17. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson, read by Angie, on 04/15/2013

Sunny’s best friend and cousin Shiri commits suicide. Her family does not know how to cope with it. Sunny’s hippy parents seem lost and the tension between her Aunt Miri and Uncle Raymond just keeps getting worse. In the wake of the tragedy, Sunny starts experiencing weird flashes where she hears voices. It turns out she is hearing the thoughts of others and she learns Shiri had the same power/affliction from her journal. With this power, Sunny learns what her friends really think of her and that her Uncle Raymond is abusive. She finds a new group of friends but they just seem to want to exploit her powers. It doesn’t seem like anyone is on Sunny’s side.

I felt like this book had two different personalities. On one hand it was a moving story about a family coming to terms with a tragedy. How do you cope with your loved one taking their own life? You start questioning everything and you discover things you never knew. On the other hand it is about a girl with a secret power to hear thoughts. She has to learn to handle her power and she has to figure out who she can trust with the knowledge. I really thought the suicide storyline was the stronger story. I am intrigued by how the family copes with the tragedy and everything that came about because of it. I thought the underhearing, as Sunny calls it, was a bit of a stretch. We are given no reason for Sunny getting this power. Did she inherit it from Shiri when she died? How did Shiri get it? Why did it seem to come about during the late teens? Why does no one else have secret powers? If this was a world where the paranormal was more normal I think this part of the story might have been more believable. As it is, it seems like the author kind of thought “hey paranormal is really hot right now, I should throw it in my book”. I really liked the realistic aspects of the story and I think the author should have stuck to that.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

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