Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

by Phoebe Kitanidis
Publisher: HarperTeen
Expected Publication: April 17, 2012
Pages: 352
Age Demographic: Young Adult
amazon | b&n

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.

* Summary taken from Goodreads.

❝My Thoughts❞

Glimmer is a deceptively cheerful novel, full of mystery, intrigue, and misplaced emotion in interesting situations. Phoebe Kitanidis pens an extraordinary tale of strangeness in an unsettling utopian fantasy, where heatnaps, vagueness of memory loss, magic, and haunted spirits can be found lurking around every corner. It possesses a unique Pleasantville quality, that does a wonderful job of displaying the strangeness of the town as well as the towns people's odd behavior. It isn't like any other ghost story told in young adult fiction, yet it is a mystery all its own that is very unpredictable in many twists and turns. The unraveling of the mystery behind Summer Falls and why the towns people react as they do, is sure to keep readers entertained and engaged.

From the moment Marshall and Elyse wake up in bed together, confused without their memories and no idea how they ended up there, the mystery begins to unfold as they make a pact to work together to find the answers to their missing memories. They soon discover they'll have to rely on other's to help them figure out who they are, and why they can't remember anything. The closer they work together, the more they start to realize that their idyllic little resort town they call home, is a place where everyone seems mysteriously happy all of the time. Summer Falls has a darkness hidden just below the surface of the town's eerily perfect facade of happiness. The town seems to be haunted by malevolent spirits of the past, but the odd thing is that none of the town’s people seem to have any negative or bad memories to speak of. They don't seem to remember anything at all about the death of Marshall's mom, the deep hidden shame that shadows Elyse's family, or even the day to day normal anguish of high school drama that typically occurs.

As Marshall and Elyse find themselves alone in a world of happy zombies, they slowly start gravitating to one another and soon develop an intense relationship. However, the dark and mysterious secrets they begin to uncover could potentially be the end of their budding romance. It could also mean the death of everyone, and everything, they love. Of course, there will be a few clashes of their personalities along the way, but eventually they will start to work together as equal members of a team. It's endearing to watch these two overcome the obstacles and unravel the mysteries behind the weirdness of their strange town, while having to deal with their own personal issues separately.

Phoebe Kitanidis does a fantastic job of blending the perfect balance between contemporary with a twinge of paranormal mystery, to keep readers satisfied. Her characters are vibrant and fascinating, with many flavorful quirks given to them, including a host of supporting characters exhibiting strange behaviors and brilliantly weird mannerisms that make it even more interesting. Elyse is a wonderfully honest person with amazing integrity and a good natured spirit about her. She has good intentions for wanting to protect those she cares about as well as herself and a driven desire to be stronger. She's found a way to sort of beat the system, by keeping a journal of all of her bad memories with a note attached that says, "Please remember this, Elyse." She keeps it hidden in her locker at school, so no one will find it.

Marshall was also a delightful character to get to know, with a hero-complex that wants to save the world or at the very least, the town’s people of Summer Falls. Throughout the novel he becomes very protective of Elyse as he starts to fall for her and tries to be the one to do everything he can. He wants to finish what his mother died trying to do, so he puts together a magical memory seal and a plan, then he and Elyse make a video on their phone to remember what they have done. The first time they do this, he makes a mistake and when it comes to light, it sort of causes a rift between him and Elyse. The second time, they're in it together until the end, no matter the consequences or what may occur. There's a welcomed camaraderie and bravery in the face of what these two might stand to lose if it doesn't go their way.

Phoebe Kitanidis has crafted a wonderfully well written and thought out story, full of suspenseful plot and interesting characters that are engaging and delightful to get to know. It has a sickening sinister sweet appeal to it that will have readers trying to unravel the mystery as it progresses. There is a wonder in the unpredictability witnessed in the plot twists and turns, that makes it an even more delicious read. She writes her characters in an incredibly realistic way that makes them extremely relatable and easy to sympathize with. It's a fantastically riveting stand alone novel that breathes new life into young adult fiction.

Glimmer is chalk full of daring surprises lurking around every corner, evil forces hidden just beneath the seams, and an intriguing magical tale of forgiveness and second chances, that will leave readers screaming for more. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys deep twisted mysteries with just a hint of paranormal and daring plot twists sure to keep them on the edge of their seats.


{ This ARC was provided by via HarperTeen, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain. Any piece of this ARC that was/wasn't quoted, is not part of the finished product and should not be perceived as such and should be checked against a finished copy.}


  1. Glimmer sounds interesting, especially, with waking up naked in bed with a boy. Great revew!

  2. This book sounds so awesome, but then again Suz you could make a rock sound amazing! Have you noticed that the girl on the cover looks a bit like AnnaSophia Robb?

  3. Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis was a strange book, and I mean that in a good way. I love magical realism, but hardly ever read it because I don't think a lot of people know how to write it, and it's also an emerging genre. Think Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, a fantastically written magical realism.


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