Louder Than Words by Laurie Plissner
Merit Press, December 18, 2012
Read for 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
Since the snowy night when her family's car slammed into a tree, killing her parents and little sister, Sasha has been unable to speak except through a computer with a robotic voice. Nothing is wrong with her body; that's healed. But, after four years, Sasha's memory, and her spirit, are still broken. Then one day, she's silently cussing out the heavy book she dropped at the library when a gorgeous, dark-haired boy, the kind of boy who considers Sasha a freak or at least invisible, "answers" Sasha's hidden thoughts -- out loud. Yes, Ben can read minds; it's no big deal. He's part of a family with a host of unusual, almost-but-not-quite-supernatural talents. Through Ben's love, Sasha makes greater progress than she has with a host of therapists and a prominent psychiatrist. With him to defend her, bullies keep the world from ever understanding Sasha, he pulls away. Determined to win him and prove her courage by facing her past, Sasha confronts her past -- only to learn that her family's death was no accident and that a similar fate may wait for her, in the unlikeliest of disguises.I was really surprised by the layers in this novel. I was expecting a teen unable to talk. I was expecting said teen to meet a boy who can hear her thoughts. I was not expecting all the sexytimes, and I was not expecting the novel to twist and turn the way it did. I'm not even sure how to classify this novel--it's a psychological thriller, it's a romance, it's a mystery--but I do know that I enjoyed it. The storyline sucks you right in--what is Sasha repressing that has prevented her from speaking for four years? Will she ever speak again? Was the accident that killed her family really an accident? If not, who hated the family that much? And then toss sexy, magical-mind-reader Ben into the mix. (While not overly explicit, there's enough talk of sex, and an almost-rape scene, that I would recommend this for older and more mature teens.)
And I have to say that I adored Sasha's aunt and uncle, Charlotte and Stuart. Though they had planned to remain childless because of the demands of their lawyer professions, there was no hesitation when Sasha's family was destroyed. Not once did this couple make Sasha feel anything less than absolutely loved. I found that strong bond between teen and parent figures to be so refreshing--it's not something you see often in YA literature, but it's so sweet when you do.
This is a great debut novel and a standalone that is perfect for those who are looking to read something out of the box. It's such a pleasant treat to stumble upon a novel that isn't like anything else out there!
This is the first of three books that I agreed to review from Merit Press books, a new YA imprint headed by Jacqueline Mitchard, and based on this work, I think Merit Press is off to a strong start.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Enjoy your reading!