Title: Louder Than Words
Author: Laurie Plissner
Genre/Audience: Young adult
Publication: Merit Press, 2012
Source: For review
17 year old Sasha has not been able to speak in over 4 years, since her parents and sister were killed in a car accident that left her alive but traumatized, and suffering from hysterical mutism. She also has almost no memory of her past. Living with her aunt and uncle, Sasha uses a robotic talkie box to “speak,” and has been seeking counseling and treatment but with little to no success. She fears she will never speak again, or lead a normal life… until she meets Ben. Ben can read minds, and the two hold “conversations,” where he reads her thoughts, and responds to them. As she falls in love with Ben, she begins to feel almost normal again, but Ben begins to pull away, as he feels he is hindering her from progressing and getting better. Determined to get Ben back, Sasha begins to unravel the mysteries of the past, the accident, and her mind, and is shocked to discover the answers to the questions she’s been searching for.
This was a great novel. I was very intrigued by the mysteries of Sasha’s past, her mutism, which she struggled with greatly, and the magical side of Ben, who was a mind reader, but otherwise completely normal. While this book is considered to be magical realism, the magical aspect was blended in so seamlessly to the realism aspect, that I never found any of what I was reading to be different or unusual, even though it obviously was! For example, Ben and Sasha’s conversations… he would read her thoughts, then respond to them verbally… even though to most people it looked like a one-sided conversation, it didn’t faze me at all. The two just had such a bond and great chemistry that their relationship just seemed completely normal.
I also enjoyed that this book had kind of a dark feeling to it. While the car crash has always been considered an accident due to slippery roads, Sasha soon discovers that not all is as it seems in that regard. When she decides to visit the site of the crash, she finds tulips accompanied by strange poems that make the author of said poems look very guilty of a crime. Sasha is determined to find out what really happened that night, in hopes of finally recovering her voice and memories. This is all very exciting and mysterious and I found myself really rooting for Sasha. Even though this book has some magical aspects to it, it felt like a mostly contemporary read. I’d highly recommend it to all fans of YA, because it manages to feel both real and magical, and contains both mystery and romance.
My Rating: 4/5