'I have a voice but it isn't mine. It used to say things so I'd fit in - to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn't. It lied.'
Fifteen-year-old Tess doesn't mean to become mute. At first, she's just too shocked to speak. And who wouldn't be? Discovering your whole life has been a lie because your dad isn't your real father is a pretty big deal. Tess sets out to find the truth of her identity, and uncovers a secret that could ruin multiple lives. But can she ask for help when she's forgotten how to use her voice?
This is an interesting book in that the main character doesn't stop speaking straight after the 'traumactic event' and develops an imaginary friend or a Tulpa I guess. I went into this book basically blind. I must have read the summary of this book where I request it for review and brought it (the cover is really cool) so mostly went on the fact that Annabell Pitcher is award winning writer who has really interesting titled books. I think that worked for this book, but I'm not the person to advocate for that (I intentionally spoil myself all the time to find out if something is worth investing the time in). Still nothing I considered a spoiler is in this review.
Tess is a typical awkward teenager who's relationship with her parents is secretly stained. Major secrets on both sides. There were times where I wanted to shake Tess but I'm certain that was intentional. Tess has bad decision making skills, so generally a realistic teenager. Her relationships with the other characters are complex and the important one all have some form of lie attached to them.
Tess also spends a lot time of arguing and lying to herself in a form of Mr Goldfish. While this done mostly well, there were times where Tess described communication would have been noticeable to the people around her.
I think the silence that Tess develops is done well. That mainly comes from the fact it does develop and immediately after the cause. Its starts with Tess not wanting to say anything for spoiler plot reasons. Then from this she trapped in continuing not to say anything as the book goes on. I have Select Mutism so I have dealt with being unable to talk in awkward situations myself and found Tess emotions and reactions to this to be realistic. Her interaction with teachers (especially one near the end) were very reminiscent to my own. This is definitely the best book I've read so far where the main character is mute for most of the book.
That being said I declared that Main characters that don't talk was going to be a trend and I think I can say safely say it is a trend now so I might keep an on going rank with books that try the whole Selective Mutism experience on for size. I'm going to write why that problematic in another post and not side track this review for a book that does a good job of it to criticize the ones that don't (that being said I found a book that can only be pigging backing on this one). For those unaware of Selective Mutism, this is not nor is it meant to be a portrayal of it. Selective Mutism would come into play if it was long-term issue and she did talk in situations she was comfortable in. Still successfully captures some of the things you experience if have Selective Mutism.
A big part of the book relies on Tess making big leaps and doing stupid stuff. I know people can be blinded by what they want to be true, other realitity but Tess is meant to be a teenager and
often she would have a complete disregard for reality. We have Mr Goldfish to prove that she does see the reality, it just she talks about her fantasy as though they could actually become reality. She also seems to live in a world where no one else has complicated families e.g. step dads. I mean if somehow not in her own life, this stuff is on TV and various other media now.
There was also a bit of a rush to resolve everything in the book. I would have liked more time spent on her friend Isabell. She mostly just a plot device than a character and her ending is bit unsatisfying.
Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Redundant Taxis. This was an interesting book that deals with realistic issues with uncommon ideas. Some parts could have been executed better, but as a whole it was good read with complicated life issues in it.
I have now did a Video Review:
I got this book for review of NetGalley for review (though, I might of brought it before then) and it is published by Orion Children's Books.