By Carly Anne West
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Thriller
Source: Edelweiss/Itching for Books Blog Tours
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.
As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….
That cover is so freaky, you’d expect this to be one scary paranormal thriller and you’d be sort of, partly right. The Murmurings felt like it was divided into two separate sections, neither as scary as I’d hoped, but each one disturbing in its own way. Conflicted review ahead!
The first half of the story reads like literary realistic fiction, the second half like a fast-paced paranormal thriller and the bridge is an awkward semi-romance mystery. The first and second halves had their strong points, but when all of the pieces were strung together, this was hard to read sometimes.
Sophie and her mother have been disintegrating ever since the murder of her older sister. Nell had been a patient at a mental hospital until she ran away with a staff member, then was found dead under strange circumstances. The same murmuring voices and visual disturbances that had Nell committed to the institution have been affecting Sophie, and she’s afraid she’s going crazy just like her sister. She’s turned into an outcast at school, until out of the blue, football jock Evan starts paying attention to her.
There’s an odd, improbable romance that develops between Evan and Sophie that I’m not sure what to make of. It links the first and second halves together, but it came out of nowhere and I kept picturing the Sophie on the cover with a jock and it wasn’t working for me. I would have been happy to have them remain friends; they were good at handling the mystery and action without the rest of it. I didn’t feel like I knew enough about Evan to buy him as a boyfriend.
The second half is much faster-paced and more of a thriller. It wasn’t until this part that I really started feeling like I knew who Sophie was and how strong she’d become. Before, she was just afraid of things and hiding from what she might be; now she was actively chasing down answers and I liked her much more. Of course, she was making horrible decisions; I swear, it goes along with the scary covers. Creepy covers = girls doing things they shouldn’t for no discernible reason.
There was no shortage of potential villains and I would have been fine if it had been all of them, they were such a rotten bunch of people. I especially liked the mental institution setting, since it’s always a great place for chills and potentially evil deeds done by staff gone crazy. This was the one place where I thought there was the most potential for some really scary stuff; if it had been a movie instead of a book, this would probably be where I’d be hiding my face.
It’s difficult to give a book a single grade when it felt like it was made up of three distinctly different sections that I felt differently about. If the tone from either the first or the last sections had been used throughout the book, it would have made for easier reading. It was slower to develop, but I think I’d have liked the realistic fiction-style more, but in either one, I wish the romantic storyline had been ditched, since it was only a distraction. In the end, this may have been slow to develop and not exactly what I expected, but it did deliver a heroine that I wanted to see overcome her fears and heal, along with some chills and excitement at the end.
My Rating: B-
“Being a Seer isn’t always a curse, and it doesn’t always have to end hanging upside down by a toe.”