Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter

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Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Ethan chooses not to talk but it doesn't mean he can't make friends in this sweet book about discovering who you really are.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1407135502

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Ethan lives on a canal boat with his parents. It’s an exciting, different life, and if it were mine I’d never stop talking to my friends about it. But Ethan is different, because he doesn’t have friends and he also doesn’t talk. Ever. His parents have got used to this. They ask him questions he can nod or shake his head to. They took him out of school and teach him at home so he doesn’t have to suffer the curious looks and mean words of other kids. They have a nice, simple life, just the three of them, and it’s all ok thank you very much.

Then… along comes Polly. She also lives on a boat, and it’s moored right next to Ethan’s. She’s not like anyone he’s ever met before. She doesn’t think it strange that he doesn’t live in a house, because she doesn’t either, and she doesn’t mind at all that he doesn’t speak. To be honest, it seems like she has enough words for both of them. As Ethan warms to her, and starts showing her his neighbourhood, a funny thing happens. As he takes her round his favourite hangouts, he starts to remember things from the past. Things from before he stopped speaking. Memories that have remained tucked away until now. And they’re not all good. Is there a sinister reason that Ethan stopped speaking? Is everyone in his life who they appear to be? And should he really be asking these questions, because if he starts to remember more, is he in danger of losing the nice, happy life he has once and for all?

This is a really sweet book that younger readers will jump right into. It’s easy to follow but there’s lots going on so it doesn’t get boring. There are some serious issues though, so I think it’s one parents would want to make themselves available for while it’s being read, in case readers want to talk or just need a hug. There are certain parts that would have upset me as a child – what happened to Maisie, and the stories uncovered in the newspaper, for example – so while it’s not overall a sad or traumatic story, it certainly has its moments.

The book seems quite old fashioned in places, not in an out-dated way but more in an of a simpler time one. There is little modern technology to date the story, so I think it will stay popular and relevant for years because the core themes of family, friends and tricky relationships don’t change.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’d like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green and The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf would sit next to this one in the library in my mind, aimed respectively at teens and adults.

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Buy Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter at

Booklists.jpg Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2013.


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