When love turns to jealousy, when jealousy turns to rage, when rage turns to destruction…
Laura was head over heels in love with Joe. But now Laura lies in a coma and Joe has gone missing. Was he the one who attacked her?
Laura’s sister Tessie is selectively mute. She can’t talk but she can listen. And as people tell her their secrets, she thinks she’s getting close to understanding what happened on that fateful night.
What’s it about?
The book begins with Laura and Joe, a couple. They are both drunk and Joe decides to take Laura on a motorbike to a meadow near the viaduct. Laura becomes uncomfortable with this and tries to get away, but Joe doesn’t follow… then suddenly she is attacked, putting her into a coma. Who attacked her? Everyone seems to suspect Joe…
The story was told from the perspective of Tessie, a teenager who suffers from SM (Selective Mutism). She can’t talk to anyone outside of her ‘safe spaces’, which include her home and her best friend’s bedroom, and the door must be shut tight (PROPER SHUT, as Tessie calls it). Even then she will only speak to those who are most important to her – her family, her best friend, and her therapist. The fact that she cannot speak to anyone means that everyone seems to trust her with their secrets. We are introduced to a character called Ellie who seems to have a connection – and contact – with Joe, who is the main suspect in the investigation, and Tessie discovers secrets that seem to piece together what happened on the night Laura was attacked.
What did I think?
I was excited to get my hands on a copy of this book to review because the synopsis sounded right up my street. I found this book to be a great combination of crime thriller and YA. It wasn’t as dark as some crime thrillers I’ve read but it still had some elements of the genre that kept the mystery and suspense.
It was interesting to read the story from the point of view of Tessie, mainly because I’ve never read a book in which the narrator suffers from Selective Mutism. I did wonder for a lot of the book how old she was because to me, it wasn’t very clear. I thought she was very young because of the way she thought about things; she seemed very naive and questioned everything. I imagined her to be about 11 but later on we discover she is in Year 11, so she must be about 15. This wasn’t very important though and it didn’t affect the story in any way.
One thing that did bug me A LOT though was the way that both Laura and Tessie – especially Tessie – followed boys every step and forgave everything bad they did without considering how bad they really are or any consequences their choices may have. Their love for these boys seems to make them blind to any stupid things they did. For example, Tessie meets a boy called Billy and she really likes him. There was something about this character that I didn’t like right from his introduction, but Tessie adored him. Later on (I won’t give any spoilers) he did some things that made him become the most unlikeable character, but Tessie STILL decided to forgive him. It was like “oh he’s bad but I like him a lot so oh well, it doesn’t matter”. Laura was the same too with Joe, although nowhere near as bad.
That aside, the story was really enjoyable. I guessed the outcome of the mystery about half-way through the book but it still didn’t make the big reveal any less shocking. It was the kind of book where the last few chapters feel like you’ve read them in 4 minutes because the whole story ties together so quickly, almost leaving you exhausted by the end because there was so much to take in.
Overall I really liked this book. The crime mystery elements were intriguing, the story flowed very well and pieced together the mystery bit-by-bit, and the perspective of someone with SM was very interesting to read.
About the Author
Faye writes fiction for young adults. Before becoming a writer she worked as a literary agent representing screenwriters in film and TV. She studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University, but has otherwise always lived in London, and still does now. Her second novel, What I Couldn’t Tell You, will be published on 1 May 2016.