“In a debut filled with heart and wit, Reilly draws a memorable portrait of a teen struggling with big problems beyond his control . . . this novel traces with remarkable sensitivity how a vulnerable adolescent becomes less absorbed in his own suffering as he reaches out to others.”
A high-interest read for its exploration of complex topics without simple answers.
. . . distinct and authentic voices . . . heartwarming . . . thoughtful . . .
School Library Journal
“Just about any publishing professional will tell you that "voice" is one of the most important — and usually one of the most difficult — elements to capture in writing . . . I am not, nor was I ever, a 17-year-old boy. I do, however, remember being a junior in high school and reading about another 17-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield. Joel Higgins's voice is just as strong as Holden's, but far more contemporary. . . Words We Don't Say was an easy read that packed some hefty punches. It made me cry on two different occasions, definitely a mark of excellence.
NPR Book Review
"Told in fractured vignettes that slowly converge to an emotional conclusion, Joel's story explores themes of death, mental illness, and the effects of trauma on ordinary people-all without settling on definitive answers for why good people must sometimes suffer. Every character feels flawed and real, as do their struggles to find hope amid the horrors in the world. Reilly's book offers readers a work of profound truth that will linger long after a reader finishes the final page."―Booklist
"John Green vibe with its quirky characters and snappy dialogue."
YALSA 2019 Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers Nominee!
Buzz Books 2018: Young Adult Fall/Winter
What She Reads List of The Best YA Books of 2018!
"Easily one of the best books of the year, Words We Don’t Say reads like a modern day Catcher In The Rye."
"My New Year’s Resolution is to put Words We Don’t Say by K.J. Reilly into the hands of every Teenager I know."
Loup City Public Library review
What readers are saying!
"WORDS WE DON'T SAY is joining my limited list of best books ever!"
"My favorite YA book of the year so far!"
“An Evan Hansen vibe . . .”
“Holden Caulfield with a conscience ...”
“Absolutely stunning . . ."
“. . . raw and vivid and incredibly heartbreaking!”
“. . . funny and endearing . . .”
“. . . simply rips your heart in two in all of the best ways!”
“. . . gorgeous and complex!”
"...absolutely PHENOMENAL! Engaging and raw and so unique! I haven't read any other book like this one. So, so fantastic."
“An amazing read . . .”
"The cast of perfectly developed characters stole my heart!"
“I loved this book!”
". . . a gut-wrenching YA novel!"
"Sweet and adorable and heart-rending!"
"... a laugh-out-loud, stream of consciousness style voice!"
"Higgins is a less problematic, modern day Holden Caulfield."
"The rawest and realest depiction of PTSD and anxiety that I have ever read. A must read!"
Find it on Goodreads!
"Not since How I Live Now have I read a novel so well-written in what I like to call first-person panic . . . everyone in high school ought to read it."
"Dramatic, comedic, heart aching and sincere . . . a treasure to read, share and enjoy!"
"Joel made me laugh and cry and think, and that is about as good as a book can get!"
"Words We Don’t Say broke my heart with the awareness it brings to homeless Vets and PTSD"
"Really hard to put down!"
“An amazing coming of age story. . .”
“I think I might secretly be Joel Higgins!”
“Loved the voices!”
"My favorite book of all those I read and reviewed this summer!"
"A must read!"
". . . one of my favorite contemporary novels of the year!"
". . . a beautiful debut novel that I cannot recommend highly enough."
"I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!"
“A terrific YA read!”
“An important book . . .”
"5 incredible stars!"
"This book is laugh-out-loud funny, thoughtfully introspective, and honestly moving. Most of all, this book made me hopeful for the next generation of voices."
STAFF PICK AT THE RIVER'S END BOOKSTORE!!
Thank you Clare!
September to December 2018 Dewey Pick!
Words We Don’t Say is an OCTOBER 2018 ALAN PICK!
ALAN (Assembly of Literature for Adolescents) of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)
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Copyright © 2019 K.J. Reilly - All Rights Reserved.