Monday, 21 December 2015

'Silence Is Goldfish' by Annabel Pitcher (*****)

Hello, readers, and Happy Christmas Eve! I’ve really been enjoying the Christmas holiday so far, and been getting so much reading done. It’s a great feeling to see my gigantic TBR pile shrinking- it seems as if every winter I get so many amazing books sent to me from publishing companies, which means loads to read on chilly Christmas nights. 

I was lucky enough to see Annabel Pitcher speak at the World Book Night flagship event in London earlier this year, but (shock horror) I've never read any of her books. I have heard so many great things about her other two books but I've just never got around to reading them- so when I got given a proof copy of her brand new book Silence Is Goldfish at YALC I was so happy I would finally get around to reading one of her books!

I was given an ARC of Silence Is Goldfish by Orion in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Read the blurb to find out more...

My name is Tess Turner - at least, that's what I've always been told.

I have a voice but it isn't mine. It used to say things so I'd fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn't. It lied.

It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren't the lies: it was six hundred and seventeen words of truth that turned my world upside down.

Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them.

I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.

Tessie-T has never really felt she fitted in and after what she read that night on her father's blog she knows for certain that she never will. How she deals with her discovery makes an entirely riveting, heart-breaking story told through Tess's eyes as she tries to find her place in the world.

I loved the premise of this book. Coming-of-age novels make some of the best YA out there- but often they can be cheesy and not very believable. However, in the very first chapter Pitcher blew this straight out the water- a girl who has just discovered a life-changing secret runs away, then by the end of the chapter, gets a taxi back to her own front door. The one thing I automatically noticed upon picking up this book was how well Pitcher treated adolescence, and the thorny problems it throws up. The narration was perfect and the writing style beautifully and carefully crafted. When I read some reviews online a few people didn't wholly like the character Tess but I absolutely loved her- she was funny, quirky, relatable- everything you could want in a coming-of-age novel.

I've never read anything before where the protagonist actually stops speaking. It was such a fascinating twist on the novel, and Pitcher managed to perfectly encapsulate Tess' reactions to everything going on in the story- all whilst eradicating her ability to voice these thoughts out loud. The story touched on so many issues including family, mental illness, bullying and body image. I haven't read a lot of books with a 'bigger' protagonist (or, not when this aspect is especially mentioned) and this was such an empowering element of the novel. The other characters in a book were so carefully crafted and interesting to read about; they were so believable and it was enthralling to read about how they all fit into Tess' life. Isabel, Henry, Tess' gran and Mr. Goldfish were standout characters for me. They were all witty, believable and compelling people (and fish) who fit into the story perfectly. And obviously, I loved the setting of the book in Manchester, as that is now my new home! 

Altogether, I absolutely loved Silence Is Goldfish, and it has made me want to run over to the nearest bookshop and pick up Pitcher's other two novels. I completely get why so many people regard Annabel Pitcher as one of the best YA novelists out there. Have you read My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece or Ketchup Clouds? Let me know!

Buy Silence Is Goldfish here:

Check out Annabel Pitcher here:

Merry Christmas everyone! And until next time :) 

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