I seem to have chosen a number of titles that relate to young women with no voice, not physically, but after suffering some form of unimaginable trauma they choose not to speak. . . . Am I trying to tell myself something?
Speak – a YA classic from 1999 details the first year at high school for Melinda. Our heroine is isolated from her peers, she doesn’t engage or communicate with her family or school community, but can’t hide her pain at being excluded. Her exclusion and her choice to cease speaking is something she also finds comfort in, it is her self inflicted coping mechanism.
Until Friday Night – the first in a connected series from Abbi Glines. Maggie has suffered terrible trauma and doesn’t speak. West, the school jock, is suffering but hasn’t told anyone. When their worlds collide and they fall ( predictably ) in love, They find each others voice and discover their own inner strength.
The difference in the quality of writing between the two is marked, Speak is a beautifully written piece, whilst written for a young adult audience any lover of quality fiction could read and enjoy it. Until Friday Night is stylistically a little simple and left me wanting more depth of story and character development. Having said that both titles would work well for teens who need to grow their self confidence and coping skills, the slow healing process in both novels is honest and compelling, readers will want to cheer out loud for both heroines.