Whisper
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Whisper

3.9 29
by Phoebe Kitanidis
     
 

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Joy is used to hearing Whispers—to walking down the street and instantly knowing people's deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people's lives—especially Joy's—miserable. Still, when Joy hears

Overview

Joy is used to hearing Whispers—to walking down the street and instantly knowing people's deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people's lives—especially Joy's—miserable. Still, when Joy hears a mysterious and frightening Whisper from Jessica's mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like a paranormal version of The Breakfast Club, Kitanidis's first novel is a fairy tale in which the pretty, popular girl is rescued from delusion by the misfits she's been trying to avoid. Joy Stefani has a gift: she can "Hear" the wishes of others. It's a trait shared by her mother and her older sister, Jessica, but that's all the sisters have in common. Jessica (or, as Joy refers to her, "Icka") is destructive and full of rage, whereas Joy moves easily through the world. But everything changes after Joy's 15th birthday, when the wistful, superficial wishes she has heard during childhood suddenly turn deeper, darker, and hurtful. Only Jessica seems to understand what is different--and she's gone missing. Joy's narrative voice is appealing, but this is an unsubtle, schematic fable in which adults and peers alike are revealed to be hypocrites and any form of ambiguity or compromise must be a lie. Joy's mother and sister are archetypes and opposites, and even when their poles are reversed, they remain just as extreme. Ages 12–up. (May)
Erin Bridges
On the outside, Joy Stefani is a well-adjusted high schooler whose helpful nature makes her everybody's favorite. Inside, like her sister and mother, Joy is able to Hear Whispers—the innermost thoughts of the people around her. Like her mom, Joy listens to people's desires and helps them. However, she has noticed recent changes as she hears shocking and hurtful thoughts, some of which are directed toward her. She also experiences excruciating headaches that no one seems able to explain or soothe. What's more, Joy's once strong connection with her older sister, Jessica, continues to disintegrate. Jessica views their ability as a curse and tries to sabotage Joy's happiness and popularity. Confused and concerned, Joy begins to question people and experiences. Through questioning, she finds an untapped confidence that leads her on a mission to rescue someone she loves and discover the truth behind who she is. Reviewer: Erin Bridges
VOYA - Kim Carter
The women in Joy's family have a gift—they "Hear" the thoughts ("Whispers") people think to themselves. While Joy is a natural at making friends, using her Hearing to make other people happy and to fit in, her older sister "Icka" (short for Jessica) is a loner, convinced that Hearing is more a curse than a gift. She also believes that Joy's recent onslaught of killer headaches is a sign of rapidly intensifying Hearing. As Joy struggles with her strained relationship with Icka, she finds her relationship with her best friend Parker changing as well, especially when Parker's would-be boyfriend, Ben Williams, starts showing interest in Joy. Then, there's quiet, strange Jamie, who leaves Joy a single white calla lily on her desk, and whose Whispers say he just wants her to be happy. Figuring out how her own happiness fits in with keeping everyone else happy becomes more complicated every day. Then, Icka disappears ... and Joy is the only one who can find her. An imaginative tale that brings to the surface the complexities of family, friends, relationships, and belonging, Whisper also explores selfishness, selflessness, and the bonds that link us to each other. While Joy's special powers will pique readers' interests, the somewhat disorganized introduction of multiple characters may challenge younger readers' ability to follow the unfolding convergence of the characters' relationships. Reviewer: Kim Carter
VOYA - Chase Carter
I liked this book. It is thrilling, cool, and has a great narrative hook. I disliked that the main characters and Joy's powers aren't described very well. People who like exciting fantasy will enjoy this book because it has a lot of imagination and is just plain great. Reviewer: Chase Carter, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Like her mother and her sister, Joy can "Hear" the "Whispers" of others, thoughts just barely in their consciousness. Now that she is 15, her gift enables her to know not only the lighter side of internal monologues, but also the darker ones—thoughts of violence, lecherous impulses, and criticisms of Joy herself. As she works to navigate her new "Hearing," she must also cope with increasingly intense headaches, an antagonistic relationship with her sister, and friendship problems. There is also the mystery of Jamie, an unusual boy with a secret of his own. When Joy is at her most confused, her sister goes missing, and only Jamie can help her. Despite the fantastic premise, it's hard not to read this novel as an analogy for maturity, the archetypal move from innocence to experience. Joy has been a pleaser, working hard to use her power to make others happy. But when she can "Hear" the good and the bad, and even her parents are unable to help her deal with her overwhelming feelings of frustration and insecurity, she must strike out on her own to do what needs to be done. Despite a somewhat typical YA story structure and an ending that may have been tied up a bit too easily, these common conflicts are nuanced by Kitanidis's intriguing construction of Joy's powers, unexpected plot moves, and strong characterizations.—Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Just like her older sister, Jessica, her mother and every female ancestor before her, 15-year-old Joy Stefani can "Hear" people's innermost desires, which her family calls "Whispers." While pessimistic Jessica remains a loner and dabbles in drugs, Joy feels compelled to fulfill Whispers as best she can, becoming popular in the process. After she temporarily loses her Hearing and the social insights it brings, it returns full force, allowing her to Hear her friends' true thoughts and causing her to question their motives. When she discovers that Jamie, her crush's younger brother, has a similar talent, she begins to trust an outsider with her secret and learns how to use the power of her Hearing when Jessica, whom she's pushed away over the years, needs saving. Joy narrates the story in the first person, and her responses to her classmates' Whispers will strike a chord. Although the too-tidy ending feels rushed and the story is not as solid as Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy, fans of the genre will likely enjoy it. (Paranormal. YA)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“An imaginative tale that brings to the surface the complexities of family, friends, relationships, and belonging, WHISPER also explore selfishness, selflessness, and the bonds that link us to each other.”
Kim Harrison
Whisper is a refreshingly unpredictable story with the perfect balance of family and friends, and magical gifts and secrets. Phoebe Kitanidis is a strong new voice in the young adult, urban fantasy genre, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061799259
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
281
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

What People are saying about this

Kim Harrison
Whisper is a refreshingly unpredictable story with the perfect balance of family and friends, and magical gifts and secrets. Phoebe Kitanidis is a strong new voice in the young adult, urban fantasy genre, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Meet the Author

Phoebe Kitanidis lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and a big gray cat. A former language arts teacher and contributor to Discovery Girls magazine, she now writes fiction full time. She's absolutely addicted to swimming, chocolate, and Facebook. If you ever meet her, beware: It's quite possible she can read your mind.

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Whisper 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
RebeccaNaomi More than 1 year ago
Cover. The cover is weird and I did not understand the point before or after reading the book. It seems to me that the girls head is floating in space with these weird smoke stuff that forces half of her face off of the frame. I don't get the smoke. It reminds me of cigarettes and although there are some smoking and drug use I don't really see why it was put on the cover the way it is. Plot. The summary that is given does not really describe the book that well to me. The first two-thirds of the novel is almost a completely different novel than the last third and even though it is the last that is described in the summary I found myself liking the first portion better. Joy can hear people's desires. In the beginning it is only the surface ones that she hears and she can't stop herself from giving in to the desires of the people around her. I absolutely loved the first half. There was so much promise and I really wanted to learn more about the Whispers and how they work. Joy seemed to knowledgeable about them and because her sister was so rude to everyone I found the fact the Joy always went to her mother less strange than I would have under other circumstances. Yet very suddenly everyone changes personality and we are given flashbacks to convince us that they have always been that way. Her friends up until now had been portrayed as an average group of friends are suddenly the popular crowd. The A-List of the entire school and yet they are only in their freshmen year. While I loved the beginning I found that the end of the book just did not keep my attention and I became so very annoyed with how the book ended. It had so much potential and I feel as if I have been let down. Yet I don't regret picking up this book because the premise was so interesting and the author has such promise that I might even read the second book in the series. If there actually is one because to be honest while so many sites said that this was the first book I could not find anything about a second one. Characters. I didn't have a favorite character because I did not really like any of them. Joy was shunned by her entire family and than they all had the gall to act like it was her fault for not knowing things. I especially despised how whenever the dad talked to her he would only talk about his work and never even tried to get to know Joy. I could not like Joy because of her lobotomy half-way through. I could not like Jessica because she was barely actually in the book. I think that she had a total of three actual scenes that were in the present and the rest were in flashbacks. The book was supposed to be about Joy saving Jessica or Icka as she is called but she is barely in it and Joy only finds out that Icka is missing after a little over 200 pages in. That left 40 pages for Joy to think about doing something, 30 pages for her to do something, and 10 pages for the resolution. So not enough. Recommend? Yes
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
Right from the very first page, I devoured this book till the very end. If one power I would love to have, the ability to hear one thoughts I would want. There are so many elements in this book that really hooked me as the reader and did not let me go. The main character of this book, Joy is a perfectly written character. Things are hidden from her right from the start, so she quickly learns that all she knows are lies. I loved that Joy took matters into her owns hands to find out what is really happening. She is much stronger than what she gives herself credit for. And she is selfless. Even when hearing such bad thoughts, she did more for others than herself. I also enjoyed the progression of her powers. I really love how Ms. Kitanidis, showed the reader her powers grow. The reader is taken back by the immense power that Joy carriers within herself. When her full power is finally out, I like how the reader is too bombarded with thoughts everywhere. Ms. Kitanidis, really made the reader feel the story as well as the feeling of being in it. The love interest is also great! I am really happy that Joy found someone to confine in. With all those thoughts flowing through her mind, its great to have her find some peace. This book blew me away, that I need more! I can't wait to see what Ms. Kitanidis writes next. The characters, plot line, all elements in the book really made for a fast entertaining read. What to really get into someone's head? Then read this book!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Joy receives a message from her sister, Icka, that something bad is going to happen on her birthday. But Icka is always horrible to Joy on her birthday, so she chooses to ignore her. When it does happen, Joy wants to know what's happening to her and why. Unfortunately, no one is willing to give her an answer. Within a matter of days she has two crushes, finds out her friends might not really be friends, her mom that she trusted is not who she thinks she is, and her sister might be on to something bigger than both of them could imagine. Joy finds herself on the run with a boy she hardly knows, looking for a sister she barely acknowledges. What will they find and how does Joy know where she's going? I really enjoyed this book: the twists were surprising and the suspense had me so anxious I couldn't put it down. Joy really shined after her birthday, and the love interest was an extra bonus for the story I didn't see coming. Can't wait for the next in the series - I will definitely be reading it!
Starryblue More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was an ok read. The plot was really slow moving.I was so tempted to put the book down and stop reading it, but I managed to read it all in one siting.It was until the last 40 or 50 pages that grasped my attention. Mainly close to the end the story takes a drastic turn and starts getting interesting.
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Angela Groszos More than 1 year ago
Not the best book, kind of bland, but really not horrible....bad ending though
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CiciBear26 More than 1 year ago
I liked Whisper. The only thing that angered me is that it moved sorta slow for me, so I kept putting it aside to read other books. I related to the sisterly 'bond', since I don't always get along to well with my own sisters, but just like Joy, I know I'd do anything to help them. Joy sets everything aside to go to Icka's aid: she lies to her parents, steals a car with a boy she barely knows who has a secret of his own --and she struggles with this Hearing that gets on her nerves and in her head in the most random places. That's probably what I liked most about the book: How the seemingly most 'perfect' girl comes to the rescue rather than sitting at home and fulfilling everyone's wishes (which is...interesting, in my opinion). Phoebe Kitanidis is a new voice I think I'm going to be following along the way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
acornucopiaoflove More than 1 year ago
Joy's ability has always been a positive factor in her life. She uses it to help those around her, and tends to heard fairly shallow Whispers (thoughts). Unlike her older sister, Icka, she has a group of friends, and is on good terms with their mother. Icka, on the other hand, haters her power. She hears the negative Whispers. The self-conscious, jealous, or angry thoughts of the people around her. This has led her to loathe her ability, and to distance herself from everyone. Joy often feels that Icka is trying to ruin her life, and at first it seems that she is. Icka gets in the way of her friendships, and keeps warning her that her power is going to cause her problems. At the start of the book, I thought Joy was right. Upon reading more, I realized that it was more complicated than that. What I most enjoyed about this book was the relationship between joy and Icka. While at first I thought Icka genuinely hated Joy, it became apparent that she was only trying to protect her. As an older sister, I can understand the mindset Icka was in when she thought that making her sister miserable would help her. Despite this, when Joy hears Icka's frightening Whisper, she knows she has to help her. I know that if the situation had been reversed, Icka would have dropped everything to help Joy, too. I was torn about Joy's character as I started the book. She used her power to help others, but sometimes it was at the expense of her own feelings and choices. For example, the loner Jamie leaves her a flower on her birthday (sweet, right?), but she ends up throwing it away because her friends don't approve. She is able to hear some negative Whispers about him, and she would rather her friends be happy. Despite this, proving that Jamie is a nice guy, she hears him Whisper that he just wants her to be happy. The beginning of the book is slow. It's completely dedicated to introducing the characters, and what Whispers are. By the time the action started, I couldn't imagine how everything could wrap up in the pages I had left. When the action started, however, it really picked up! I don't think I set the book down at all once I hit the last third of the story, because I had to know what happened. The ending also left some things open, but Kitanidis is working a sequel, according to her Goodreads page. Overall, I enjoyed the unique premise, despite the slow start, once the action picked up I couldn't put it down. There are also a few questions I'm looking forward to having answered in the sequel
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