Five Favourite Things About What I Couldn’t Tell You
One of the things that really drew me into this story was our main protagonist, Tessie. As she has selective mutism, you really get a feel for her story as she struggles with words and times when she wants to speak but is effectively too afraid too. She is actually an incredibly strong character and I thought she was absolutely brilliant to read about. There were things she did that did make me want to shake her but at the same time, I understood her fears and her pain and just wanted to help make her feel okay about life. Faye Bird has done a brilliant job of creating such a powerful and vibrant character.
Getting parents and family central to a plot in YA can be difficult but in What I Couldn’t Tell You, it surrounds the family unit as the main plot involves Tessie’s sister. I like that the main focus of the book was on family and family relationships, especially when we all deal with our grief in different ways. I thought it was wonderful how it showed that a family can be strong and weak all at the same time and how in times of crisis and happiness, families can often come together in ways that are completely unexpected. I thought it was a wonderful representation of a dysfunctional but functional family.
Another aspect of this book that I loved was how diverse this book was. As well as having a main character with Selective Mutism – and not making this the main focal point of the book! – There was also a character with Depression and the book also covered anxiety and bullying as well. It was brilliant to see all of this included, especially as it is incredibly important to talk about mental health and bullying with teenagers. Definitely made me love this book all the more for the sensitive way it was all talked about too.
As soon as I started reading this book, I had difficulty putting it back down again. And when it was down, I was continuously thinking about it. Not even just the plot and how it kept moving forward and where it was going, but also about what it must be like to not be able to speak when you want to. I loved that Faye Bird really draws you into the story and keeps you turning the page with her addictive writing as you live vicariously through Tessie as she tries to work out what to do to help Laura. It helped to make the book so much more intense and interesting.
When it comes to reading, the ending of a book is generally important and it can certainly make or break a book for me. With thriller titles, the ending is, essentially, even more important. The wrong conclusion, or the wrong scenario could become catastrophic. Fortunately, What I Couldn’t Tell You has a very powerful ending which I really loved. I admitedly did see it coming but it was also shocking in how it was revealed. It definitely brought all of the tension into one place and really brought the reader to their knees. I thought it was wonderfully done, helping to make my overall enjoyment of the book that much higher. This is a truly brilliant book.
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.