sex. These things happen briefly, it is not a huge part of the book but it is there. That being said, Glimmer is written towards a younger crowd.

Elyse and Marshall wake up naked in bed together with no memory of their lives or how they got there. At first they blame each other for doing something deceitful but then they quickly decide they can only trust each other. They escape the house they woke up in only to roam quiet streets. Eventually they meet an old lady who acts strangely aloof towards them. Elyse then recognizes a strange ghost on the street that she runs from but Marshall doesn’t. He can’t see ghosts like she can but he does have his own protection from them. They manage to make it to a hospital hoping to get some answers to their amnesia only to be answered with questioning looks and harsh words forcing them to hide their secret.

They decide to pretend their memories are not missing. They pick up clues from friends and family in order to learn their pasts as they discover the town is not as idyllic as it appears to be. Summer Falls (the happiest place on earth) is the home to the best weather in the world and “heatnaps” that help relieve stress from the townspeople and visitors. The heatnaps also have a strange effect on peoples’ memories often leaving them in a zombie-like, flighty state. Pretty soon, Elyse and Marshall realize the town is full of ghosts. Elyse and Marshall begin getting their memories back a little bit at a time. In the process they uncover the deep, dark history of Summer Falls and why their memories where erased in the first place.

Glimmer switches between Elyse and Marshall’s point of view. Even though the chapters are clearly marked I still felt like when I was reading from Marshall’s point of view that I was still reading as Elyse because there wasn’t really much difference between their personalities. Elyse and Marshall did become better people after losing their memories. They both wanted to be better people especially after finding out how selfish they were before. I did like that about them.

The mystery of the loss of their memories and what is going on in the town is enough to hook you to keep reading. The overall revelations are not disappointing. Although I did figure out who the main bad guy was before he was revealed, I still enjoyed the ending. The pacing was spot on, revealing little bits of information at a time while still adding more suspense to the story. There was a grisly spot near the beginning with a ferris wheel that is not for the squeamish but it is necessary for the story-line to show how the townsfolk react. Also, Glimmer brings up child/spousal abuse and molestation, heavy issues that are discussed as happening to people but they can’t remember the act. Elyse is attacked by her father though in one scene.

Overall, Glimmer is an easy read but not for the faint of heart. It teaches us that just happiness isn’t always the best thing for us. That all of our memories make us the people we become in life.

Notable Scene:

Suddenly I miss Elyse, my friend Elyse, my only actual friend. I miss her with a powerful ache in my chest. Even though I can see her, it feels like she’s slipping away from me. The memory of Elyse waking up in my bed—her light brown hair shining in the morning sun—feels painfully distant. Untrustworthy, like maybe it was all a dream.

I know it wasn’t all a dream. At least I’m 99 percent sure. But whatever happened between us in the past, it’s over. (And we don’t even know for sure what did happen.) The present moment, the one where Elyse is popular and I’m invisible, feels inescapably solid. I sink deeper into my seat at the loser table as the cafeteria noise buzzing between me and Elyse echoes though my head.

FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Glimmer. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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