Reviewed by Kat
TITLE: Louder Than Words
AUTHOR: Siryn Sueng
PUBLISHER: Deep Desires Press
LENGTH: (18,000 words/250 KB)
RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2017
Derrek is a local teacher in Clearwater, Florida. He frequents a nearby coffee shop before work every morning, where he finds himself enraptured with a young barista, Alex. But Alex never seems to notice him, even when he’s handing Derrek his morning coffee. After weeks of hiding in his corner under the pretense of working, Derrek finally gains enough courage to ask Alex on a date. He’s crushed when all he gets for an answer is complete silence. He thinks it’s the end, until he finds out that Alex has a disability that has paralyzed his vocal cords. Sign language is Alex’s way of communication, and it’s something that Derrek knows little to nothing about. With renewed determination, Derrek asks Alex to teach him sign language. Derrek wants to be able to talk to Alex, to tell him how he really feels, and find out if Alex feels the same. But more than anything, he longs for a relationship that goes deeper than just words alone. Louder Than Words is an 18,000-word novella.
I was looking forward to this book after reading the blurb. Unfortunately it fell really short for me.
Derrek is a physics teacher at Clearwater Academy. He has been cautiously “stalking” a young barista at the local Starbucks. One day he finally works up enough courage to tell the young man that he thinks he is “really kind of hot” and asks him out to dinner. When the barista just stares at him and says absolutely nothing he quickly loads up his things and exits the coffee shop in horror and humiliation. When Bryant, Derrek’s fellow teacher and friend since high school, makes him go back to the coffee shop he suddenly discovers why the man didn’t talk to him…he’s mute. He convinces the barista, Alex, to teach him sign language so they can get to know each other.
One of the things that drew me to this book was that it was mentioned that it was based in Clearwater, Florida. I love that area and was looking forward to revisiting it in this book. If not for the casual mention of the men doing their sign language lessons in Coachman Park I would have never figured it out that they were there. Clearwater is so beautiful, with so much to offer, so I was disappointed we didn’t get more of the local scenery and flair. As it was, it was like any other town with a private school and a Starbucks in it.
This story is told completely from Derrek’s point of view, so we never get to know what is going on in Alex’s thoughts. Since Alex is mute I struggled to get to connect with him because he wasn’t very well expressed much in the book . I didn’t feel like we got much of who is was, what originally caused his disability, and what his thoughts were. I wanted to know why he chose his fashion style, how he was going to pursue his career dreams and what was Derrek and Alex’s future.
My biggest problem with this story was that is seems a bit disjointed at times and then it suddenly ended with no true resolutions or conclusion. The conflict with the new barista, Kevin, was just added to cause some kind of trouble between Alex and Derrek but I thought just bogged down the story. Then, when I turned the page and the story was just finished I was surprised. I looked to see if this was book one of a series. I find no suggestion of that, which was unfortunate. I really liked the premise of the story but it just fell really short for me and and the story felt very incomplete and unfinished.