Book Review: Glimmer

Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Mystery, Paranormal

Glimmer is one of those books that took me by surprise. It was nothing like I expected it to be. I went into this one thinking it was going to be the typical YA love story with some ghosts or some other supernatural being thrown in. As I started reading, I began to weave together a Stepford Wives type hypothesis, however I soon realized that this is not a book that is easy to figure out. Phoebe Kitanidis has created a unique and sinister read with this one. I loved the fact that this book was unlike anything else I have read lately.

The book begins when two teens, one girl and one boy, wake up together and have no memories. They don't know each other or their own identities. I loved that Kitanidis was able to write the beginning of this novel in a style that mimicked the experiences of the characters. The reader is thrown right in and it takes about a hundred pages until you truly start to get your bearings. I can see how this could be frustrating for readers, but I enjoyed the challenge of trying to piece the story together as both characters begin to learn things about themselves. The twist in this book was also a really interesting one - I can't wait to talk to others about it - but I don't want to spoil anything. This book is best when you go into it knowing virtually nothing about the plot. I would suggest keeping a notebook handy while reading. I littered several pages with inferences, questions, and notes as I tried to work out what was truly happening in Summer Falls. There was no way to predict which direction Kitanidis would take readers on next. I loved that!

One of the strongest elements of Glimmer is the sense of place. I love novels that allow the setting to be so important that it becomes almost a character. Summer Falls, Colorado certainly has a mind of its own. The people that inhabit this town fascinated me. I also really liked all the elements surrounding the town as a tourism destination and the odd weather. It's pretty easy to figure out that all is not right in Summer Falls when the weather is warm year round; temperatures never drop below 60. That just doesn't happen naturally in Colorado. I loved finding out what was really going on in this town to cause all the odd events.

Glimmer's other main strength was its characters. I loved both Elyse and Marshall. Each of them is flawed, but they do evolve throughout the novel. I don't think I would have liked either one of them if they had remained the same people they were before the memory loss. Elyse is one of those strong, honest types who just wants the best for herself and those she loves. Marshall has those some traits with the additional element of a hero complex. He wants to save everyone, but isn't quite sure how to accomplish that task. Together, Elyse and Marshall, must figure out what happened to their memories and piece together the clues to save their town. The chapters alternate between Elyse and Marshall's perspectives. This can be tedious if not done well, but Kitanidis does not disappoint in her execution of dual narrators. The transition between the two is fairly seamless and I enjoyed seeing the story from both perspectives.

My biggest complaint with this book is that the ending felt rushed. There is so much buildup in the beginning and body of this work that I felt like the ending didn't truly stand up to the precedent set by the previous parts. I also felt like there were some loose ends at the end that the author chose to tie up neatly (which didn't feel authentic to me) or ignore. Overall, this wasn't enough of an issue to keep me from enjoying the book, but the book could easily have been rated a 5 from me if this element had been more solid. 

Glimmer is a breath of fresh air in the YA world. It certainly uses elements I have read about in other books, but the way they are presented was an entirely new experience for me. I loved that I was learning about Elyse and Marshall as they were discovering who they were at the same time. It was a fun way to interact with the plot. I would recommend trying to read this in one sitting. I read it over several days and found that the momentum was somewhat lost each time I would put the book down. 

Phoebe Kitanidis is certainly an author to keep your eye on - I can't wait to see what else she has swimming about in that brain of hers.

One Last Gripe: I wish that more had been explained about the asylum. It seemed like this was more of an after thought than a central plot point, but I was intrigued by it and felt let down that it didn't receive more attention. And... what happened to poor Pete?!?!

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I liked the book was odd, but compelling. It was also nice that it was a stand alone. In a sea of series, its nice to have these at times.

First Sentence: I come to life with a gasp in the darkness.

Favorite Character: Elyse

Least Favorite Character: Jeffry

What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future. 

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, 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 shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school. 

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.


  1. This definitely seems like an interesting read. The cover is fairly intriguing all by itself, and that coupled with the plot summary definitely makes me want to check this book out!

    1. It was really interesting - very different compared to a lot of stuff I've read lately. However, I can see why some readers have been frustrated by it. It doesn't really roll out in a traditional manner. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  2. This is a fantastic review and I'm really looking forward to reading Glimmer :o]

    The whole plot sounds amazing and they synopsis caught my eye a while ago!

    Thanks for sharing :o]

    1. Thanks for checking out my review. I'm glad you liked it and that it has increased your excitement about reading the book. I'd love to hear your thoughts after you read it.


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