Callie Evans is 15 and the youngest girl in her class when she starts high school. A typical teen, or so she likes to think, she’s a bit of a drama queen, but she has an overprotective mother, who won’t let her have a cell phone and generally thinks the world is a dangerous place. Her dad is much more laid-back and her younger twin brothers, Jack and Sam, are always in trouble and on the go, so life is certainly interesting. Then there’s her best friend, Mila; they grew up together and share everything. If Callie’s a good girl, Mila is somewhat the opposite, a risk-taker and a bit of a rebel, and she’s just starting to test the boundaries of high school life.
The only fly in the ointment are these headaches, headaches that can be blindingly painful and sneak up on Callie when she least expects it. The thing is she’s starting to hear things too, and see things, weird things … like one of the most popular girls in school, Heather Chandler, crying and saying (out loud!) how fat and ugly she is, while some grey, mushy, practically boneless creature whispers into Heather’s ear. Apart from shrieking, Callie can’t take it all in, but she also can’t help herself either – she has to do something about the monster. She has a strange, overwhelming urge to rip its head off! Weird…
Whisper is a young adult book and the first offering from a trilogy by Dana Faletti. Based in the US, this is a coming-of-age fantasy saga, set in the modern world, but with eternal themes of good versus evil, angels against demons. Some of the storyline, once it gets going, is a little predictable, but not everything goes as you expect and there are some surprises, especially as we near the end. There are also some great humorous observations from Callie along the way, and unlike some novels in this genre, you get to enjoy the tale from two perspectives.
I really enjoyed the story. It’s not too taxing and runs along at a good pace, while pausing now and again to let you reflect and take in all that’s happened. Callie is a likeable girl with her heart in the right place, even though she has to contend with not just the angst of growing up but also finding out a supernatural world exists right in front of her nose that she had no idea about before. The characters may not be too complex – Joshua Pride is dreamy (of course) and Mila is only going to learn the hard way – but you’re with them, willing them along.
The only issue that lets the book down are the errors. Punctuation and spelling mistakes pop up here and there, along with some ongoing inconsistencies, all of which could have been resolved quite easily with a good proofreader or editor. I may not be hip enough (do they still say that?) to like all the modern ‘teen speak’, but this book isn’t really aimed at me – I haven’t been a teen in many years – and some of the practicalities of this new world for Callie are rather ‘convenient’. (No one will remember Callie behaving rather strangely after the demons have been dispatched and of course her coach can talk to her via thoughts when other humans are around!) But these aspects don’t detract from the story and it’s still fun to read. I have to remind myself that I’m not the target audience, though anyone should read it who’s interested, as it is accessible for all ages really.
Overall this is a fun, modern fantasy book, with some good themes turned into clever ideas and some great characters that you get behind. And did I say it was a trilogy? Honestly, I am considering reading the next two.