Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Underneath
Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
With New Agey parents and a Pakistani heritage, it might have been difficult for Sunny Pryce-Shah to fit in. Thankfully, she had her older, popular cousin Shiri to talk to—until now. Shiri’s shocking suicide brings heartwrenching pain and grief, and also seems to have triggered a new and disturbing ability in Sunny: hearing people’s thoughts.
It’s awful, especially when Sunny learns what her so-called friends really think of her. Feeling more comfortable with the Emo crowd, she tells them about her strange talent and uses it to help cute, troubled Cody. But when his true motives are revealed, she isn’t sure whom to trust anymore. Sunny hopes to find answers in Shiri’s journal. Was her cousin also cursed with this “gift”? Will Sunny end up like Shiri?

”add

Publishes in US: June 8th 2013 by Flux
Genre: YA paranormal
Source: Flux via Netgalley

Buy it:  amazon | indiebound | Barnes & Noble
Find Sarah online: ~site ~twitter ~facebook ~blog

 
What I liked:
-Showing the importance of friendship, especially with family. 
-The fact that Sunny was good at swimming and the part of her life the sport played. 
-The intro of when she started hearing others thoughts. Her reactions finally connected me with her character and made things believeable. 
-The connection that Shiri was probably going through something similar because of what Sunny reads in her journal
-The way the author, Sarah Stevenson handled the topic of depression and suicide. Through Shiri's journal we see her descent into depression and from Sunny's looking back seeing the light flicker on and off with Shiri's emotions and moods. It was handled with realism and tact. 
-Sunny's anger as a stage of grief. This is a very important and normal stage in grieving a suicide. I know this personally. 
-The "emoville" group, they were nice and welcoming if crude at times
-I really connected with Sunny in her insecurities, even if they are founded... I dread what others think about me, and nightmare that they are negative. 
-It showed that everyone has imperfections and that you had to learn to accept that as well as your own
-The focus on family, that it was so important.
-That Sunny dropped swimming along with old friends, which was something she loved.  

The So-so
-While the premise drew me in and made me want to read it, the beginning of the book doesn't suck me in. I skimmed quite a bit until 10% then after about 60% it slowed again. 

What I didn't like:
-That I didn't get to know Shiri personally and I had to hear it all from being told in flashbacks or stream of thought from Sunny felt like if there would have been a few chapters with them together, that the book would have had more of an emotional punch, because as was, I felt disconnected from her grief. 

Other aspects:
-The love story: It was subtle, because other plot lines were driving. I was good with that. 
-World building: not quite sure. sometimes it is okay for supernatural stuff to happen and not be explained, just the way it is. I feel like I wanted more answers as to why she heard others' thoughts. 
-The ending: a little messy but it wrapped things up okay

Bottom Line: Great premise, good main character, disconnect with emotions but lots of positive family focus.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you want to hear others thoughts in bursts?

38 comments:

  1. The idea of being able to hear others thoughts is interesting, but I feel it would so emotionally exhausting. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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    1. Oh, I can't imagine the toll it would take

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  2. Interested in how the Emo aspect will pan out. Great review and as always very thorough.

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    1. I like the emo kids, but I used to be one

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  3. This sounds pretty interesting. :) I especially like how the book gives a strong sense of friendship and family and how realistic the author made Sunny's reactions to the other thoughts she heard. Too bad about the lack of emotions, though. I feel stories like these need to have a strong aspect of emotions so we can really connect. Thanks for such a helpful review, Brandi.

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    1. I like the friendship and family, that always has me hooked

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  4. Anger is probably the strongest and most controversial stage of grief so I love that it was done so well here. I'd never noticed this one before but it sounds interesting despite such hard subjects.
    Great review.

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    1. It deals with them well, I just felt I could have connected a bit more.

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  5. Hearing what others think, poor gal, it would drive anyone insane

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  6. Haven't heard of this one before *__* It seems promising though and yay that it had more of the things you liked than not.

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    1. Yeppers, always good when that happens

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  7. I really wouldn't want to know what other people are thinking. the whole idea totally gives me the creeps. it's hard enough working out what's going on in my own head without trying to puzzle someone else out as well!

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  8. I like the sound of this one but if it's slow starting I think it would put me off. I don't know, I'll have to think on this one.

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    1. Can always see if it draws you in differently

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  9. I would not want to hear others thoughts in bursts it would drive me crazy. This sounds like it has far more good points than bad and I like the main focuses.

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    1. I think if I heard thoughts though I wouldn't want it to be all the time

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  10. I really hope the next one will be better

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  11. Sounds like a hard book, but a good one for exploring emotions. Sorry that it seemed uneven in the pacing though.

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  12. Hmm not sure how I feel about thoughts being shared that way, and if you skimmed that scares me, thanks for your honest review Brandi!

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  13. I love when journals play a huge part in the story, in this one especially I loved how it gave us an insight into Shiri's character. Though I would have liked some answers behind the mind reading powers as well. Great review, Brandi!

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  14. This sounds like such a fascinating premise, but I don't like that it takes so long to get going and then gets slow again later in the book. I might still give this one a try though. I don't think I'd ever want to hear people's thoughts. I'm sure it would get very old! :-)

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    1. It would, and I would be terrified what they thought of me

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  15. I don't think I'd like to hear others' thoughts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brandi! I like that it focuses on family.

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  16. I don't think I would want to hear the thoughts of others. Especially my kids when I've gotten on to them. ;-)

    This does seem like an interesting story. And I'm glad the aftermath of the death was handled well. I'm curious about if the ability to hear thoughts was ever explained.

    Nice review, Brandi!

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  17. I've been curious about this book. I've seen it around a bit, but have read many reviews. Sounds like the book could've been better! Great review :)

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  18. I haven't heard of this book and when a book lacks emotions it's a no-no for me. :)

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    1. It was more of the beginning where I wanted to know her cousin better

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  19. pokies online
    very item of material.Thanks for talking about.I like it very much.

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  20. I'm glad that you liked this one (good really outnumbered the bad and so-so), Brandi! I don't know if it's for me, but I do like books with good friend type relationships. Awesome review! (:

    Um, I think I would hate it. o.O Even if it was sporadic, it would still be terrible. :/

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  21. Hmm... I can't decide if this is one book that I will read anytime soon. It'll go on my TBR list though!

    As far as hearing everyone's thoughts (even in bursts), I bet that would be just awful. I tend to care about what other people think of me as well (a terrible curse), but what about the dull moments of thought? "Did I remember to turn off the stove before I left the house?" "Did I finish that homework assignment last night?" Not only would it be annoying, but it could be quite dull on top of that.

    http://judesenglish10.blogspot.com

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    1. I care way too much what others think as well

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  22. Mind reading is the superpower I've always wanted albeit in moderation (I want to be able to selectively listen). I wish we had gotten to know Shiri as well-her loss would have meant more then.

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