Review: Untethered by Katie Hayoz

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Rating: **** / 4 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Drama, Paranormal
Published: May 1st, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin. In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it. But if there is one thing she’s sure of, it’s her love for Kevin Phillips. She’s willing to stake everything on it –her family, her friends, and possibly her soul.

Sixteen-year-old Sylvie has been best friends with Cassie forever. But everything is turned around when the boy Sylvie’s loved since fifth grade falls for Cassie. Devastated, Sylvie intends to get Kevin by any means possible, even if it involves treachery, deceit, and the dark side of astral projection. She is positive her plans will give her what she wants, but she doesn’t count on it all spiraling out of control.

Untethered explores the intoxicating and dangerous world of jealousy and obsession when coupled with paranormal ability. Finalist in Mslexia novel competition.

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A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

To tell y’all honestly, I wasn’t expecting much when I read the blurb; in my eyes, it looked like it was another paranormal story where it would center on the romance, which I believe, is a little bit too common nowadays. But color me surprised — this book was actually pretty good! I started reading around 11:30 in the evening, and didn’t stop until the sun was already rising at 5:30 — all in one sitting. That was how engrossed I was. Heck, I’ll even go ahead and say it now: this book is better than a lot of published ones I’ve read this year.

I think what really made this book special to me was how it was able to make the plot character-driven, but at the same time fast-paced and full of suspense. I’ve read a lot of books that have tried to make their books so, and while some of them succeeded and did it nicely, many others just fail in the execution alone, so I was pleasantly delighted that Katie Hayoz incorporated it here effortlessly and beautifully. Kudos to that!

Using a 1st person narrative, the author was able to give us a clear and deep picture of the thoughts of the main character, Sylvie — her fears, frustrations, and insecurities. Every time she was sad about her parents separating, I couldn’t help but feel sad for her, too. Every time she felt unconfident of the way she looked whenever she compared herself to her beautiful best friend, Cassie, I couldn’t help but want to reach out and comfort her. Every time she was being bullied in her school with hoots of “Psycho”, I couldn’t help but want to punch something – anything – as if it could somehow make her feel better. I know, it’s a bit weird, but the book’s effect on me was a big magical. I loved that even though Sylvie was quite the jealous, obsessed, angsty character, it didn’t make me feel detached from her (because honestly, emo characters get on my nerves); it actually made me feel for her more. I sympathized with her. I placed myself in her shoes. She did some questionable things, said some harsh words, made half-hearted decisions, but I understood what she was going through, and the character development that ensued afterwards – her acceptance, her realizing her self worth and the worth of the people around her – became more meaningful and fulfilling. One of the ending scenes was a bit bittersweet, and in some ways, realistic. Not everything has to end absolutely in a positive note given certain circumstances (and consequences), and we all need to realize that. Heck, not everything ends that way, period.

The plot that involved astral projection and out-of-body experiences was also quite original. That is, I actually haven’t read something like this before, and I’m glad the first book I read that did have it, it was this, because I think Untethered did it splendidly. I really liked how this activity became very vital to Sylvie’s life and to the story, how it became both a sanctuary and also a nightmare. I’ve actually been trying to experience this for a while now, but I think I’ll have to take a few steps back. There are just some things in the world that are better left unknown. Do I believe in other planes and realms? Absolutely. Especially since I’ve had a lot of paranormal encounters myself (cups floating, waking up in the middle of the night to find a beheaded ghost beside me twitching in a reaaaally weird way…) so I do believe these kind of things are possible, and I’m glad there are authors out there writing PR stuff beyond vampires and werewolves.

All in all, I think this was an excellent read. I do believe Katie Hayoz is a promising writer, and I’ll definitely read more from her in the future. There’s a lot of character development, a lot of plot, a lot of drama and suspense that will keep you going to the last page. Final verdict: 4 stars

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Faye

Faye

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. Patricia says

    Awesome review! I’ve always been a fan of astral projections myself. Not that I’ve experienced it, though. Will check this out. Thanks!

  2. Jaime Lester says

    I have not heard of this one before now, but it had me at astral projection! I am such a huge fan of astral being woven into any story, and it sounds like Katie Hayoz knows exactly what she is doing! Thank you so much for the review!

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