Review: The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Rating: *** / 3 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller
Published March 5, 2013 by Simon Pulse
Goodreads | Amazon 

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…


The Murmurings definitely had a very good start that left me wanting for more. It was able to capture the voice of a lonely and confused girl, isolated by her peers due to the unfortunate and unwanted conditions that surround her. Her sister just died in a crazy way, her mom’s an alcoholic and not able to move on and forgive herself, and everyone thinks she’s a freak. Grand, right? I loved how her voice was very personal and detached at the same time, and loved it even more that it stayed consistent throughout. The way her internal narration was written was a pleasure to read.

Her impulsive approach to satisfy her curiosity, especially on what happened to her sister and what was going on in the mental institution she was placed in, unfortunately bothered me. This isn’t the book’s fault, though – I simply just cannot appreciate people who make decisions without thinking. For example, she knew Dr. Keller was strange, bizarre, and even dangerous, yet she just had to go to the mental institution knowing the dire consequences. Alone. That scene really bothered me because no one in their sane mind would do something like that, unless they’re completely naïve. I’m aware that this must have been necessary in order to move the story, but it felt incredibly annoying knowing that the nutcases in there will find a way to contain her.

Despite my lack of appreciation towards Sophie’s character as a whole, I still did like the pace of the story overall. It was slow, yes, but I believe the tensions leading to the climax and ultimately to the finale were nicely written. I was able to feel sorry for Sophie because I understood how alone she must have felt. Her mother was in her own world, her Aunt worried more about her mother than her own niece, everyone else shunned her away, and she was hearing voices to boot. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. The raw emotions dealing with this loneliness was effectively expressed, and I applaud the author for that.

However, I did feel the romance aspect to this felt unnatural. I thought she fell in love with Evan a little too quickly for my liking, thus making it seem a bit forced and unnatural. I definitely think making them as friends first would’ve worked better, and the romance later on. 3/5 stars for me.

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    My review for this is going up tomorrow, I think, and my feelings are pretty similar. I appreciated the writing and the mood, but it was very slow-paced and didn’t sell me on the characters. I’ve had time to sit on it, and I DO think I liked it, but not powerfully so. A solid, not especially enthusiastic sounding three.

    • says

      Yeah, THAT and the paranormal twist at the end was a bit… mmmmeh? There’s this side of me that’s wishing it stayed contemporary throughout.

  2. says

    This book is popping up every where but it doesn’t seem to go past 3 stars. If I see it in the library I’d read it but I wouldn’t buy it.

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