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Review: 14 thoughts on The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

in a sentence or so: Amelia is sent to her family in Baltimore for The Season. in the midst of trying to land a solid match, she discovers she has the gift of sight (though the term gift should be considered loosely) and manages to fall head over heels for a mysterious boy who seems to be harboring his own secrets and is most certainly not the type of match her brother had in mind.

there are reviews of this ALL over the interwebs. so to present the review in a fresh way, i've got my review down to 14 thoughts. why 14 you ask? well, Nathaniel (chief love interest) is the 14th at the dinner party at which Amelia meets him for the first time. because it's too tacky to have only 13 people at your dinner party, obviously. so Nathaniel fills in as the charity case at spot number 14.

these are in no particular order, just so you know.

1. Zora. oh Zora, how i adore thee. Zora is Amelia's cousin of the same age and is also in the midst of her season. unlike country bumpkin Amelia, Zora is fashionable, connected, and just might be my favorite part of this read. she's thoughtful, grounded, and i kept expecting there to be something dark beneath the surface...but no. Zora is pure goodness. and i love her.
2. Calling Cards. you have no idea how i wish that i lived in a world where i had nothing to do but go visit people and eat treats and drink tea and present my name on a special card with the color and font of my choosing. alas, i work at a job where i have a pre-destined business card. so anyway, i think cards are awesome and such a fun exploration of the 1899 time period.
3. Indecisiveness. Amelia is inexplicably indecisive. she falls HARD for Nathaniel but then goes all wishy-washy with her crush. it's typical of the paranormal romance for the attraction to be Intense and Immediate, but i was perplexed by the sudden apprehensiveness of her feelings for him and if she was just toying with him etc.
4. Paranormal Romance. okay i just touched on this in 3, but the whole intense and immediate attraction is pretty typical and i get that. but i soon grew weary of reading the heat coming off of his skin and his smelling like sweet rum. like, i genuinely do not know why she was attracted to him other than it was just 'one of those things'. which is fine and all, but a bit more substance would have been appreciated.
5. Memory Loss. oh what you can do with the memory loss twists. i loved the suspense created and how it was actually kinda spooky when Amelia can't recall parts of her sight coming and going.
6. All Doesn't End Well. i love when stories don't all wrap up in a neat little bow. bad things happen. bad consequences are a result. thank you, Saundra Mitchell, for knowing a good story comes with loss.
7. Mattie. she's a bit of a wild card catalyst, really. Mattie is friends with Zora and is one of those girls that always has something nasty to say that no one puts in her place. ugh. anyway, she just keeps popping up and causing trouble just because she wants to.  or so it seems, anyway.
8. Flaws. Amelia is flawed, yet redeeming. i liked Amelia a ton, don't get me wrong. she was plucky and had a conscience and was totally believable. so believable, in fact, that she's flawed in a way that you would expect a true person to be. she has the whole Icarus thing going on, and she's definitely lets her pride get the best of her.
9. Corsets! while the idea of corsets grosses me out - what with the risk of cracking ribs and all - Mitchell infuses humor into the self-torture devices by repeatedly referring to how the girls cannot get up by themselves with them on and how they have to roll off of the bed - like turtles - to get up. this had me giggling along with Zora and Amelia more than once.
10. Non-Linear Storytelling. i have to give it to Mitchell, i really dug the creativity in her storytelling. especially with Amelia seeing premonitions as a core of the plot, it totally made sense that we see where Amelia is currently, compared to where she was when she was with Zora.
11. Lost in Plot. okay, after appreciating number 10, i admit that i got lost a few times in the story. part of this was probably due to the fact that i was reading on my Nook and couldn't flip back easily to double check passages, but it took me a few to realize we were doing the whole back-and-forth thing. in addition to that, there was a LOT going on in this surprisingly short read. so much, in fact, that i felt like some of the finer details were skipped to keep things moving.
12. Slumber Parties! i love me a slumber party. one of the best things i've done in my transition from teenagedom to adulthood is keep slumber parties a part of my life. seriously, don't stop having friends sleep over and watch movies all night. it's the BEST because you don't have to call your mom for a ride in the morning! for real!  but what i loved about slumber parties in The Vespertine was how true they felt. the girls all giggling on the bed, sharing secrets (and holding some back), and sharing in each others joy about their latest boy-related news.
13. Jump With Me. oh Nathaniel, how sweet you are. Nathaniel woos Amelia up to the top of a monument and challenges her with this statement. obviously, we know he's asking more than her trust to launch off the top of a monument (although, that is pretty intense) - he is asking for her trust in the unknown future that lies ahead of them. he wants her to jump WITH him...aww.
14. Power. Amelia has a powerful ability, and how she uses it, experiences it, and shares it drives this story. all of us have power, and how we choose to use it - or not to use it - impacts us and everyone around us. Amelia learns this a bit too late, i'm afraid. but would she have done anything differently had she known the pure power she possessed in her ability? i'm not so sure.

fave quote: "She was right. We had to savor moments granted us, for this one summer past childhood and before womanhood. If that meant scandalous gowns and tipping our lashes at boys, then so be it." (117 | 305 Nook)

fix er up: more details would have been greatly appreciated by this reader!

title: The Vespertine
author: Saundra Mitchell
publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
drop date: March 7, 2011
genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
buy this book: Amazon | Barnes &Noble | Borders | Harcourt

[ftc notice: i received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley with the approval of Harcourt Children's Books. i did not receive any compensation for this review.]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. This book sounds really interesting, and I love the way you've presented your review! (:

  2. Very creative review! I agree with all the points, and, like you, the only thing holding me back from absolutely loving this book was the lack of back ground detail. :)

  3. Renu - thanks! it was an interesting read, and one i think most peeps will enjoy.
    BB - that's something that's been sticking out for me with YA books all over the place as of late. i'm gonna pop an adult book in the mix and see how it compares...


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