A beautiful contemporary with a fantastic portrayal of anxiety and teen romance.
I wrote this review originally back in 2016 after I received my copy, because, a week after reading it, I still couldn’t shut up about it; it was the best YA book I read in 2016 which was a pretty bold statement since I read so many AMAZING books that year, but for a book to have made such an impression it must be pretty special. Before its publication I was already recommending it to customers (I was a bookseller back then!) and over a year later I still recommend this book!
One thing I love is that prior to reading it, I just thought it was a quirky contemporary novel with a teen romance between a girl who is mute and a boy who is deaf. However, whilst that may be the case on the surface (and I’m not disputing how important those storylines are – they add more depth to the book and characterisation), it’s actually an incredible book about anxiety and the ups and downs of growing up and friendship. Back to the original impression of the book being about the love story between Rhys and Steffi, and that alone was an enchanting story. Selective mutism isn’t a thing that I’m new to reading about, but combining that with deafness (something that doesn’t come up often) actually worked brilliantly – Steffi and Rhys find other ways to communicate and express emotions and what they want to say. It was a brilliant way of showing how communication isn’t just about talking, but also about body language and emotion coming across in other ways.
I have never tabbed a book so much with memorable quotes and things that made me laugh and little facts about anxiety that I just want to put in people’s hands and say LOOK! For people with anxiety, this book is perfect to show you that you’re not alone; it’s an illness that can strike anyone, can be totally out of the blue, but it is something that you can survive and it’s okay to have bad days; “Little victories are everything.” There are wonderful people out there who will help you and support you.