Summary from Goodreads:
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn't feel emotions... she sees them in human form. Longing hovers around the shy, adoring boy at school. Courage materializes beside her dying friend. Fury and Resentment visit her abusive home. They've all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn't succumb to their touch. All, that is, except beautiful Fear, who sometimes torments her and other times plays her compassionate savior. He’s obsessed with finding the answer to one question: What happened to Elizabeth to make her this way?
They both sense that the key to Elizabeth’s condition is somehow connected to the paintings of her dreams, which show visions of death and grief that raise more questions than answers. But as a shadowy menace begins to stalk her, Elizabeth’s very survival depends on discovering the truth about herself. When it matters most, she may not be able to rely on Fear to save her.
Elizabeth Caldwell is different. The invisible girl at school, she has no friends, never goes out to parties. The only people who pay attention to her are her abusive father and the mean girl bully at school. At night, Elizabeth is haunted by strange visions that plague her dreams, about another girl and a boy. Something evil and shadowy hunts Elizabeth, for reasons that probably have to do with those visions. In the waking world, two boys are pursuing her. Joshua, a nice, homey farm kid, and Fear, a mysterious “bad boy”. She has to chose between them, but which will it be? And will she ever find out what that dark presence stalking her is?
Does all this sound familiar? Of course it does. Some Quiet Place may advertise a unique concept, but beneath that, this book is just a tired recycling of every YA paranormal trope that’s been regurgitated and given a “new spin” over and over again for the past few years. Kelsey Sutton’s debut has hints of promise here and there, but those moments are buried too far beneath scenes and plot devices readers have seen countless times before.
Yes, this novel’s main idea is a good one. A young woman cannot feel emotion, but rather sees them personified. I really do enjoy that concept, and I think that had Sutton developed it and carried it out to its full potential, this book would have been a success. But unfortunately, the novelty of a non-emotional protagonist wears off too quickly, and the reader is then left with an emotionless husk of a character who feels nothing, has no depth, no motivation, and no goals.
Elizabeth’s emotionlessness turned out to be Some Quiet Place’s downfall, rather than its unique, memorable aspect. Though I think that if properly handled, the lack of emotion could have been capitalized on, instead it felt like a mask the author could place in front of her character, a reason not to give Elizabeth a fully-rounded personality. Because Elizabeth felt nothing, was nothing, she was hopelessly, irredeemable boring.
This dullness carried over into every aspect of the story. Elizabeth’s having foreboding visions? Ho hum. Two guys are “in love” with her? Whatever. She’s being stalked by some supernatural entity? Yawn. Unfortunately, Elizabeth’s supposed apathy and disconnection from the world around her translates to readers who are apathetic and disconnected from the narration. Some Quiet Place doesn’t mean to be boring or unexciting, but Sutton’s clumsy treatment of her narrator affects the entire book negatively.
Beyond the premise itself falling flat, we also deal with the overused, cliché plot itself. Though I think a too-familiar story might have been excused had Elizabeth’s character and her otherness been portrayed to brilliance, that is not the case, so the reader is left with a very overused, trite storyline that’s been seen a hundred times before.
And yet, in spite of all this, there were brief moments in the book where I could see the reality of Some Quiet Place’s potential come out. This book honestly could have been great, and I think that with a great publishing team, something amazing could have been developed. But the sad fact is that this book is published by a smaller press that doubtless doesn’t have the extensive resources a bigger imprint would have, and I think this story suffers on account of that. A great idea is a great idea, and Some Quiet Place has a great idea. But the fact is, Sutton’s storytelling is bogged down by too many issues for that great idea to shine through. Because of that, this book is distinctly underwhelming, with its lack of feeling and pedestrian plot swallowing up any promise there might have been.