Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.
This time, Riley might really have bitten off more than she’s ready for. After practically begging the Council for a more challenging Soul Catch, she is assigned an actual Roman gladiator—Theocoles, the Pillar of Doom. How is Riley, a skinny twelve-year-old, supposed to get through to him? Then she meets the beautiful Messalina, who convinces her that her only chance is to become part of this world. To accomplish this, Messalina helps Riley through a dramatic, mystical makeover, transforming her into the beautiful and mature teen she’s always wanted to be. Finally, Riley can experience her first boyfriend and her first kiss. With a dream this enchanting, will she ever want to leave?
A sweet, well paced book for Tweens, WHISPER is perfectly written for young readers. Noel handles fundamentally heavy subjects with humor and grace, allowing her heroine to come of age in the afterlife. Riley struggles with crushes, forgiveness, body image, and romance, all while trying to rescue the long tormented ghost of a Roman gladiator.
Though I appreciated the morality tales woven into Riley’s story, it was only the parts regarding forgiveness and lost love that resonated more than intellectually. Perhaps because these themes are as pertinent to adults as they would be for young readers. And though Riley’s crush was sweet and age appropriate, Noel puts a new spin on the genre trope. As a new reader (WHISPER was my first book in the Riley Bloom series), this was a compelling change that made the story all the more readable. Depending on how heavily Noel build up expectations in prior books, returning readers may not be as thrilled with this novel twist.
Despite this being my first book in the series, Noel’s characters and mythology were accessible and charming. Even the sticky issue of a heroine coming of age in the afterlife was handled with aplomb, neither downplaying death nor harping on darkness. While the story tone was a bit too young for my taste (which is what makes this 3bats for me rather than 4), WHISPER is note perfect for a young reader who is already trying to find their place in a teenage world.
About the author
- Review: Ante Up (Sin City Collectors) by Amanda CarlsonSeptember 1, 2014
- Review: The Winter People by Rebekah L. PurdyAugust 30, 2014
- Deadly Destinations: Gina Rosati & win AURACLEAugust 8, 2012