Chime by Franny Billingsley

Briony has a secret. It is a secret that killed her stepmother, ruined her sister's mind, and will end her life, if anyone were to know. She has powers. Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and a great mane of tawny hair. He is as natural as the sun, and he treats her as if she is extraordinary. And everything starts to change . . . Chime is a haunting, brilliantly written novel that will stay with you--its magic, its romance, its world like none other.

This is a book like no other. It simply mesmerized me. I adored every aspect of it, every page.

Briony is a girl who carries many burdens. Her sister's care. Her father's care. Even her mother's, when she was sick. Her own worries about whether or not she is a dangerous creature, deserving death. 
And guilt. So much guilt. 
This, above all, is a book about guilt. 
And finding freedom from it.

The paranormal element is not very prominent, it's not the main part of the plot, not in an in-your-face kind of way. It is not exactly about witches, as I thought at first, more about a village where there are some kind of swamp spirits which are generally thought evil, but it turns out... you'll see.
The writing is so beautifully crafted, so lyrical, I actually put the book down more than a couple of times in order to savour a turn of phrase which I found particularly fascinating. 

Briony is an exceptional character. She is smart, and funny in a sarcastic, caustic way that I loved. She is brutally honest with herself and brave. She is also essentially good and selfless, but she doesn't think she is. I never read about a character with those particular traits, and let me tell you, it was really refreshing. 

Then there is Eldric.
I can't say much about him, without starting to gush all over the place. He was just amazing. Their back and forth banter, the way he treated her, the way he rescued her, many times, and in many ways...
And she rescues him right back. 

Everything was really good about this book. The pacing was great, as soon as the story started moving I couldn't put it down.
But most important of all, was what I got when I finished this book. 
The message about being yourself, about loving yourself and forgiving yourself.
About accepting who you are and learning to do what you can with what you've got. 
About love.
Not the romantic kind. The real kind. The rescuing kind.
The saving-your-life kind.

About love turning your life around completely. 

I wish every teen out there would read and understand this book. 
And the adults, too.

Rating: 5/5

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