Clean Teen Fiction and Skyla11377 - and meshing them together to create my own version of Flashback Friday - a version which features some of my favorite books from the past year and provides a review for them. You don't have to be a new blogger to participate in Flashback Friday though. This is simply an opportunity to showcase novels we've read in the past and enjoyed, even if there is no written review for it, so feel free to grab my button or make your own and participate! :)
Today's Flashback Friday Pick: Chime by Franny Billingsley
Author: Franny Billingsley
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Briony Larkin has grown up hating herself. Before her stepmother passed away, she told Briony a secret: Briony is a witch. Briony is wicked. Briony is responsible for hurting her sister Rose. Briony is guilty. Briony must not tell her father. Briony must not tell anyone. If Briony tells, she will be hanged. Thus, Briony believes in her own inherent evil - she despises herself. Yet, when Eldric, a boy who is as different from her as sun and moon, arrives from London, Briony starts to question everything she's ever been told. Slowly, secrets begin to surface - secrets about Briony. Secrets about her life. Secrets she doesn't know.
Chime is dark, haunting, and utterly original. Billingsley's writing style can be strange at first, but it soon grew on me. I found myself devouring the pages, unable to stop reading until late into the night.
Briony, despite her own self-loathe, is an intelligent and self-reliant new heroine, able to fend for herself. Furthermore, she does everything she can to take care of her twin sister, Rose. Rose lives in her own world, acting like a child after an accident that affected her mind when she was young. She tells Briony that she has no birthday although they are twins, doesn't allow her to listen to the clock chime twelve, and has a plethora of secrets of her own. Although Briony often doesn't want to take care of her sister, she does anyway, showing an admirable sense of loyalty. Briony has so many notable characteristics that one cannot help but love and sympathize with her even though she despises herself. She is intriguing and, as the narrator, provides a refreshing new perspective.
Briony and Eldric's blossoming romance was captivating and - dare I say it - something that had not been done before. Eldric calls himself a resident "bad boy,"; yet, he is unlike any other "bad" boy we have come to know in YA literature. Eldric is a gentleman who is kind, honest, friendly, and funny. He becomes Briony's friend first and Briony, believing that she in incapable of love, does not see him as anything more than that for much of the novel. It is evident to the reader that Eldric likes Briony very much; however, as the novel is told from Briony's perspective, we cannot help but doubt him and question Briony's own feelings towards him as she does not know them herself. Eldric is so easy to fall in love with and, despite his evident weaknesses and flaws, has become one of my favorite male characters in YA literature.
To be honest, I was originally very skeptical about reading Chime. The cover is gorgeous and I wanted to like it so badly, but most reviewers had simply been unable to read it because of the writing style. I didn't want to be one of those readers. Thankfully, I was sucked in my the writing and thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything about this book is unique - its characters, its plot, its romance. Although it seems like just another paranormal romance, it is so much more. It is thought compelling, strange, and beautifully written. Certain scenes are written with such poise that they stand out, immediately making this novel one with writing that may not necessarily be poetic or beautiful, but certainly striking.Billingsley's talent for writing is evident throughout the story as she never makes Briony come across as whiny or annoying for hating herself - she truly develops and adds depth to her personality. Some authors are simply good, Franny Billingsley however, has true talent.
Chime may not be a novel that everyone may necessarily like, but it is haunting and deserves to be read. If you are looking for something that will completely blow your mind away, leaving you pondering the novel long after you are finished with it, read Chime. You won't regret it.