Don't you just love that tagline? Makes you wonder who or what those voices do belong to. Welcome to our stop on The Murmurings blog tour hosted by Itching for Books Blog Tours. An excerpt we chose, our review and a tour-wide giveaway is below.
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
YA horror/thriller*Hardcover/ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Simon Pulse
A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.
As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…
"Sophie, what is it? What's the matter?"
Mrs. Dodd stands in the open doorway, her hay-colored hair swishing as the door clangs shut behind her. The murmuring is gone. The faucet is dripping again. A tiny spot on the mirror distorts my reflection--a tiny spot that wasn't there a minute ago.
It happened again.
"It's. . ." I start to say.
If I was going to tell anyone, it would probably be Mrs. Dodd. She reads Poe and Tostoy, and understands the poetry of Lord Byron and even Nietzsche. She once told us that she even reads Dostoevsky, she can almost hear the author breathing with her. She also gave me my very own copy of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land--my sister's favorite--after Nell died.
"It's nothing," I say. "I. . . I'm sorry." I start to leave, but she stops me.
"Hey, easy. It's fine. You know you can always talk to me, Sophie. If you need to."
She's trying to sound casual, but her face is scrunched up with worry.
"I'm fine," my voice comes out a little too loudly, echoing in the bathroom like a vocal pinball. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be teaching?"
Her face only relaxes when I say this. She's the only teacher I feel comfortable talking to like she's not a teacher. Maybe because she's never treated me like just another student.
"I figured it wouldn't take much to get you back in the classroom. I know how much you love Kafka," she says as she pushes the door open for me.
I don't have the heart to tell her I used to love him. Until he and every other author started making me think of Nell.
The whispers I hear behind me coming from Nell's former friends. I try to tell myself that the murmuring isn't getting louder, more insistent. I tell myself it's not happening more frequently.
And mostly, I tell myself I didn't see the mirror start to ripple where my face was, like something was behind the glass, trying to get out.
About the Author
Carly Anne West
Carly Anne West is a freelance writer with an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College. She lives with her husband and son in Seattle, Washington.
My first impression upon viewing the cover for The Murmurings is the girl has to be hospitalized somewhere or she just stepped out of the shower. After reading, I realize she is Sophie, the younger sister of Nell who was hospitalized. Nell heard voices--really murmurings--and saw images out of the corner of her eye. So does Sophie, but she hasn't shared that tidbit of info with anyone. It's bad enough she's called "freak" after Nell's bizarre death. With football player Evan the only student trying to reach out to her, Sophie first suspects his motive for being nice, then figures out he has his own agenda for befriending her. Evan also has secrets, some of which he eagerly shares with Sophie. Quiet, distraught Sophie soon takes an interest in some of the information Evan has uncovered as he searches for clues to the whereabouts of his cousin, a girl who also heard and saw things. Sophie knows Dr. Keller and his Institute hold answers to her questions, as does the strange patient who likes to build with Lego pieces.
The Murmurings has a lot to offer: mysteries (about the voices, Adam, the Takers), horror (the images Sophie sees are downright spooky), while dealing with the alcoholism and depression of Sophie's mother. Sophie is the kind of character a reader like me enjoys rooting for. Underneath the layers of hurt, of feeling abandoned by Nell, the questions, and the concern for her own sanity, is a seventeen year old with a big heart, some snark, and yearns for Evan's touch. Her story pulled me in and I enjoyed it. Told in first person, we also get to read pages from Nell's journal she kept at the Institute (and mysteriously appears in Sophie's car after her sister's death), and then we also are privy to blog posts by the mysterious Adam. Some readers may not care for the mystery of Nell's poem since she was a fan of poet T.S. Eliot's epic piece, The Waste Land. I didn't mind but I thought the pacing of the story was slow. I kept waiting for something more to happen.
As much as the book is marketed as "creepy," I didn't really get the sense of this tale as being horrific. For a truly scary series, check out Simon Holt's The Devouring series or Kendare Blake's Anna series. Things picked up halfway through and I was glad I kept reading, still intrigued by the Takers storyline. I liked Sophie and Evan but wasn't convinced by their relationship (he's a jock) nor did I truly connect with either. I wished they both had more depth to them than what was on the surface. As for the mystery, while intense at times, the ease of Sophie to do something I won't reveal had me torn. I knew she wanted answers but to submit to this seemed silly (like when the girl in the horror movie knows someone is following her but she asks out loud if someone is there--well, duh).
Overall, I liked The Murmurings. The mystery of Nell's poetry, the murmurings and the world of Takers and Seers intrigued me, but I was expecting the scare factor to be higher and the ending to not be so neatly put together.
Cover comment: Cool cover, even if she's sideways.
Book source: Edelweiss in return for my honest review during a book tour.