THE EDGE OF NOWHERE by Elizabeth George
jacket flap blurb
Becca King is on the run. Her ability to hear “whispers”—the thoughts of others—has put her at risk from her stepfather, whose criminal activities she’s discovered.
When she arrives on Whitbey Island, beautiful, wild, and a world apart, she embarks on a life very different from her old one, with new friends that include Seth, a kindhearted dropout turned gypsy jazz musician; Derric, a Ugandan boy adopted by a local family; Diana, with whom she shares psychic powers; and Debbie, who makes a habit of helping runaways.
Blending strands of mystery and romance and a hint of the paranormal in a haunting setting, The Edge of Nowhere is the first in a cycle of books that will take Becca and her friends through their teenage years on the island.
There are things I liked about this book, and there are things I disliked. Despite liking more things than I disliked, the dislikes, in the end, overpowered the rest of it and I’m not sure about this book.
For one thing, the prologue starts with a girl named Hannah, and the first sentence is “On the last day of Hannah Armstrong’s existence, things were normal for a while.” While the sentence makes sense by chapter one, I was confused by the end of the prologue, when Hannah is not dead. See, she hears some “whispers” from her stepfather, Jeff, he realizes she hears them, and she runs. End of prologue.
What are these whispers? Well, we find out the full story later, but what we hear in the prologue doesn’t make a lot of sense. Hannah doesn’t hear full thoughts, as such. The things she hears are broken up and often confusing. This is the case with Jeff’s whispers, which seem to imply he killed someone, but it’s sort of hard to tell for certain what the heck is going on. This is made more confusing by the fact that Hannah seems to know exactly what’s going on, which led to me re-reading Jeff’s whispers over and over again to see if I missed something. But I didn’t. Hannah just knows something we don’t.
Then chapter one starts, with Becca King. She can also hear whispers, and her mother is also named Laurel. Becca King is Hannah Armstrong. Later in the chapter, we discover Laurel gave Hannah a new name to go by, and a new past to remember. Becca is going to Whidbey Island to live with Carol, a friend of Laurel’s, until Laurel can get a place for her and Becca set up in Canada.
So on the ferry across, she meets Jenn, who will remain an antagonistic figure for the rest of the book, and Derric. Derric is the love-interest, and Becca has an obligatory cheesy moment when she notices him but whatever. Then Becca gets to Whidbey, and Carol is not there to pick her up. So she takes her bike (her mom left her with a bike, some money, and some bags of clothes and makeup, to try and disguise her appearance, hair dye, for the same reason, and fake glasses) and goes to Carol’s house, taking a ride with another character, Diana, to get there.
And guess what? Carol has just died of a heart attack. Becca approaches Carol’s husband and introduces himself. But when he doesn’t give any indication that Carol has talked to him about Becca, Becca just says she’s sorry his wife’s died and leaves. Long story short, she meets Seth, and later ends up living with Debbie.
Now, the good points. The relationships between this myriad of characters is well-written and engaging. I ended up liking almost all of them, or at the very least understand their motivations. The relationship between Becca and Derric is surprisingly interesting, considering Derric ends up in a coma about a third of the way through the book and stays that way until near the end.
But there were a lot of things I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand when the book switched viewpoint characters to Seth during part two. Not permanently, but for a chapter or so. And then back to Becca. And then later we’re back in Seth, and then later we’re in another character, and while we’re only in the characters of Becca, Seth, and Hayley on a rotating basis, it was still weird. If this is a multiple viewpoint book, why didn’t we start out that way from the very beginning? Sure, things only changed when we hit part two, but it was jarring. It was weird. I see why it was necessary, but I don’t see why Seth and Hayley weren’t viewpoint characters from the very beginning.
So that was a big problem for me. The other was the way the book ended. Aka badly. At the end, the main mystery of the book is finally cleared up, but the reason Becca is on Whidbey—her stepfather—is still going on. The book ends with Becca seeing her stepfather in front of the motel where she’s living, and then running. So, basically, it’s like the end of the prologue all over again. I know it’s the first book in a series—it says so right on the jacket-flap—but it left me feeling like nothing had been accomplished over the course of the entire story. And that left me with a bad feeling for the whole book.
rating out of five stars