Unspoken - Sarah Rees Brennan I don't know if I've felt ever felt guiltier about not liking a book than I do about this one. So many people love Unspoken to pieces and I can understand why, but I was very underwhelmed. It seems to me that Unspoken was a book that was trying to break out of the YA mold but ended up following the fold.

By far the biggest problem with this novel is Jared Lynburn. He's your typical brooding, overprotective, woe-is-me, bad boy with anger management issues. I find none of these traits attractive, and therefore I could not identify with Kami's attraction to him even considering their shared thoughts. Although he and Kami are not in a relationship, he acts possessive of her. He has to be tricked into "letting" her go out with her girl friends without him, he sabotages her date with another guy, and he's always hovering around her in this creepy overprotective way, even when she tells him she needs space.

I also found his self-pity very irritating and overly melodramatic, and I didn't appreciate how he would use his self-pity manipulatively to make Kami forgive him for his asinine behavior. He also had a tendency of expressing himself with physical violence. We're introduced to the character just after he gets into a fight with every member of the rugby team (we're given no explanation for this fight but I'm inclined to believe it was Jared's fault based on his subsequent actions), and he punches his cousin, Ash, in the face without any provocation. Physical assault is just not okay.

When I was first introduced Kami Glass, I was intrigued. She was intelligent and witty, and I admired her ambition and strength. Kami also says the right things about not wanting a possessive boyfriend and needing independence, but in the end actions speak louder than words. While Kami initially admonishes Jared for his behavior, she quickly backs down and forgives him because he acts hurt by her criticism. I can't think of a single instance where she didn't end up comforting him and assuring him of his worth after he acted possessive, jealous, or overprotective. And even though his behaviors never change (he's possessive, overprotective, and jealous to the very end), she falls head over heels in love with him. By the end, I lost all respect I had for her character.

I didn't find the side characters all that compelling either. There isn't much to say about Ash. He lacks personality and character development. He is the nice guy of the love triangle and he follows the path taken by nearly all other nice guys he turns out to be evil, of course. Angela's people-hate tip-toed the line between funny and annoying. Holly had potential in that she broke the YA mold by being pretty and popular with guys, yet also nice, however, she didn't have much depth. Kami's family was a bit too cartoonish for me, particularly her father, who joked the entire book. He doesn't have one line that wasn't supposed to be funny.

Speaking of humor, I thought it was overdone. Not only was every character witty, which was very unrealistic, the characters would also make jokes during situations that called for serious reflection. The overuse of humor also made Kami and Jared's angst-filled relationship seem even more overly melodramatic because the scenes and conversations exploring their relationship were the only serious scenes in the entire book.

As for the mystery, it was unnecessarily drawn out by lack of communication and characters inexplicably deciding not to follow up on information. Everyone in town seems to know the Lynburn secrets except Kami, Angela, Holly and Jared, despite the fact that Kami and Holly grew up in the town and are not outsiders, and Jared is a Lynburn. It seemed unrealistic that no one, including Kami's mother, would tell Kami what they knew about the Lynburns. There were also several instances where Jared's family would act strangely around him or say something cryptic, but instead of asking questions, he would just leave even though he supposedly wanted answers. His family wasn't even trying to hide the truth from him, and when he finally did ask for an explanation, they told him without a fight.

Lastly, I thought the ending was problematic. Cliffhangers are one thing, but there still should be some sense of closure at the end of a book, despite unfinished plot lines. Unspoken felt like it was ended in the middle of the story, as though Brennan wrote the entire trilogy as one book and then randomly chopped into thirds. I wish the ending had been less abrupt and I also wish the Jared/Kami angst had been left out.

The book gets an extra star for effort, but honestly, I didn't enjoy reading this one.