Monday, January 14, 2019

Words We Don’t Say by K.J. Reilly - OPTIONAL

Words We Don’t Say by K.J. Reilly, 274 pages.  Hyperion (Disney Book Group), 2018. $17.99

Language: R (185 swears, 69 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13



Joel is alone in life—except for his parents, his little brother, the new kid who doesn’t know how to not say what he’s thinking, the principal of the school, the girl he likes, the homeless people he serves food to at the soup kitchen, the rest of the school, and a bunch of other people on the planet. So, pretty much, he’s not alone. But Joel doesn’t feel like he can always say what he needs to even when he finds a gun and the consequences become bigger than anything he thought might happen.

As I read, the story felt like Joel was narrating his life without purpose beyond his occasional interjection that an event mentioned was a mistake because of what would happen later. While I was often amused by some of Joel’s inner commentary, the story continued to meander through the entire book, even at the climax. Reflecting back on the story, I like the theme that Reilly brings out about how we often don’t say something because of fear but it’s better to take the risk; I just think that the story told to bring out that theme is slow.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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