Friday, 27 June 2014

Louder Than Words, Laura Jarratt

Pages: 403
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: 5th June 2014
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Skin Deep, By Any Other Name

Words on a page...
          They’re beautiful, powerful.

Words in my mouth...
          They don’t work.

They choke up inside me and won’t come out.

My pen has a freedom my mouth has never had. The last person I spoke to was my brother, Silas, and I was six. Since then, not a word. Silas says he’d give anything to hear me speak again.

Now I sit here and think the same about him.

A moving and heartwarming novel from the award-nominated author of Skin Deep and By Any Other Name.

I’m a big fan of Laura Jarratt’s novels; they’re warm and life-affirming and beautifully written, and while Louder Than Words is all of those things too, it didn’t quite hit the same notes for me as her others did.

Louder Than Words has an unexpected political edge to it. Rafi’s brother Silas becomes heavily involved in an anarchist group called ActionX who go to protests and start riots and horrible things like that. I have to admit that Lara and Dillon’s preaching on the subject made me uncomfortable. Though their ideals started in a good place, they ended up doing more harm than good – they were blinded to what they were actually doing. I honestly think that this storyline is what put me off the novel slightly as I loved the characters.

Silas is that brilliant older brother character. He loves his little sister dearly, gets involved in her life, sticks up for her friends, accidentally breaks girls hearts because they always like him more than he does and has issues with the rest of his family. It was really nice to get to know him more thoroughly through his unsent emails to his dad. Josie is adorably brash and bold and brave, and has a heart of gold. Those she could have so easily been annoying, I found her tendency to waffle endearing. Then we have Rafi, the star of the show. I love how much of her personality came through without her speaking. The snippets from Rafi’s collections of truths was really eye opening and shed a lot of light on her character and why she became a progressive mute.

Progressive mutism is something I have never come across in a YA novel before. I read about a child with selection mutism in a Torey Hayden memoir before, but Rafi’s experience was completely different. She hadn’t spoken a single word in eight years. I think that it’s still a condition shrouded in mystery, but Jarratt put Rafi’s struggles across sensitively and powerfully.

There are so many wonderful things about Louder Than Words and I strongly suggest you pick it up. I guess I just have issues with politics!

Thanks to Electric Monkey for the review copy.


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