Book review: 'The Edge of Nowhere' a compelling young adult thriller

By Scott Livingston

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 8 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

"THE EDGE OF NOWHERE," by Elizabeth George, Viking, $18.99, 440 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

Becca King has a gift. Her gift is a curse. It could save her life. And it could be the reason she’s about to be killed.

In Elizabeth George’s new thrilling yet flawed young adult novel, “The Edge of Nowhere,” the pace is brisk and the characters are compelling. The reader knows within the first few pages who wants to kill Becca and why, and the rest of the novel drives the reader relentlessly forward to find out whether she escapes the fate her pursuer has vowed she’ll face.

Becca’s gift is her ability to hear so-called “whispers,” the inner thoughts of people around her. In order to block out this insistent and at times paralyzing chatter, she wears a device called an AUD box, which provides Becca with a stream of “white noise” to shut off the torrent of sound she must otherwise attempt to process. As “The Edge of Nowhere” begins, Becca happens to hear the thoughts of someone close to her, which turn out to be malicious in intent.

Becca’s mother Laurel responds by taking Becca from their home in San Diego to remote Whidbey Island near Seattle and has Becca alter her appearance in order to avoid being found out. Becca attempts to fit in while also staying hidden, which becomes challenged when a fellow high school student ends up in a coma from a fall. The investigation into possible foul play gets close to not only her secret, but those of others, too. As everyone, especially Becca, tries protects their own secrets, this leads to several interesting plot developments that extend through the length of the novel.

George’s strength is in the development of her characters, each of which is interesting, multi-faceted and imperfect. It is these characters, and their individual journeys, that keep the reader engaged and interested in what happens to them.

The flaw in “The Edge of Nowhere,” is that several seemingly major plot points are never resolved. Without risking a “spoiler alert,” even the central conflict of the novel is built up from the very first page to the very last page, only to leave the reader wanting.

There are scattered profanities throughout, but no sexual content and only mild moments of violence.

“The Edge of Nowhere” has lots going for it, but in the end, it leaves the reader unfulfilled and questioning whether the time invested was time well spent.

If you go ...

What: Elizabeth George book signing

When: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Scott Livingston blogs about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at sleye1stories.com. He blogs otherwise at sleye1.blogspot.com. And he tumbles at sleye1stories.tumblr.com.

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