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5 Stars Out Of 5
Who is the "Silent"?
January 26, 2012
The Silent by Rebecca Kenney is an excellent book which both young adults and adults will appreciate. I really enjoyed this book. Its focus is on the Christian teenager and some of the struggles they have in life. It deals with issues such as teen relationships with girlfriends, boyfriends, siblings, parents, grandparents and teachers. It covers school violence, computer email threats, and hacking.
Nikki is a seventeen year old who is a Christian trying to survive in a secular school. Her desire is to go to a Christian college but her grandmother wants her to go to an "upstanding university". Her grandmother threatens Nikki by saying she won't give her money for college if she decides to go to a Christian college. Her father is a Christian and her mother isn't a Christian which adds to their troubling marriage. Plus her older brother is struggling with who he is and finding his niche in society.
When her teachers and the principal start getting threatening emails, the police decide to use Nikki to find out the senders identity. She decides to keep a digital diary on her computer to keep track of everything she notices. The "Silent" is a person who seems to be normal on the outside but a raging volcano in the inside. Who is the "Silent"? You will have to read the book to find out the answer to this question.
This unbiased review was based on an electronic copy of the book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.
"Someone has made threats against my schoolâ€”against my teachers and my classmates. No one knows who it is, but we have to find out before it's too late. Before the Silent comes out of hiding."
The Silent is a short but compelling Young Adult read, centred around Mourning High School, in the small two of Mourning, Vermont, a â€˜spiritual Dead Zone'. High school Senior Nikki Altemann is asked to keep her eyes and ears open for anything out of the ordinary after an email is sent to several teachers at her school, threatening to kill the sheeple - those people who act like sheep, with no will of their own. The police fear the threat is from a â€˜Silent', a person who escapes notice by acting normal, when inside they are far from it.
Most of the story is told in the first person, by Nikki, in the form of extracts from her diary. But there are also third person point of view, from characters like the school principal (Principal Rudie) and the detective in charge of the case (Kate Daulton). As the primary narrator, Nikki, has plenty of teenage humour and flashes of wisdom beyond her years: "In that moment, I think I got a better picture of what it was like for Christ to live on earth before His death. I have always pictured Him as being sad and solemn most of the time, and now I understand why. It's because He saw and heard and carried more of other people's pain than anybody else ever could." There were also a few examples of how life has changed since I was at High School - students with individual email accounts, and a suggestion that if you don't have a Bible, you can read it online.
While Mourning is a town with a small population of Christians, those that exist are pleasingly well-adjusted. They don't have all the answers, but do their best to give Godly advice (although one of the minor Christian characters specialises in those Christian platitudes that teenagers and non-Christians loathe with good reason).
Although few teens will ever have to go through all the situations Nikki faced in The Silent, many of them will face some of those events, and even though Nikki's own life is far from perfect, she provides teens with a solid example of life in the real world. While not all will care to read a story of this intensity, many teens will find it relevant and illuminating. I enjoy suspense, and this novel had plenty of it, tightly packed into a well-written short novel. I really enjoyed it, and would like to see more of Nikki (there were several plot points that were not wrapped up, and could well lead into a series).
Now, it may be that The Silent is actually not this good. But bear in mind that the last YA books I read were the Twilight series, and I found Bella to be a most unappealing and self-centred heroine. If you loved Twilight, then I suggest this is not the book for you. But if you loathed the whining Bella as much as I did, then I think you will like and admire Nikki, who grows as a person and as a Christian as she undertakes her clandestine assignment.
Thanks to JourneyForth Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Nikki Altemann goes to Mourning High School one day to find police at the school. The teachers have received several threatening emails that are being taken seriously. Who would do such a thing? A local detective asks Nikki the same thing. Nikki has no idea, but she agrees to keep her eyes and ears open for clues to who might be the person behind the threats.But being a secret detective is taking its toll on Nikki. Her best friend knows shes keeping a secret and doesnt like being left out. And Nikkis home life is falling apart. I Will she be able to hold it all together in time to save her school from attack?This was a suspenseful and enjoyable story. I instantly connected with Nikkis world. Shes a girl who tries to be a good friend and daughter and do well in school, but sometimes its too hard to make everyone happy. Nikki struggles to know where to draw the line on when getting involved in other peoples lives. I really liked how Nikki realized shed never really seen so many people at her school before because she was so wrapped up in her own world. This is a fun mystery that inspired me to pay closer attention to people. Highly recommended.