Title: Never Said
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
For as long as she can remember, Sarah’s family life has revolved around her twin sister, Annie—the pretty one, the social one, the girl who can do anything. The person everyone seems to wish Sarah—with her crippling shyness—could simply become.
When Annie suddenly chops off her hair, quits beauty pageants, and gains weight, the focus changes—Annie is still the star of the family, but for all the wrong reasons. Sarah knows something has happened, but she too is caught in her own spiral after her boyfriend breaks up with her and starts hanging out with one of Annie’s old friends.
Annie is intent on keeping her painful secret safe. But when she and Sarah start spending time together again for the first time in years, walls start to break on both sides … and words that had been left unsaid could change everything.
I'm on the fence with my feelings towards Never Said.
On the one hand, I really enjoyed how Williams presented the alternating narration in two different forms; Annie in free verse poetry, and Sarah in standard prose. You really did get a feel for the two sisters, and for their feelings towards the world around them.
Further, the ebb and flow of the story, though only spanning a total of seven days, was really cohesive, and showed just how much dysfunction could be crammed into that short time frame. I also liked the pacing Williams set for the novel in bursts of short chapters. It gave the story a driving need to find out what secrets Annie was hiding behind her sudden change in personality.
On the other hand, the subject matter, the beating heart behind the whole of the story, and the way the characters reacted to it, didn't really bring out any empathy in me. Yes, I do wholeheartedly agree that this subject, and ones like it, do need to be talked about. And victims of said crimes shouldn't feel the 'requirement' to keep sweet about what they go through. In fact, I'll support someone struggling to bring this sort of crime to the light and attention of authorities in any way I can; however, that being said, I just didn't feel the connect with either Sarah or Annie.
Thus, being on the fence. I will definitely recommend Never Said to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and so many more authors who're taking pen to paper on these harsher aspects of teenage life; but, I don't think this book is destined to be reread by me.
-Digital ARC provided by NetGalley, in exchange for a review.