Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher – BOOK REVIEW
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 received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way*
After seeing Annabel at YALC last year (2016), I really wanted to pick up one of her books to read, especially after some great things I heard from other bloggers there. *As if NetGalley read my mind* Silence is Goldfish became available to request and I was delighted to be chosen to review it!
Silence is Goldfish follows 15 year-old Tess as she discovers a secret which has changed her outlook on life. In fact, she’s furious. As a protest, she decides to keep silent and refuses to talk to anyone, only ‘talking’ (projecting her thoughts) to a goldfish torch. I thought this was a very unusual concept for a book and was interested to see how it would be written when the main character doesn’t speak. Because it is told through Tess’s perspective, the story didn’t ‘lose out’ because of the fact she didn’t speak – it worked really well because the reader knew her thoughts, but the other characters didn’t and it was great to see them react to this.
At the start of the novel, when Tess did speak, I felt the book read very similarly to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I have no idea why though! I think it was probably because it was so easy to read, everything came across as fairly simple, black and white. It certainly didn’t read as if Tess was 15 and I think this is what let the book down a little. In some of the situations, she seemed oblivious to things that a 15 year-old would pick up on.
I did, however, like the various aspects to the plot – not only was there the ‘silence’ issue, but also troubles with friendships, parents, teachers and school. I think this is what made the book read at such a good pace because there were multiple things happening at once, and most of these were relatable when I was at high school. I also liked the way it concluded – some aspects were a little predictable but others took me by complete surprise!
In terms of the characters, I had mixed opinions. To me, the Mum seemed forgettable (I only finished this yesterday and already can’t remember her oops) but the Dad on the other hand, although made deliberately annoying, his personality was very unique and memorable, which made me almost love him because I found him funny. As I said before, Tess didn’t come across as a 15 year-old and she seemed very naive and immature in some of the situations, especially in terms of the ‘silence issue’, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I think there was a huge contrast in Tess’ actions and her thoughts and they didn’t quite match up for me.
I did enjoy this book and would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a quick read or something a little bit different to other YA books. It was an interesting concept and covered various topics, even if the characters let it down a little. I know this book has fairly mixed reviews but I would definitely read it if it sounds like your sort of thing – it’s a very easy read! I’m still hoping to read Ketchup Clouds and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece so Annabel Pitcher certainly didn’t disappoint!