by Phoebe Kitanidis
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Publication Date: April 17th 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene
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When Marshall King and Elyse Alton wake up tangled in each other's arms with zero memory of how they got there or even who they are, it's the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.
Terrified by their amnesia, they make a pact to find the answers taht could restore their missing memories. As they piece together clues about their lives, they discover that they're in the idyllic resort town of Summer Falls, where darkness lurks beneath the town's perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living in habitants retain bad memories of anything - not the death of Marshall's mom, not the hidden violence in Elyse's family. Lonely in this world of happy zombies Marshall and Elyse fall into an intense relationship, but the secrets they're trying to uncover could be the death of their growing love - and everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.
Glimmer is a strange, strange book. Honestly I'm not too surprised because after all the book does start with two teenagers waking up in bed naked together. Yep, you read that right. NAKED. Oh and did I mention these teenagers have no memory of who they are or how they got naked? Yeah, totally awkward. Especially when you're trying to explain the book to family and friends. I had this type of conversation multiple times:
Friend: What are you reading?
Me: Oh it's this book called Glimmer.
Friend: Cool, what's it about?
Me: Two teenagers who wake up in bed naked together with no memory of how they got there.
Friend. That sounds..... interesting? *looks at Julia like she's sprouted two heads*
Yep. I'm pretty sure some of my friends now think I have REALLY weird taste in books. Haha. But awkwardness aside Glimmer wasn't like anything I had read before. It's an eclectic mix of contemporary mystery and paranormal with some romance added in for good measure. All in all it's a unique and intriguing story and it wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. The paranormal stuff really threw me for a loop. Don't get me wrong, I thought the story was alright, but gosh dang it, this book was just SO ODD.
The story is set in the fictional town of Summer Falls where the weather is always lovely and idyllic and people pass out from daily "heatnaps" that erase bad memories. Sound creepy? You have no idea. Before the stories end characters become comotose zombie's (only without the cool "I want to eat your brains factor"), people turn out to possess magical powers, and ghosts chase our lovely heroes.
Speaking of lovely heroes let's talk about Marshall and Elyse. Yep, the ones who wake up in bed naked together. These guys are interesting characters but they really didn't have a lot of depth. Of course they have lost their memories so they don't even know who they are but still: there has to be more to Elyse than her "wish" to run off to California and more to Marshall than his desire to get in Elyses pants. Okay so maybe I'm being a bit hard on Marshall, but even Marshall hates on himself partway through the book so I figure it's okay. :P
The problem for me was that Marshall and Elyse spent a lot of the story being selfish and I have a really hard time sympathizing with selfish characters. In the end they did make sacrifices and helped save the world (the world of Summer Falls at least) so I guess I can't be too hard on them but I still found it hard to like them. Not only that but their romance was really awkward and contrived. I'm just not into a lot of sexy times and this book definitely had some of that. :/
The plot itself was really crazy and totally blew my mind. I honestly didn't understand half of what went on in this book and I'm still sort of shaking my head and thinking "What the heck did I just read?" However I give mad props to Phoebe Kitanidis for writing such a crazy story. I don't know where she came up with this but the ingenuity is impressive. I will definitely be looking out for more of her stuff in the future!
I've been a bit hard on Glimmer but I really do think it was a cool and unique book. It wasn't necessarily my cup of tea but the mystery was intriguing and I LOVE that it's a stand alone novel. There need to be more stand alones in YA lit!
I give Glimmer 3 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones.