8 Reasons to Read What I Couldn't Tell You | Blog Tour

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a blog tour. *cue thunder, lightning and cannon blast as I hold my hands up in triumph* I received a copy of this book for free from Faye Rogers PR in exchange for my honest opinion on it.

The absolutely awesome book in question is What I Couldn't Tell You by Faye Bird (the lovely human pictured on the right), who you can follow on Twitter or visit at her author website.

Here's a (wickedly, brilliantly tense) blurb for you:

When love turns to jealousy, when jealousy turns to rage, when rage turns to destruction...
Laura was head over heels in love with Joe. But now Laura lies in a coma and Joe has gone missing. Was he the one who attacked her?
Laura's sister Tessie is selectively mute. She can't talk but she can listen. And as people tell her their secrets, she thinks she's getting close to understanding what happened on that fateful night.
Now, I could give you a traditional review. I could just ramble on about how generally awesome the book was and hope you got the message. But wouldn't that be a tad boring? Instead, I'm going to list all the reasons why What I Couldn't Tell You is amazing and you have to read it - there are a lot, so bear with me. If you're the kind of person that prefers the classics, I've got a little mini-review at the end, along with a star rating. So hopefully everyone will be happy?
  • The amazing main character. Tessie is such a complex character, and I was kind of worried when I started this book that a heroine who didn't speak (unless it was to her closest family and the door was PROPER SHUT) would seem kind of one-dimensional in her shyness. But she didn't! Huzzah! She's loyal and kind and hates how she ends up hurting people by not talking to them . . . it was just such a relief to see her written so well.
  • The amazing main character's amazingly, realistically messed up family. You could say that Tessie's family have some issues. Laura used to hold them together, and now she's in a coma their Dad - who's away on business a lot - is the only one who knows how to deal with Mum's bad days and everything else that's going on. Tessie and Jake (her older brother) have a really nice, understanding relationship, but they don't tell each other everything. It was just so refreshing to see that realism, and even just a family in a YA Thriller. I'm so used to seeing parents and siblings dead, removed or non-existent that this almost hit me round the face with its brilliance.
  • Selective Mutism just isn't talked about enough, pretty much ever, and this book showed me what life with it could be like in such a real, important way. Before What I Couldn't Tell You, the only character with SM I'd ever seen in popular culture was Raj from The Big Bang Theory, and his inability to talk to women is pretty much ridiculed throughout the entire show. (I do love Big Bang, but that's an iffy plot point.) It had never really occurred to me that SM could block you from speaking out at injustice, from defending the people you love and even just apologising when it's the only thing you want to do - it's cliché to say so, but I'm really glad this book opened my eyes.
  • There is violence in this book - but it was incredibly well handled. Real enough to pack a punch and to actually feel thrilling, but not so graphic that it distracted from what really mattered: the characters involved and their reactions to it, the way they interacted with each other in the aftermath. I didn't feel sheltered, and honestly I can't see even the most sensitive readers being repulsed; that's a really tricky balance to strike, so any author who can do it really deserves a read, I guess. 
  • MAX! Tessie's best friend was such a cool character for me. a) I genuinely loved his taste in music; reading about it just made me love him as a character, and b) he was an awesome friend to Tessie. His character was important to people reading this book who might have friends with disabilities or illnesses or general trauma going on (not just SM) because he not only showed that it was possible to deal with it, but also that you're going to have bad days and find it difficult sometimes. Both sides of that coin were there to support people, and it made my heart sing just a tiny bit. 
  • I absolutely promise you that you will not see the ending coming even when it's pretty much in your face. Its last chapter was what really made it a thriller. I really, truly want to say more, but you know. Spoilers.
  • You know that moment when you finish a book, and just have to sit there to exhale for a minute? As if giving it that breath is the only thing that you can do to recognise how well crafted it was? I distinctly remember doing this after What I Couldn't Tell You, and it took so long that my parents had to come and find me to work out why I wasn't following them out of the car. And I guess that must mean it was good.
Okay then, post done! Hope you enjoye-

What's that? I promised you a mini-review? Are you sure? *scrolls up* Oh yeah, I kind of did ... Well, if you insist:

Mini Review

From reading the premise of What I Couldn't Tell You, I was super excited to read it. It sounded tense and psychological and representative of Selective Mutism, something I'd never read about before. Which it was. It was all these things turned up to eleven. But the first part, which was about Laura and Joe, felt really ssllooww. I JUST COULDN'T WAIT TO MEET TESSIE.

Then I met Tessie and all the awesome things listed above happened. (I would list them, but you've already read them in this very post, so that list would be a bit pointless.) It must be a little bad of me to really enjoy when books get messy, when families are kind of dysfunctional and people in positions of authority don't deal with issues properly and romantic relationships have crazy ups and downs. I know it's horrible for the main character - and I always want stuff to work out for them in the end - but I guess there's a part of me that just finds that conflict really interesting?

There was a particular element of the romance that I didn't like, but I'm going to have to put it in spoiler tags. If you don't want to be spoiled, all I'm going to say was it felt a bit insta-lovey? But that problem could well be me and not the book. Judging by some of the plot arcs, the author might actually have written it to make me feel specifically like this.

[Highlight for spoiler] Okay, so I was by no means Billy's biggest fan. He kept saying he understood Tessie's SM and then lashing out when she didn't talk to him ... I know it must have been frustrating, but I don't feel like that's an excuse, not when pretty much everyone else who cared about her seemed to be able to handle it. He was unpredictable, and whatever good intentions he claimed to have, I constantly fretted for Tessie when she was around him. And maybe that was the point? Because it definitely added to the tension and darkness.

I was also 100% Team Max (or at the very least Team Tessie-Doesn't-Have-To-Choose-Either-Of-Them) and I honestly don't think that helped. [End of Spoiler]

Woah, I guess I had a lot a spoilery feelings there!
Anyway, I hope you guys end up reading this book. It's a really well-judged thriller, does an amazing job of delving into people's emotions, what breaks them and what they do about it, and is just generally worth reading, for the SM representation if nothing else. Also, make sure you have a look at the blogs in the sidebar image above and check out their tour posts too, because someone's probably done a way better job than me at explaining how they feel about it.

In the comments: Do you fancy reading What I Couldn't Tell You? Why or why not? If you already have, what do you think? (And please try your absolute best to stay spoiler free for everyone else!)
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