Caitlin's Reviews > Silence

Silence by Michelle Sagara
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Jun 10, 12

bookshelves: 2012

If you've read my reviews before you know that I am enormously wary of most young adult fiction these days, particularly the kind that fall into the urban fantasy/paranormal genre. If you haven't read it before, well, now you know.

They're all so formulaic and the formula is like these old 1950's romance books for teens that I used to read when I was a kid (5th/6th grade). Boy meets Girl. Girl likes Boy. Boy is standoffish. Girl likes Boy even more. Boy ignores Girl and chooses Slutty Girl. Slutty Girl behaves like Slutty Girl so Boy realizes that Girl is the one to take to the prom.

I know, I know, out here in the real world Boy tends to especially like Slutty Girl when she behaves like Slutty Girl, but this is fiction with message, damn it. For your basic urban fantasy/paranormal romance simply throw in a ghost, sparkly vampire, angel, whatever, make Boy even more emotionally unavailable and abusive and you've got a winner! Only I don't really want to read that so I avoid it.

I was excited to receive Silence for review, however. Michelle Sagara West is one of my absolute favorite writers whether she's writing as Michelle Sagara or by her full name. I am a huge fan of her Sun Sword and House Wars series and also like the series she writes for Luna. She tells a great story, her worldbuilding is reliably interesting, and her female characters cover the gamut from heroic to villainous and everything in between. She rocks. I thought, "Well, if anyone can pull off a book in this genre that I'll want to read, she's the one."

It was wonderful with all kinds of unexpected elements, perhaps best of all the tight friendship among a group of girls and the autistic boy that they have adopted as their own. So often girl friendships in books are fraught with tension and jealousy and stupid games of dominance, but while these girls have those girl moments they are friends who have each other's backs and who try to do the right thing, even when that's not so obvious.

The paranormal element is that the main character, Emma, learns that she is a necromancer. The two Boys in the traditional Boy role are witch hunters who arrive in town to kill her only that's not how it turns out. Instead, Emma behaves like the person she really is and the witch hunters invest in her and her friends who take them along for the ride. The romance element? Let's just say that it's not what you think it's going to be.

I loved this book. It's well-written, smart, rarely obvious, and celebrates the things that girls can do. If I had a middle school to teenaged girl I'd have already given her this book. As always, Ms. Sagara hits it out of the ballpark, entertains and delights me, and makes me really happy. Go read this book!
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