By: Phoebe Kitanidis
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Genre/Age: YA Paranormal
Source: ARC from Around the World Tours
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 façade. 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.
Glimmer is such an interesting story. There’s a lot going on… magic and ghosts and heat naps and old legends and amnesia and a seemingly idyllic but confusing town… but somehow it all manages to work together and form this absolutely crazy and fun ride.
It’s really interesting when the main characters of a story have absolutely no memories, even of themselves. As a reader, it’s hard to get a sense of who they are when they don’t even recognize their own names or faces. In some ways this is a cool way to go through a story, because you’re really discovering everything along with the characters, but there were times when it was frustrating for me. Elyse in particular could be annoying, because she’s clearly an attractive girl, which apparently pisses her off as soon as she looks in a mirror and realizes. She kept making comments about her “stupid pouty lips and huge green eyes” (That’s not an exact quote, by the way, but pretty close. At one point I believe she even says she looks like a Disney princess.) and how she didn’t feel like she should have been born into this curvy body, and why are all her clothes so short and tight? Girl, you’re pretty, just get over it. I never really understood her resentment towards herself.
But for the most part it was great fun going along on the journey with Marshall and Elyse. After waking up naked together, they set off immediately in search of answers, with the reader egging them on every step of the way. With each new revelation they learn a little bit more about Summer Falls, but for the majority of the time everyone is left wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! I really loved the sense of mystery throughout the whole novel, it was an exciting change to the majority of YA novels I read. And everything is so unpredictable that you’ll have a hard time getting bored or even guessing what’s going on.
Phoebe Kitanidis has created the little town of Summer Falls really well; it’s so full of character. I visited Colorado last summer and as I was reading I could totally picture Summer Falls just nestled in the mountains there. The whole town has this awesome mysterious atmosphere to it.
Glimmer is a fun, fast-paced read, partly because you won’t want to put it down until you’ve figured everything out and know what’s happening. It’s mystifying and thrilling and just a little bit creepy. I definitely enjoyed this wild adventure.