Some Quiet Place
by Kelsey Sutton
Expected Publication: July 8th 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Source: e-ARC from the publisher in exchange
for an honest review.
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?
Pros: This is one book cover that is worthy of the hashtag #Covergasm! The premise is unique, and the story is extremely suspenseful. I just HAD to find out what the heck was going on.
Cons: Although the premise was original, the execution was a bit flawed. It’s going to be difficult to explain without giving too much away, but I’m going to do my best. In short, it’s not easy to connect to a protagonist that doesn’t feel anything.
Overall: Some Quiet Place is a good debut novel that, for much of it, I enjoyed reading. I will definitely pick up more by this author.
Our main character, Elizabeth, is seventeen years old, and she is anything but a typical teenager. She is incapable of feeling any emotions, but she does see them. Unlike most of the people in the world, Elizabeth can accurately describe what Fear, or his brother, Courage, looks like. Elizabeth wasn’t always like this. She was once a normal little girl with all sorts of feelings, until she was in an accident at the age of four. After the accident her parents knew there was something different about her, she wasn’t the same little princess they once knew. Her father turned into an abusive drunk, whom she would have feared, if only she was capable. Fear is unrelenting in his attempts to make Elizabeth react to him in an appropriate manner, appearing to her often and showing her some seriously scary stuff. A connection develops between Elizabeth and Fear, and together they attempt to figure out what is going on with Elizabeth. Who is she? Why does she feel no love, no hate, no sorrow, no regret, nothing? And who, besides Fear, is coming for her…
Oh, where to start? This is going to be the most challenging review I’ve ever written. I had high hopes for this book. I mean, who wouldn’t after becoming entranced by that beautiful cover? The synopsis left me feeling exhilarated. I expected a provoking story with wild twists, exciting action, and well developed characters that would leave me breathless. In some aspects it delivered exactly what I needed, but it faltered in some as well. I loved this book, and I hated it. I wanted to throw it at the wall and give up on it, but I couldn’t put it down. I can’t say that has ever happened to me before.
The premise of this debut novel is unprecedented, and I was fascinated by its greatness in the beginning. Elizabeth sees emotions personified. What a truly awesome idea! Unfortunately, properly executing such an idea is another story. About a quarter of the way in I grew tired of the main character feeling absolutely nothing. It was nearly impossible to connect with Elizabeth, like trying to relate to a piece of machinery. It caused her character to fall flat. I was pretty aggravated by this, but the feelings I developed for the other characters, such as her sick friend, Maggie, or Joshua, the boy who was obsessed with Elizabeth, helped me squeak past the frustration. Heck, my favorite “person” in the book was Fear. I was rooting him on through the whole story. Fear, along with the heightened suspense in this book, kept me flipping the pages until the end. And, eventually, I did grow to like Elizabeth. She took some getting used to, but she managed to break through the wall and claim a tiny piece of me.
After Elizabeth’s accident, her parents realized she wasn’t the same girl. She didn’t react to anything, didn’t throw tantrums, didn’t wear dresses, didn’t laugh anymore. And for that they treated her like total garbage. Her mom couldn’t stand to be in the same room with her, and Elizabeth knew these things because she was the lucky freak who could see the Emotions appear at her mothers side whenever she walked into the same room.
My baby laughed. My baby threw tantrums when I wouldn’t let her wear a princess dress all day, every day.” Mom’s fists clench in front of her, and there’s a desperate darkness in her voice. “The doctor said you were comatose because of the shock, but I knew. I knew.”
In reality would that have really happened? I’m not so sure. Her father turning into a drunk, abusive asshat is one thing, but would her own mom call her a freak, and cringe every time she saw her? I doubt it. I think they would’ve gotten her counseling for PTSD after an accident, and not given up on her, no matter how long it took to “fix” her. I realize this is a tale of fiction, but that part of the story rubbed me the wrong way. There was a purpose to it, though. I understand that some of it was necessary, but in my opinion it was taken too far. There was also a great deal of violence and abuse in the home, which really started to wear me down.
The actual plot — attempting to understand Elizabeth, trying to figure out who is coming for her, why she is the way she is — kept me on the edge of my seat. Because of the suspenseful, intense action I couldn’t put the book down. I chewed off every one of my fingernails to the point that I will not be able to read another suspenseful book anytime soon because the ends of my fingers actually hurt. Fear, the sexiest personified emotion I’ve ever read… wait, I haven’t ever read anything like this before. Fear is one badass character, cruel and kind, beautiful and terrifying, full of angst and fury. Without him the story wouldn’t have been half of what it is.
He leans against the doorway, cool and beautiful. He’s timeless, he’s seen everything and nothing in this world, and he doesn’t grow old or wise. Without glancing at him, I can picture his white-blond hair, envision his black, flowing clothes, feel the intensity of his hot-cold blue gaze.
Fear makes a guttural note in his throat, and suddenly there are spiders swarming all over me. Mora shuffles in annoyance when she feels some of them crawling up her hind leg. I study the onslaught crawling down my arms, my front, my feet. They’re small and black and their legs look like a writhing tangle of living string.
–Kelsey Sutton, Some Quiet Place
I had a really difficult time coming up with a rating for Some Quiet Place, and I cursed Sutton’s name several times. Some parts of the story I loved so much! I wanted to give it five stars for a while there, but then so much happened and I changed my mind about a dozen times. I decided on three stars because that’s where it landed when I took all things into consideration. I must say that I’m glad I was given the opportunity to read this advance copy. It’s been an experience that I won’t soon forget. I will definitely pick up more books by this author.
*I recommend this for mature young adult due to graphic violence and abuse.
About the Author
Kelsey Sutton has done everything from training dogs, making cheeseburgers, selling yellow page ads, and cleaning hotel rooms. Now she divides her time between her college classes and her writing, though she can also sometimes be found pounding out horrible renditions of Beethoven on the piano and trying bizarre drinks at her local coffee shop. Kelsey lives in northern Minnesota with her dog and cat, Lewis and Clark.
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