The Opposite of Amber
by Gillian Phillip Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
on April 4th 2011 Pages:
Ruby and her older sister Jinn live together on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene - again - and Jinn starts to change. First Nathan moves in with Jinn and Ruby, making Ruby feel an outsider, and then Jinn and Nathan move out, leaving Ruby alone. Jinn no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears. A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart.
In thinking back about The Opposite of Amber, the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" instantly comes to mind. Don't let this cover fool you.
The Opposite of Amber was nothing like I thought it would be. This novel is not a happy-go-lucky novel. It is a dark, thrilling read that surprised me with its depth. Even now, days after reading it, I feel like a lot of me is still trying to digest Philip's message.
Going into this novel, I was looking for a fast-paced thriller. And I got some of that. But Philip and her prose completely deserve more than being declared a fast-paced read. Because, in all honesty, this is not a fast read. It literally took me days to finish it. And that is not a bad thing. Philip has created a very character driven novel which focus more on understanding the characters, the situation, and their feelings than a quick slasherish read with little substance. And substance is definitely a department that The Opposite of Amber is lacking in.
The Opposite of Amber is a novel that deserves to be savored. If you are like me, it may take you a little while to get into the novel.. to like the characters. But once you hit that stride, The Opposite of Amber will become a novel that will be hard to put down.