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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: April 17, 2012
Pages: 352
Source: Received from the author
Rating: 3.5 Stars

When Marshall King and Elyse Alton suddenly wake up tangled in each other's arms with zero memory of how they got there or even who they are, it's the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.
Terrified by their amnesia, Marshall and Elyse make a pact to work together to find the answers that could restore their missing memories. As they piece together clues about their lives, they discover that they're in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls. Everyone seems happy there, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town's perfect facade. 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 violence in Elyse's family, not even the day-to-day anguish of being a high schooler.
Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marshall and Elyse fall into an intense relationship founded on their mutual quest for truth. But the secrets they're trying to uncover could be the death of this budding love affair—and of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

In short: Though the big reveal of the mystery wasn't as satisfying as I wanted, I was still kept entertained with Glimmer's intriguing premise and the piecemeal revelation of the big secret.
Strangers Elyse and Marshall wake up naked in bed next to each other and can't remember a thing about themselves or their lives before. But it gets stranger: in their town of Summer Falls, Colorado, it never gets cold and everyone seems perfect in a freaky Stepford Wives kind of way. The inhabitants are also susceptible to these things called "heatnaps" in which any upsetting incidents cause people to faint and are forgotten upon waking up. There is a hint of something more sinister afoot in this seemingly perfect, sleepy town and together, Elyse and Marshall must unravel the town's dark secrets to get back their memories.

I love these psychological mystery kind of stories. I love being confused, if that makes sense. It's kind of fun losing yourself in the mystery and not knowing what's going on, unravelling the mystery as the characters do. Stories like Glimmer are also guaranteed to maintain your interest throughout, if only because you feel like you NEED to find out the solution to the great enigma presented in the beginning. Glimmer is told through alternating POVs between Elyse and Marshall, but there is little overlap between the dual narratives ensuring the story moves along at a good pace. The mystery comes together piece by piece, which was great fun. Glimmer is a standalone so thankfully there were no major loose ends left hanging at the end.

The characterization was interesting with respect to the plot because the characters essentially wake up as blank slates, not knowing who they are or what they were like before. Over the course of Glimmer, they slowly uncover some nasty things about their life before and some unpleasant things about themselves that indicate they weren't as good people as they thought they were. The result is an interesting look into the characters' psyche.

I did have a few issues with Glimmer, however. Though there were no major loose ends left hanging at the end, there were still more outstanding questions leftover upon closing the final page than I would like. I also had a major problem with the plausibility of the concept. So I would say Glimmer's conclusion with the big reveal of the mystery wasn't as satisfying as I wanted, but I still had fun with the story. I was still kept plenty entertained at the intriguing premise and the piecemeal revelation of the big secret. I don't think Glimmer will be particularly memorable for me in the long run, but I had fun with it while it lasted.

Other Reviews:
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Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic

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  1. Great review! The name makes me think of Glimmer from the Hunger Games:) PS: New follower!


  2. Thanks for linking my review, Aylee! While this worked better for me than for you, I can totally see where you're coming from. The plausibility was definitely iffy, and there were still a bunch of questions, for sure. I guess sometimes I just like being able to piece it together myself ;) Great thoughts!

  3. Lovely review, Aylee! I find myself agreeing with a lot of your points, though I did enjoy this quite a lot at the time. I'm not sure that I'd like it half as much now, but I don't regret reading it, despite having forgotten quite a bit about it since. I'm glad you had fun!

  4. Being confused in a good way like this is good!

  5. I had a similar reaction to this one Aylee! I had fun reading it, but I definitely had some questions about everything at the end, and there was just a lot going on that we had to juggle. Still, like you said, it was entertaining, and I can appreciate a story strictly for that:)

  6. I feel like I might know what's going on in that town. It seems fairly obvious but I might be wrong. I love when books mess with your head. That way the book directs you more and confuses you more which keeps you guessing. I definitely like the idea of Glimmer. It must have been interesting to see a heatnap happen and the characters reaction. I could just imagine mine. The ending might not have been as satisfying as you hoped but sometimes if it's close it doesn't matter because the rest of the book sounds awesome. Great review (:

  7. Loving being confused makes perfect sense. Trust me, I love that state too. Also, these psychological mysteries intrigue me as well and Glimmer has such a pretty cover. I'm glad it was a good read for you, but if there are loose ends and hanging questions, maybe a sequel is coming... Who knows? Anyways, I'll definitely try to read this book soon and great review, Aylee!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  8. I love a good mystery but try as I might I just could never get sucked into this one. Nice review though.

  9. I love books that through you for loops. And make your mind twist and turn.Being confused is almost always good in books like this.
    Great review!


  10. I struggle to remember reading this book, though I think I liked it overall. I do remember being somewhat unimpressed with the big reveal, though I did like the psychological mystery like you. It's funny that you don't think it will be memorable, because it's been almost a year and I barely remember it! :-) Lovely thoughtful review Aylee!

  11. Yeah, it's a fun book that won't be something to turn back to but wasn't an unpleasant experience, we all have those. I'm quite curious about this one, just on what the big reveal is and how the characters got from point A to point naked-in-bed-with-a-stranger. That's plenty mystery to get me interested :D

  12. Glad you enjoyed this overall! Glimmer isn't that high on my to-read list, but I didn't expect it to be a psychological thriller, so that's a plus, ha. I agree, I love going into a story not knowing what's going to happen, and then getting totally surprised by what I read. Fab review. :)

  13. I love being confused too! I totally know what you mean by that even though it sounds weird. This is one I have wanted to get my hands on for a while because I love that it's a standalone. Everything out there is a series it seems these days so I love when I get to pick up one book and see a beginning middle & end. Not beginning, middle & agonizing cliffhanger! Sorry you didn't get all the answers that you wanted in the end.

  14. I remember when this book first came out, but I never picked it up and promptly forgot it existed until I saw your review. I do love books where everything comes together piece by piece and you're trying to figure out what is going on. I may pick this up someday, but based on your review it isn't getting moved to the top of my TBR any time soon. Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

  15. I know what you mean about loving to be confused with a book! It's hard to explain to some people but it's great to have to figure things out yourself instead of having all the information given to you (it's why I love the movie MEMENTO). I'm glad that this book was able to keep your interest with the mystery, but it's disappointing that it leaves you wanting more. Thanks for the review!

  16. I really like the cover of this book and I have seen it around- but I never really knew what it was about. Sounds cool and I am intrigued about what happens just from reading your review. I am curious.

    Thanks for the review.

  17. This kind of reminds me of the movie "Twenty First Dates" with Drew Barrymore (not sure if that's how you spell her name - sorry Drew). I LOVED that movie. This sounds like it has some potential, I totally know what you mean about "I love being confused". I'm kinda reading that type of mystery vs psychological thriller type of book right now - Insomnia.

  18. It seems like it was a sold enough book even if the big reveal wasn't so big in the end, I do like me some amnesia plots so that's something to consider :D
    Thanks for the review Aylee

  19. How had I never heard of Glimmer before right now?! I just love losing myself in a good mystery too, though I don't read nearly as many mysteries as I want to! I'm really intrigued about what the answers will turn out to be, like why this is happening and why these specific people?! Thanks so much for the captivating review and for bringing Glimmer to my attention :D

  20. I have this one on my shelf, Aylee, and have yet to read it. I guess I'll save it for a rainy day because the mystery sounds pretty interesting and it's a standalone.

  21. Yikes, what an awkward beginning to a novel!

    Sounds like an interesting book, but that's disappointing that it left you with some questions (and that the concept was a bit hard to believe - that's a big deal for me). Might be a good library check-out, though.

    Nice honest review :)

  22. This sounds interesting. I am always willing to overlook plot issues f teh overall story delivers....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  23. Oooh, heatnaps sound intriguing. Sounds like an actual non-cliché amnesia story! Not sure how I'd feel about the ending but I'm very curious about the waking up as a blank slate because I adored it in Slated by Teri Terry :)

  24. Gah, I need to read this book! I love psychological mystery stories, too and this sounds such an intriguing read. It'd have been great if the ending was a little shock-inducing though.