Wednesday, 17 June 2015

LBOY2015 Shortlist Review #1: Louder Than Words by Laura Jarratt

'Louder Than Words' by Laura Jarratt
Review by Christopher Moore

Rafi hasn't spoken for eight years. It's up to her to tell her brother's story now that he can't speak either ...

Rafi idolises her seventeen-year-old brother, who is popular, generous and a borderline genius. Ever protective, Silas always includes her when he's with his friends, so Rafi gets to hear all sorts of things that younger sisters wouldn't normally be a part of. Like the time Silas hacks a gaming site to help out his friend Josie, who has been trashed by her ex.

With Josie, Rafi finds herself with a proper friend for the first time in her life. As they grow closer, she realises that she wants to find a way back into the world – she wants to learn to speak again. But Silas has found a new interest too – and it’s taking him away from everything that was once important to him. Can Rafi find the words to save her brother?
I absolutely loved this book. Rafi is a sensational narrator and character, chronicling her story poignantly as she communicates with her brother and Josie through text and hand gestures. Josie, too, is a fantastic, optimistic character that lifts Rafi up whenever she falls and stands by her friend.
The story is not one of romance but more an emotional recounting of Rafi's brother and their relationship and the rift that slowly starts to separate her from everything she cherishes. But she has Josie and through Josie, she finds her voice in ways she never could have hoped. Josie buys her a phone so that they can communicate and teaches Rafi that she's good enough as she is; that she's special and the right guy will like her for her; that she's more special than even she realises.
Jarratt educates the reader about Rafi's progressive mutism (and of selective mutism). She imbues her characters with qualities and personalities that readers will love; allowing anyone who picks up the book to establish an immediate and strong emphatic connection to Rafi.
I selected this book to review for the Lancashire book of the year award. It is not a book I would have picked off a book shelf. I'm glad I did though as the writing blew me away. The plot is strong but it's largely character-driven and th and it's Rafi (and Josie) that draw you in; it's Rafi's remarkable voice that kept me reading late at night and almost made me late for work more than once.
It's an emotional, psychological story of a friendship where Rafi doesn't speak at all and Josie speaks too much. It's the story of a brother and sister; the sibling highs and lows. It's everything you want in a summer read. Read it by the beach, in the park, by the pool or on the train. It will grip you, make your heart pound in your chest. You'll feel Rafi's pain, her fear, like a physical cut.
And one of my favourite quotes: "Don't change yourself for another person."
 Rating: 5/5 Stars  ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Christopher Moore:
Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-four year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.


Follow Christopher on Twitter: @YAblooker
Find Christopher on Goodreads: Christopher Moore


No comments:

Post a Comment