Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 336 pages
Release Date: July 8, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley for review
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. Thanks to Flex and Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to review this book. What first drew me to this book was the stunning cover and title. I was convinced to read it after reading the synopsis about a girl who cannot feel emotions but sees them as people. This was a very interesting read, incredibly creative but I had some trouble with the plausibility of it all.
Elizabeth doesn’t feel any emotions; she is never happy, sad, angry, afraid…she doesn’t know why. It makes her family fear her and also makes it very hard to make friends. However she does see emotions as people. She will see Guilt and Resentment standing behind her abused mother, and Anger at her father’s shoulder. Sometimes she sees Courage standing at a boy’s back as her works up the courage to ask out a girl at school. All of the Emotions have given up on Elizabeth however…that is except for Fear. Fear is fascinated by Elizabeth and constantly visits her trying to scare her, he is obsessed and determined to find out what made her the way she is. As Fear helps Elizabeth unravel her past and the accident that made her this way, another mysterious figure starts showing up and warning Elizabeth to leave well enough alone.
This book has a very creative and interesting premise. The idea of Emotions being omnipresent entities that visit people to influence their reactions is really interesting.
The ambiguity of concept driving this book (emotions as people or the lack of Emotion) does lead to the book being a bit confusing at times and the idea of emotions being people seems a bit improbable. I had some trouble with the scenes where Elizabeth is describing the Emotions she sees around the classroom at school. She usually sees a few Emotions standing around at a time, which I thought was improbable. Wouldn’t you think a room full of teenagers would be packed from wall to wall with Emotions if Emotions were people? If you can get beyond this issue, then the book becomes a lot easier to read.
Elizabeth is an interesting heroine. She is pretty uninspiring in the beginning of the book. Since she has no emotions and doesn’t really react to anything, she is very hard to engage with. This is a bit of a flaw in the book, how do you get readers to engage with a heroine that is disengaged from everything? Still as Elizabeth unravels the mystery of her past she changes, and by the end of the book I found her to be a lot more interesting. Elizabeth has a horrible home life and lives with an incredibly abusive father. This was an interesting situation for an emotionless person to be in and it was interesting to see how Elizabeth dealt with the abuse when she really didn’t care about much beyond survival.
THe character that steals the show in this book is Fear. Of course Fear is sexy, dark, brooding, and dangerous…just like real fear. His determination to get Elizabeth to feel him and to unravel her secret past is fascinating. He is a very driven and emotional character, and of course a bit mysterious. The fact that everyone around Elizabeth acts…well….fearful when Fear is beside her makes for some interesting situations. Fear also likes to break the rules and mess with the universe in general. He was just an awesome character.
The other main male character, Josh, is a sweet cowboyish boy who has known Elizabeth forever and really cares for her. He is a bit vanilla but does truly stand by Elizabeth’s side when no one else will. He provided good balance to the rather crazy Emotions wandering around.
There is a lot of pain and sadness in this story. Elizabeth’s best friend, Maggie, is very sick with cancer throughout and that was very very sad to read about. What Elizabeth, her brother, and her mother go through because of their abusive father is also hard to read about. When the Emotion Nightmare enters the story there are graphic scenes of torture that were also very difficult to read. Lastly as Elizabeth uncovers her past she finds it steeped in more sadness and misery. Despite all the sadness the end of the book left me feeling hopeful and happy, so it all balanced out well.
The book was well written and easy to read. It was a very engaging story. Things wrap up nicely and there are some creative twists and turns. There is also some excellent imagery and description that really brings the story alive.
Overall I enjoyed this book. This book was incredibly creative and Fear was a wonderful character. The situations the emotionless Elizabeth are put into are very painful to read about, but they are also fascinating. This is one of those books that you will think back to after you finish reading it. The mystery of Elizabeth’s past is unraveled in way that well-paced and engaging. The only drawback to the story is that with all these ambiguous concepts the story gets a bit confusing at times. I definitely recommend this to fans of YA who are looking for something different to read and I am curious as to what Sutton will come up with in the future.