Author: Kelsey Sutton
Genre: Coming-of-age, Contemporary, Paranormal
Publication Date: July 8, 2013
Source: Publisher-provided ARC via NetGalley
Summary: I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.
Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?
☆: 2/5 stars – Well-written and emotional despite its heroine’s inability to feel, but it’s also deeply problematic
I… Putting words to Some Quiet Place, its selling points, and its issues is next to impossible. This review is going to be chock-full of spoilers because talking out its heavily problematic content is impossible unless I go into detail and give away a few major twists.
Some Quiet Place starts out strongly. Elizabeth is well-written and the lack of emotion in her voice for most of the novel is a subtle sort of chilling. I’m a woman who loves emotion and the idea of someone having no emotions? It’s a nightmare to me, which made Elizabeth’s character all the more compelling and three-dimensional. She may not know what she’s missing, but we do. The lovely writing makes this element of her stand out even more. One scene about a third or so into the novel is so emotionally powerful that it made me cry. Some will consider it a little cheap because we barely know the character it involves, but it will all depend on one’s perspective.
For a good fifty percent of the novel, I cruised along like this thinking it would continue being an amazing novel. I see where the appeal to readers wanting romance will be, certainly; readers have the bad boy Fear who doesn’t seem likely as the heroine’s final choice and the normal guy who has been watching her from afar for years and has a bit of a crush on her. Joshua is so adorable I want to hug him! The mystery that drives most of the novel is also strongly written and until the resolution was revealed, I actually enjoyed it.
Then we got to the major twist of the novel and it all started going downhill. THIS is where the spoilers come in. So year. SPOILERS AHOY, MATIES.
Now, for the entire novel, Fear has been forcing all manner of awful illusions on Elizabeth for years to make her scared because he wants to taste her terror. He actually says that, yes. Even at a funeral for the closest thing Elizabeth had to a best friend, he’s there whispering awful things in her ear. This is why I thought Fear was unlikely to be her choice and she would go with Joshua instead: his behavior is Not Okay on too many levels. He has also been watching her since she was a child and we never know when he developed feelings for her. Questionable pedophilia.
Then we get to the major twist of the novel: Elizabeth is actually Rebecca, Fear’s former lover. They got separated by the antagonist and Rebecca took the place of the real Elizabeth (she died in a car accident at the age of four) with the help of an illusion in order to stay hidden.
Suddenly, things are flip-flopped. Joshua was only a means to an end in order to get her emotions back and Fear is the one she really loves. Fear, who spent years showing her nightmarish images she only managed not to be scarred by due to her lack of emotions. Fear, who has been watching her since she was Elizabeth the child and may have been a pedophile because we never know when his obsession became romantic. The climactic scene involves Rebecca standing at the edge of a cliff like she’s going to jump because Fear won’t come to her otherwise. 1) This is a Twilight copycat scene straight up. 2) Even in Twilight, it was unhealthy. They confess their love and live happily ever after. The end.
Now, a relationship with Joshua wouldn’t have been problem-free either because they didn’t develop a possible relationship fully and he only loves his image of her, not her. Still, it’s not as bad as what she ultimately creates by staying with Fear. Basically, everything that was done concerning Elizabeth/Rebecca’s relationship with Fear and the whole storyline of the two women being the same person should not have happened.
SPOILERS ARE OVER YAY.
But beyond the problematic content, there’s also some ridiculous mean-girl behavior meant to make Elizabeth come in contact with the real antagonist. Blah. I thought this was going to be a hit with me, but this is how it goes sometimes. I may read future novels of Sutton’s, but I need others to read it first and assure me it doesn’t suffer from the same issues as her debut novel.