The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll
|The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Dark in places, but ultimately uplifting, this is a good story about having confidence and speaking up to those who put you down, perfect for tweens.|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: May 2019|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK|
|External links: Author's website|
Lucy is living in a beautiful, expensive house along with her joking, playful dad and her lovely mum. Everything should be perfect. Her dad is a property investor, making millions, and she and her mum don't lack for anything in their lives. But still, Lucy lives her life on edge, controlled by the words around her, whether they are spoken, or unspoken. You see, her dad is a bully, edging closer and closer towards physically abusing her mum, and Lucy is manipulated by him, unable to express her true feelings, or fully develop her artistic side which is where she feels her talents lie but her dad says won't ever lead to her having a successful life.
Lucy's friend Megan is also suffering abuse from a bully, but this time the bully is another girl at school who is making sly comments about Megan. Lucy tries to encourage Megan to find her own voice and stand up to this girl, whilst being aware that she isn't following this advice with her dad. There are a lot of secrets, both hidden by Lucy and hidden from Lucy. There are all the secrets her dad is trying to hide from everyone, with the way deals are collapsing around him and the illegal money handling that's going on, then her mum seems to be hiding something from Lucy too. There's the mysterious neighbour next-door whose life is shrouded with secrecy, then there's Megan's blog, where she gets to live out secret fantasies and share other secrets. Lucy also has a secret attic space, covered in art that she's made, giving her a refuge to go to whenever her parents start to fight.
The different aspects of the story work well together, so there is the mystery of Lucy's neighbour and the secret parcels that Lucy leaves for her. There's also the rather more unsettling mystery of her dad's dodgy dealings, with the suspense of what will happen if he finds out that Lucy has got involved. I liked the different layers to the book, and the sense of the danger that Lucy is placing herself into as she investigates the goings on on her street. As a mum, I confess I did feel some concerns about some of the methods Lucy employs in her investigations, but I put those to one side for the adventure factor to the story!
I really loved the descriptions of some of Lucy's pieces of art. It made me wish that the book was illustrated, though perhaps any real images wouldn't have captured the wonders I was imagining in my head as I read. The descriptions are great, and the characters are really well created. Lucy's dad manages to be both a terrifying villain and yet also just a flawed human being, whilst the bully is utterly dreadful and yet also, just another struggling young girl. And I really liked the suggestions throughout the story of the strength of words, and the dangers of silence.
This is a really good, powerful story, with important messages at its heart about confidence, and abuse, yet it manages to deliver these without being so dark as to be upsetting to those who have lived through this themselves. Lucy feels like a real girl as you read, and you understand her conflictions, and the fears she is facing, whilst still being sure of the hope that things will get better for her. Definitely recommended for those around ten years and older.
Further reading suggestion: You might also enjoy reading Sarah Carroll's previous book The Girl In Between.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.