Speak No Evil
by Liana Gardner
Vesuvian Books

"At sixteen, some still wear the mask of innocence, while others toss off the mask to glare at the world through experience-weary eyes."

Orphaned, alone, and afraid, Melody Fisher is now facing serious allegations about the stabbing of the local football hero, Troy. She has not spoken in two years but must now attend daily therapy to recover her speech and tell her side of the story or else be tried as guilty. In doing so, she must face all the horrors of her past that she vowed to never speak of. Through her bravery and love of music, she discovers there is so much more to life than her sixteen-year-old self ever knew.

Gardner has created a very powerful novel that depicts the cruelty and injustice of the world while also highlighting the ever-present beauty that few see when struggling with such dark issues. By using the narrative of Melody’s therapy sessions to progress the storyline, Gardner reveals layer upon layer of Melody’s emotional fragmentation. This style reduces a twelve-year timeline into a cohesive and fluid story progression that jumps in and out of the main time focus. Through these flashbacks, readers get to experience a more dynamic story versus a stagnant revelation of events.

The topics covered in this novel are difficult and not readily discussed in person as they are in the novel. The dialogue is extremely graphic, but because of the vulgarity, it shows the extent of the violence and horror Melody goes through, making her tribulations that much more exciting. Without this detail, Melody’s accomplishments would not hold as much weight. The book displays the power that love and music have even in the darkest of times. Gardner does an excellent job of portraying a teenage worldview while focusing on adult concepts.

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