Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Sound of Silence
AUTHOR: Mia Kerick & Raine O’Tierney
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
LENGTH: 214 Pages
RELEASE DATE: January 23, 2018
High school senior Renzy Callen hasn’t uttered a word in years. He likes being invisible to all around him; it keeps life safe and predictable. In his attic bedroom, he experiences a world far from the drama of his family. He doodles, listens to music, and contemplates the troubled souls he observes when attending self-help meetings designed for people with problems he doesn’t have. Renzy lives his life like a spectator, always on the outside of life’s games, looking in at others.
Everything changes when Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox relocate from their glitzy lives in Paris to boring, picturesque Redcliff Hills, Missouri. Tall, platinum blond, and as put-together as a pair of European high-fashion models, the sophisticated siblings befriend Renzy, drawing him in and then pushing him away. What starts as nothing more than a means to an end for Seven, however, quickly becomes something more. Could icy-hearted Seven be thawing for the silent, quirky charm of Renzy Callen?
Determined to find the cause of Renzy’s selective mutism, the three teens set off on a road trip, during which they discover that flawless physical facades can conceal the most scarred souls, and that sometimes silence is better than golden.
I was invested in this story so quickly that I couldn’t believe it when I looked down to the bottom of the page and saw that I was only 20% of the way into the book. Right from the first page there is a question mark drawn over Renzy’s family. It’s obvious that something isn’t right there, but the authors skillfully tease out that mystery for a long while, tossing breadcrumbs at our feet along the path to answers. Combined with that puzzle is the question of why Renzy doesn’t speak, and together these secrets form the perfect backdrop to what is an extremely thought provoking, character driven, young adult tale.
Usually when I read a book I’ll have a favourite character, but in this story, I just couldn’t choose one. At first I thought Seven was a bit of a douchecanoe. He has an arrogant, elitist attitude that makes him seem much older than his eighteen years. He’s very “European”. But the way he loves his sister, Morning, is absolutely beautiful. His whole life is about helping her recover after she was raped, and once Renzy is drawn into their lives as Morning’s friend, Seven directs some of his savior tendencies towards him too. Seven is pushy, and sly, and sometimes manipulative – but he always wants what’s best for Morning and Renzy. Despite being the “leader”, Seven is actually the least strong character of the trio, because his strength is dependent on others.
Renzy is just straight up easy to love. I haven’t read any other young adult stories by Raine O’Tierney, but Renzy feels like a Mia Kerick character. Unlike Seven, Renzy doesn’t need anyone else to make him strong, he’s one of the strongest, bravest characters that I’ve read in a while. Renzy is strong enough and brave enough to simply be happy. He doesn’t talk, and he doesn’t want to. People see him as broken and ignore him, but he doesn’t see the need to open his mouth and vocalize words when there are so many better ways to communicate with people. He wants to know why he stopped talking because he’s curious, and he knows that it’s important to Seven, but while he’s interested in the answers he doesn’t think he needs to be fixed. Because he’s the way he’s meant to be.
The third member of their trio, Morning, is just as present as Renzy and Seven. While she may not be a part of the “romance” she’s an important player in the relationship between her brother and her friend. Morning loves her brother just as much as he loves her. I absolutely adored the relationship that these siblings shared and I loved the combination of fragile flower and sassy diva that made up Morning’s character.
As for the plot itself, the mystery of Renzy’s mutism and the family secret that rivals any Desperate Housewives conspiracy, it kept me guessing until the end! I thought I had it all figured out, but then it threw a curve ball that left me gasping – no freakin’ way! I love a twist that comes out of nowhere but still makes perfect sense.
I’ve enjoyed Raine O’Tierney’s adult books before, and I’ve always said that Mia Kerick is a star of young adult stories, but together these authors have created what is surely going to be one of my favourite books this year. I know – it’s only January – but I think it’s a pretty safe call to make. I know that some readers avoid young adult because they don’t care for all of the teenage drama, but Seven and Renzy are eighteen and nineteen, and not like most teenagers. Aside from the lack of on page sex scenes, this story is quite different from the usual teenaged character romances, and I feel confident recommending Sound of Silence to everyone.