Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Review: Silence by Natasha Preston


219 pages, December 22nd 2013

Goodreads synopsis:

For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world. 

Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer? 

When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?

2.75 stars

Hmm. Some of this book was really interesting and some of it was just bizarre. I get the premise of the main character not speaking for 11 years, and I get why (if you're wondering why, think of the most obvious reason a girl would stop talking), but I don't get why halfway through the book we suddenly jump into Cole's head. The book is oddly structured; you have oodles of chapters in Oakley's POV and then all of a sudden we switch to Cole's. Jarring.

I didn't buy some of the climactic scenes, either. They seemed less thought out and more tacked-on. Especially the horrible ending which came out of nowhere to the point where I read it twice just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. It left me going:

I have to talk about Cole; he is so perfect as a boyfriend and a boy in general, I think he's every girl's dreamboat. He's so good it's unrealistic. He never pressures Oakley to speak but one might think any healthy person would eventually (I mean 11 YEARS here, people) feel a touch frustrated that the person they're in love with never talks to them. He texts her every night and although she always types a text back, she never hits send. A lot of chapters end with us being told this.

The book has some fairly good writing but needs a good editor. I'm not going to attack the author because this is a self-published novel and it's not terrible, it just needs some cleaning up, better structuring etc. And a revamp of the ending because that ending is just horrible. Just don't bother reading the last chapter, you'll be glad you didn't.

Oakley as a character is likable enough. I think her real strength comes from Cole, though. He is so much a part of her life and pretty much the entire book focuses on her POV of him. The two are very wrapped up in one another, and Cole is her knight in shining armor. There's really no conflict there because they love each other and well, that's it. They're very cute and adorable and it's nice reading about their happy moments together. There's no explicit sex, just a lot of kissing. I mean to say, they do have sex but the author handles it in more of a sweet way than down and dirty. Speaking of the sex, considering the main character's past, I found it a little difficult to accept that she didn't seem to have any problem going to bed with Cole. Yes, she loved him and trusted him, but people who have been abused to the point of not speaking for 11 years would probably have a few more issues with intimacy no matter how much they loved the person. 

They're so connected through the book that the ending (THAT ENDING!) really makes no sense whatsoever. It comes out of left field and feels so out of character for Oakley. 

I think the characters needed more fleshing out, more psychological nuances and so on. 

As it stands the book is about a 2.75 stars for me. There's a lot of good things here but the book is calling out for a good editor and some rewrites.