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Louder Than Words

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I thought I’d hit rock bottom when my dad died.

I was wrong.

I never dreamed my mom would choose drugs and alcohol over me.

I was wrong about that too.

I thought teachers were there to instruct, to guide, to counsel.

Wrong doesn’t begin to describe what nearly happened that last day of my Junior year. Lesson learned; trust is for suckers and actions speak louder than words.

New plan. Keep up my grades, earn a scholarship, tuck into as tight a ball as possible and roll on out of this town and this life.

But this boy, this Casanova transplant with a funny accent, who’s way too charming to be healthy for a girl... Why won’t he let me be?

I wish I hadn’t let him in on my secrets...well, most of them.

I wish I hadn’t grown to look forward to our daily walks to work.

But mostly, I wish I hadn’t freaked out when he tried to steal a kiss.

Maybe I wouldn’t be parked in the friend zone. Maybe he wouldn’t be dating a girl I loathe. Maybe I wouldn’t be in this hell of wanting what I can’t have but having what I thought I wanted—to be left alone.

300 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 16, 2014

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About the author

Iris St. Clair

1 book139 followers
Writer of Young Adult Fiction. Humor & snark with a dash of angst for sale. Inquire within.

My YA debut, LOUDER THAN WORDS is now available in Kindle and paperback. Coming to other ebook formats soon!

Resident of Vancouver (WA not BC).

I also write books for adults under the pen name of Claire Gillian. That is my more active Goodreads account, where I track my books read and to be read.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 51 reviews
Profile Image for Julie Reece.
Author 6 books372 followers
April 25, 2014
Loved this awesome story so much. Can't wait for everyone to read it!
Profile Image for Paula M.
553 reviews638 followers
October 3, 2014
You can also read my review here!!

This is one of the most romantic and moving book I've ever read. I kid you not. Surprised is an understatement.


A drunkard mother, a teacher who forced himself on her and a boy who makes her heart race. Ellen's life is so not boring. Let me just start of by saying that I adore this heroine so much. I really want to hug her because of the stupid things that has been happening in her life. She's a tough cookie, I'll tell you that. I mean, sure, not at first.. but that's why I admire her. She learned how to be brave. How to take courage. How to make everyone hear what she has to say. And lastly, she learned how to stand up for others and for herself.

The love interest, Rex is very charming. Ahh, maybe he'll just smile and I'll immediately melt off. Oh but he's not perfect! Far from it. He's actually very stupid. He's adorably stupid. That's why the romance was a little painful for me to read, not because it's not good. It's actually the slow burn kind of romance which I really liked. I don't know what possessed me though but through out the book, I JUST WANT THEM TO BE TOGETHER, you know? Like seriously come on just kiss each other already! But I've waited.... and yeah, it was so worth it. Rex and and Ellen's relationship is real! It went through friendship, it was tested and it's it's.. it's.. so so well written!


This book tackled with a lot of hard issues like abuse, teacher-student affair and alcohol. The family aspect is heavy. And the characters are fleshed out and complex. This is what amaze me so. Because the book is oh so romantic and light, but the hard issues were handled very well! It was dealt with accordingly and in a very poignant and moving way. I guess I have to praise St. Clair for that. This is another case of simple yet affecting way kind of writing. Her words stirs up something inside you and you can't help but be touched.

It's hard to believe that this is the author's debut novel, I honestly can't wait for more from her. I'm definitely a huge fan now. Louder Than Words has humor and romance, it's thought provoking and incredibly well thought. Absolutely one of my top favorite this year!
Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
696 reviews468 followers
September 25, 2014
No surprise here… but what first caught my attention was the adorable cover. I just love YA contemps, and this one SCREAMED YA contemporary. Then I read the synopsis and decided this definitely sounded like something I would like. And the verdict is… I loved it!

Poor Ellen is definitely dealing with A LOT on her plate right now. Her father has died, her mother is a drug addict, her only brother is now her guardian, and she’s now stuck dealing with the fact that a well-loved teacher tried to put the moves on her at the end of last year. She has the summer to try to forget about it, but when school starts back up again she’s forced to deal with him… whether she wants to or not.

Rex, who Ellen meets at summer camp where they are both counselors, has quickly become her second half. They spend almost every waking moment together. He begins to meet her at her house in the mornings and walk with her to school every day, also walking her home after school ends. Though they’re strictly friends, and Rex is dating the “mean girl” in school, Ellen can’t help but come to terms with the fact that she has feelings for Rex. No matter how much she fights it, it’s still there, loud and clear… she’s falling in love with him.

Ellen is faced with quite a few decisions. First, can she fight her feelings for Rex or does she tell him? Does she report the teacher who kissed or and risk being called a liar, or does she pretend it never happened? Can she keep herself together before she has a nervous breakdown?

“I think you’re one of the bravest girls I’ve ever met.” [...]
“No, seriously. Between your dad dying, your mom’s drug addiction, the custody battle, living with your brother. You’ve put up with me and now with everything that happened today… you’re amazing. You know that? You are utterly and without a doubt totally superhero material. Wonder Woman. Supergirl.”

I really enjoyed the uniqueness I felt in this story. The story itself, first taking place during the summer, then during Ellen’s senior year of high school, dealing with all the different issues that arose in that year for her, it felt more like several books in a series, rather than just one. I liked the quickness the story progressed, addressing so many topics in Ellen’s life rather smoothly. I never felt that the story dragged, nor was it rushed. It was really entertaining, felt extremely realistic, and definitely enjoyable.

Louder Than Words, addressing several sensitive issues, is definitely a book I would recommend to teenagers. Ellen dealt with quite a few issues that teenagers are facing today, including parents with substance abuse, rape and unwanted sexual advances, lying and friendship. I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story ended as well, wrapping up to a conclusion that left me feeling fulfilled and tying up all the loose ends.

I’d definitely recommend this book to other YA contempt fans. With likeable, relatable characters and a realistic and enjoyable story line, this books is sure to please. Iris St. Clair is an author I will be watching for again in the future. And I have to say, I’m really enjoying all of these new Swoon Romance books! It’s like they were made just for me. ;)

(Thanks to Swoon Romance & YA Bound Book Tours for the review copy!)

Find this review and others like it at Lost in Literature!


Profile Image for Karen.
493 reviews96 followers
September 26, 2014
Awwe! This book was so endearing. I loved the innocence of the romance in this book. It is not all sunshine though. This story covers some really tough issues. Just like real life, this book gets down and dirty with what being a teenager can look like. It is not always pretty. This book takes the reader into the mind of a girl called Ellen. A girl with a lack of self-esteem and self-worth. She can’t seem to say what she means, and her silence hides a terrible secret.

Ellen, is a 16 year old with whole lot of issues. Her Mom is out of the picture due to a drug habit ever since her father died. She lives with her brother and he gave up his life to make sure she gets a good start. While volunteering at a youth camp over the summer she meets Rex, a boy from out of town. Their friendship may be the only thing holding Ellen together as she deals with inappropriate adults and bullies that think they know the whole truth. Ellen has to do some growing up in order to face her demons and learn to find her voice.

I wasn’t sure about this book at first. I mean there are a lot of details about the daily life of this girl. We follow her on her walk to camp and through all the stresses of volunteering with kids. It is a bit slow to start, but the author is laying the foundations for a girl that is selfless. The author is setting up the framework and exposing her silence in things she should be communicating but doesn’t. By the time school starts, we understand that Ellen can’t just say what she wants to say. When the secret of an adult preying on children is exposed for the reader, I felt just as stuck as Ellen. I guess the lesson in this book is that it is never too late to do the right thing.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. My radar is way off when it comes to YA. I have to admit that I enlisted my teenage daughter to help me pick something out. I didn’t read the synopsis, I didn’t look at the reviews. She said this book looked really great. As it turns out, the heroine reminds me of her. I am so pleased with this book, my girl gets gold stars for making a good choice. I can’t wait for her to read it too so we can talk about it. I have to give the author major props for writing a book that girls like her can relate to.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,953 reviews306 followers
August 31, 2014
What happens when someone you trust betrays you ? Worst when it starts to affect not only you but others around you ? For Ellen Grayson, she has grown up with a world of disappointment from a father who was killed by a drunk driver to a mother who after her husband died went on an alcoholic and drug bender that never seemed to stop which caused Ellen to be put in the custody of her older brother Robbie. When during school last year, she finds her teacher easy to talk to , she thinks she has found a friend in him - that is until he forces himself onto her and kisses her. She manages to escape before it got to the level of rape but for Ellen , that was enough to break her. She cuts her hair and changes in her personality begin. Summer break starts and Ellen gets a job as a summer camp counsellor at the rec centre where she will met newcomer Rex who is perfect in every way, the downside is he is dating popular girl Gracie. Over the summer Rex and Ellen will learn what it means to have a best friend and someone to confide in , but as the next school year begins and Ellen finds herself face to face with Mr. H - the teacher from last year, she is not sure how she will cope and to make matters worst, she is witnessing the same thing happening to other students. When Ellen catches him at the school dance in the bathroom, she realises that enough is enough and that she must stand up for what is right and that in order to move forward with her life, she cannot always cower in fear of what may or may not happen. So begins the allegations against the teacher and Ellen endures daily reactions and bullying from students who favoured Mr. H , but what will happen when others who have had the same experience as Ellen notice she won't back down and will stand for what is right and start to come out of the sidelines ?

This was such a moving story about one girl's courage to stand up for what is right and not bow down and follow the sheep of the school. Louder than Words by Iris St. Clair also reminded me a bit of the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Profile Image for Toni.
Author 4 books96 followers
September 24, 2014
Let me start by saying this book has several triggers in it, so the subject matter may not be for everyone. I, however, enjoyed the story very much.

Ellen has quite a few chinks in her armor. Her father was killed by a drunk driver, which sent her mother over the edge, in search of the worst possible ways to numb her pain. Because of this horrific childhood, Ellen resides with her older brother. As if all that isn’t bad enough, a popular teacher whom Ellen confides in takes advantage of her. That was the straw that broke her. She chopped her hair off and built a wall up around herself. That new mindset was firmly in place when she returned for another tour as a junior counselor at summer camp. Until she met Rex Jacobi, a new kid on the block, and her partner for the summer. But it’s not all cookies and chocolate milk from there, my friends.

While some pieces of the puzzle were predictable, it was also quite remarkable as a whole. Ellen has such an incredible character arc, which made this book a big winner for me. She starts out broken, but grows and matures and learns as the story unfolds. She figures out what kind of person she wants to be, and that isn’t the type of person who hides from her problems. The pacing of the story was perfect, and the secondary characters were fleshed-out as well. This is a story that will tug at your heart-strings and possibly even instill bravery in the reader.

This is not just a romance novel. There are many facets woven into this tale, but it flows so well with each one being folded in gently. It’s a story of love, trust, betrayal, regression, valor, and overcoming even the most terrifying obstacles.

I highly recommend adding Louder Than Words to your TBR if you’re a fan of YA contemporary romance/drama.
Profile Image for Jillyn.
732 reviews
September 18, 2014
This was a book that I was hoping would break the bad streak I've had lately when it comes to contemporary young adult books. While it didn't blow me out of the water, I was pleased overall with this story.

A large part of why I enjoyed this book was admittedly the lead character. Ellen has a lot of growing up and "coming into herself", so to speak, to do at the beginning of the book. She has horrid self-esteem and second guesses a lot of things. She's a relatable kind of awkward, and she goes through some plot events that are incredibly uncomfortable. It was really interesting to watch her develop as the story went on. This was strengthened once Rex came into the picture. Their dynamic wasn't really unique, but it was still engaging to read about.

The story is one that addresses some tough stuff, but I think it does it in a good way. The story flows pretty well, but there's some parts that seemed a bit out of place. It wasn't enough to hinder me from reading more, but it did make me cock my head a bit at times and think about what was going on in the book with a little more effort than in the parts where it was a smoother read.

I also must say, I really like the cover of this book. It's simple but it gets the point of the book across, and represents how Ellen has to stand up and speak up for herself, even when it feels like it is impossible to do.

While this book won't become one of my die hard favorites, I 100% think that this is a book that a lot of young adult contemporary fans will enjoy. It's a solid read. If I'm correct (and please correct me if I'm wrong), this is Iris St. Clair's debut young adult novel. If she keeps writing stories like this one, I'd definitely pick up more books written by her in the future. Be aware that this book does contain serious themes.

Thank you to the author and YA Bound Book Tours for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This review can also be found on my blog, Bitches n Prose.
Profile Image for Nadwa.
189 reviews28 followers
June 16, 2017
My God. I know I've actually shelved this book as "currently reading" days ago but I honestly haven't opened it until today. Yes, today. I finished it in one-sitting. I did eat my lunch and dinner while reading, and took three bathroom breaks. Does it still count as a one-sitting-read?
Now, I never, in my whole life, stopped for a minute to define what part of a romance novel I usually like. Partly because I'd be too immersed in the book to think about that. But while reading this book, I realized that the flirty friends phase is definitely my favorite. I didn't know a novel can be this romantic and swoon-worthy when the couple are still just friends. But I figured that's the most romantic phase of all, even more romantic than when the couple actually fess up to each other about their feelings. And when I use the word "swoon" here, I use it literally and definitely not figuratively. I would feel my heart pulling these weird stunts in my chest. Literally. Or I would just feel butterflies in my stomach. I've never had these emotions while reading previous books.
Back to the book. I loved the characters. Don't get me started on Rex. It's been so long since I've have a proper crush on. Scratch that. No need to play hard to get; I'M TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HIM. I'M HEAD OVER HEALS IN LOVE WITH HIM. OH MY GOD, HE'S LIKE... THE KIND OF FICTIONAL BOYFRIEND I'D FANGIRL FOR MONTHS ABOUT.
Robbie is a character that fascinated me. I've never read about this kind of brotherly love until now. Sacrificing his life and education for his sister's? Becoming her guardian when he was only 18? I was enthralled.
Ellen is one of the few YA protagonists that I truly worship. She's not perfect. Not all goody-goody. She makes mistakes. But she's confident when it comes to standing up for herself. She doesn't wait for her boyfriend/bestfriend to do that for her. Doesn't drag her friends into her shit for no reason, but instead, does what she thinks is best for her and them. She acknowledges her brother's sacrifices for her and her education. She has qualities I want to work on getting. And I don't think you can find these sorts of protagonists in YA books anymore. A genuine character, that I believe has become way too underrated. A perfect protagonist doesn't make them a relatable one. And I believe that Iris St. Clair knew this, and acted upon it. Yes, she's a writer I'd want to learn from. A writer whose next released book I'd buy on a whim.
I honestly did not expect this book to be my next life changer. But this one's a keeper. It's the kind of book I'd read over and over again every two months or so. And it's the kind of book that needs to be read by everyone. One that deals with a LOT of serious stuff that might inspire readers to become a better version of themselves. Whether it's through honesty, or sacrifice, or bully-fighting. Every single person can pick out a lesson out of this novel. I won't say that this novel deserves to be read my everyone. Instead, I'm going to say that every single person deserves to read this novel.
Profile Image for Hristina.
517 reviews80 followers
September 1, 2016
This is such a touching story, so amazingly written. It deals with so many issues, and manages to cover the subjects in a realistic and heart-rending way, while being accompanied by a beautiful heroine, and a list of well-developed complex characters. Mrs. St. Clair is a gifted writer, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
I recommend this book to anyone that can get it.
The story is triggering yes, and it might not be for everyone, but if you can, please read it. If the blurb doesn't get you excited, then just trust me. If not for the story, read it simply for St. Clair's way with words.
525 reviews130 followers
October 14, 2020
Ellen’s seen what the world has to offer her, and she’s not having it. Guys will always chase the prettier girls. Teachers you trust will prey on you. And parents who are supposed to put you first will tumble into addiction and apathy. But she has her brother, a safe and stable home, and maybe even a future that’s better than all this — if she can just get through the present. So when a confident boy she can’t brush off becomes part of her everyday life, she’s twisted in knots and reluctant to take any more chances. Only he’s not giving up so easily.

But...I can’t wrap my head around the author’s pen name. It’s like it was plucked off one of those late ’80s bodice ripper romance novels that plague modern garage sales. Someone actually chose it. For young adult books. Really.

The Verdict: Romance novels for any age group typically fall into one of just a few categories. There’s lust/hate that turns into love, poor girls and rich guys, someone who’s in love with the best friend, the damaged guy and the good girl, the fake or arranged relationship budding into something more, and the wounded girl saved by the guy who smiles sunlight. There are a few others, I’m sure, but 99% of what I read falls into those categories. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy them, and they obviously work, or authors wouldn’t keep writing them. But it’s rare and wonderful to find a story that doesn’t stick to the formula but still bleeds magic. And that’s what Louder than Words is.

Ellen and Rex both have their share of family issues to deal with, but they’re still just regular teenagers navigating that messy time in life where they’re young enough to keep making mistakes and old enough to see the world for the sometimes miserable place it is. Ellen handles her reality with snark and cynicism, and since she knows she’ll never be the prettiest girl in the room, even though she’s initially attracted to and intrigued by Rex, she doesn’t bother trying to impress him. In fact, his one attempt to turn them into more than friends goes disastrously wrong, and it’s not long before Rex is dating the girl who is every annoying thing Ellen is not. What grows instead is a strange and comfortable friendship. They walk to and from their summer jobs and then school. They hang out from time to time, and they just sort of insinuate themselves into each other’s routines. And the more time she spends with Rex, the more Ellen regrets throwing away her chance to be more to him.

Rex is very much a teenage boy. He’s observant and insightful at a few rare times, but mostly he’s ruled by testosterone and obliviousness. He’s not really what anyone would call romantic, but he is a good friend to her, and Ellen’s herself around him instead of worrying about what people think of her mother or her life now. The only thing she really hides from him is that situation with the cool, handsome teacher that turned out to be a lecherous creep. But even that situation is presented with a nice dose of gritty realism, showing Ellen to be a confused teenager who succumbed to curiosity and the attention but ultimately realized the betrayal for what it was.

The story is mostly a snapshot of Ellen’s life from day to day, where small things in a teen’s life are the ultimate drama and insecurities have her walled off and afraid to take chances. But it’s that simplicity of the story that makes it so addictive. Unlike many of the novels I read, it doesn’t feel like a reciting of whatever plot-spinning events will lead to the eventual happily ever after. It feels more like an intimate look into the life and mind of a rather typical teenage girl, complete with self-doubt and judgement of those around her. And of course, there’s the growing feelings she develops for Rex and the subtly brilliant way the perfect ending was delivered.

If you’re looking for high drama and over-the-top teenage hijinks, this is not the book. But if you’re looking for something that feels real, that binds you to the main character and reveling in her cynicism, even as her closet romantic teen tries to shine through, this just might be the perfect book. Louder than Words accurately captures the voice and thoughts of high school girl caught up in family drama, real world disappointment, and first love.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for T.H. Hernandez.
Author 9 books204 followers
September 27, 2014
4-1/2 Stars. This is one of those young adult novels I didn’t want to end because as soon as I finished it, I missed the characters. Ellen Grayson is so multi-dimensional, she very nearly becomes a living breathing person. There’s a lot going on with her, in addition to longing for new boy, Rex Jacobi, she’s dealing with her father’s death and her mother’s spiral into drug addiction. If it wasn’t for her devoted older brother, she’d be in foster care. She has body image issues, only a handful of friends because she pushed everyone else away, and her favorite teacher put the moves on her. Like many teens in her situation, she harbors guilt, humiliation, and about a dozen other things as a result of her teacher’s behavior and keeps the incident a secret, hoping to put it behind her.

With all of that going, Louder Than Words, at its core is a sweet teen romance. Her relationship with Rex is the best part. I love their playful banter and the way he truly cares about her as a friend first and foremost. It’s painful to watch her feelings develop into something more as Rex turns his romantic attentions to petite, pretty Gracie. The book touches on so many topics, from unrequited love, to family loss, friendship, loyalty, and bullying, but does all of it really well, never sacrificing one to focus on another.

Louder than Words has a complex plot with a lot going on, but underlying the subplots is the thread of Ellen and Rex. Watching their friendship flourish is delightful. I could feel Ellen’s angst as she watches the boy she’s fallen for date someone else. She has a lot going on in her life and she doesn’t have a lot of experience with relationships to begin with, but she pegs Rex as a player and doesn’t want to set herself up for heartbreak. The plot unfolds with impeccable pacing, allowing the reader to get sucked into the ebb and flow that is their friendship, feeling Ellen’s longing while also understanding her fears. I cheered for her when she finally digs deep to find the strength to stand up for what she believes is right.

Iris St. Clair’s characters are solid. Ellen is really well developed. It was easy to understand her motivations even if I didn’t necessarily agree with her. But I can identify with the sixteen-year-old girl hiding out in the bathroom stall to get away from her lecherous teacher. I understand why she didn’t tell anyone, even though the adult in my wanted her to speak up.

Rex is adorable as the New York transplant who befriends Ellen. He clearly wants more than a platonic friendship but doesn’t hesitate to move on when she makes it clear she’s not interested. I love that he pursues a relationship with her outside of romance, showing that he isn’t just into her for physical reasons.

Ellen’s brother, Robbie, is equally well-developed with his own issues. He’s the hero in this story for putting his life on hold to raise Ellen when their mom checks out.

Bottom Line
I love Louder Than Words. It’s one of those books that left me feeling good and wanting to read more by Iris St. Clair.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elaine.
181 reviews37 followers
September 18, 2014
I received a digital copy of this book from YA BOUND BOOK TOURS in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All are my own opinion and is not compensated by any individual, organization, or company.

Louder Than Words is about Junior-student Ellen who was kissed by her Science teacher that almost lead to a rape if not for her timely escape. She was betrayed by the man to whom trust and life ramblings about her drug addict mother, school situation, and financial issues she shared; she decided to keep her mouth tight shut. But summer might just be the time to relax and forget it all. For summer is when he met Rex Jacobi—the boy who appeared have taken a liking to her; one event led to another and Rex is now dating popular girl Gracie. To make things worse, Science teacher seems to have his hands to other students, too. She is torn between letting her secret out and let authorities deal with the teacher and facing Rex and her feelings.

Louder Than Words is a very predictable book (for me). But I enjoyed reading it so much, thanks to the story characters. They are so much fun. I like their company very much. I love the humour. Actually, the very first paragraph of the book lured me in immediately. I love the amusing choice of words. I love how Ellen delivers her line. The exchange of dialogue between Ellen and Rex, and the other characters are so pleasant. This is a finey funny book for me. The comedy is not exaggerated; very natural. If not for the characters, I would not enjoy it. I love the ending, too. It is a very fine way to end the story. Swoon-worthy.

I recommend it to romance readers who so very much enjoy fun characters.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,768 reviews231 followers
August 13, 2016
When I read the summary of the book I thought I would enjoy it, but no way. The story follows Ellen, whose father died in a traffic accident, leaving her with a mother who drinks a lot and takes pills, prompting Ellen's older brother to get her custody.
Ellen goes to a sort of summer camp where kids like her go to be watched over and taken care of. There, she meets Rex a guy I can't stand from his first moment on the book as I found him to be an ass but who gets to meddle with girls and ends being Ellen's BFF.
Also there is this teacher who abuses students, and Ellen, having being a victim herself, decides to bring awareness about what he is doing. As a result, she gets bullied by the students who like the teacher and she has to find her courage.
Might have been a good read if I hadn't disliked almost all the characters, finding them abussive as Rex, for instance; or as typical Mary Sues. And the plot might need coherence, IMO, as I can't get the idea of Rex kissing and grappling Ellen saying he is sorry when she breaks apart, getting it on with another girl, breaking with her and then becoming Ellen's BFF. After they start it makes little sense to me, even more so as she has been forcefully kissed and touched by her teacher...
Profile Image for Veronika.
482 reviews143 followers
October 11, 2014
Also appears on my blog:

First of all I'd like to thank YA Bound Book Tours for letting me read and review this amazing book and for hosting all those wonderful book tours and blitzes and cover reveals.

Louder Than Words caught me completely off guard. I thought that the romance will be the most important thing and even the other main theme of the book, the teacher, will be swept under it. Well, no. This book was so much more than I expected, it was about friendship, love, family, betrayal, poverty and so much more. I'm glad to had the chance to read it.

The storyline and the characters:

The family had a big role, if not the main one in Louder Than Words. It was amazing to see how Ellen's brother, Robbie put aside what he wanted (like university) to be able to take care of his little sister. The relationship between Robbie and Ellen was the sweetest thing ever. I loved how he didn't just took Ellen to him and considered it a done job but he really cared about her. He took time to listen to Ellen and when she needed him he was there in an instant.

The mother's alcoholism was well portrayed, in the end she wasn't made to look a monster, she was just a weak women who broke down after her husband died. I loved that in the end she wasn't magically a good mother, no matter that she gave up on alcohol she hadn't done it for her children she did it for a man and this wasn't made to seem like a good decision.

How the author described poverty was amazing. She showed us how much Ellen and Robbie had to lack throughout their lives and how many times they had to swallow their pride or give up on things they wanted. Still she never made the riches seem like horrible people, it was a simple truth: some get it hard while some get it easy, and on both sides there are good and bad people.

Mr. H, the teacher who tried to seduce Ellen was a disgusting bastard. I felt so sorry for Ellen because thanks to the fact that she always drew the short straw she didn't believe for a moment that anyone will stand up for her or believe her. Under this topic the author analyzed friendship and showed us how some people can be easily manipulated and/or fooled.

"Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I looked at him the wrong way, said something more suggestive than I'd intended."

Ellen was such a strong heroine so it was horrible to see that she didn't think what happened to her with Mr. H was enough to say something about it but when the same thing happened to others she immediately told everything to the counselor. She stood her ground even when things didn't look too bright and when people at school bullied her.

Ellen needed time before she could trust in a boy again or let one kiss her without feeling mortified in the end. Sometimes in novels they make it seem like it's easy to move on after something like this happens to you and this always makes me uncomfortable. While I can understand that different people have different ways of dealing with things that hurt them I don't think it's realistic that they would start a relationship right after. I love that St. Clair 'give' Ellen some time before she was able to get into something with a boy again.

The romance was kind of sweet but that's the part of the novel that I wasn't completely satisfied with. I was expecting something bigger, something adorable but thanks to the fact that I didn't swoon over Rex it left me a bit cold. I still liked Ellen and Rex together, they fit and were such a great match, it was amazing how they slowly opened up to each other.

He smiles. "November girl, eh? Turning eighteen?" He nudges me with his elbow. "Am I hanging out with an older woman?"

It was such a great thing to see how these lovely characters developed a lot throughout the novel. The author used some character clichés, like Gracie the mean girl who was Rex's girlfriend but she did this oh-so-right. How I hated Gracie! She was such a petty girl, she was a no one, oh and don't forget that she wasn't too bright either.

"I've always wanted to live in New York City. So much fun stuff to do, and I’ll bet you see a lot of TV stars and models, right?"

Rex wasn't a terrible character or anything like that but he failed to make me love him. He was likable, even a great person but nothing special. However I loved his relationship with his mother, while his mum didn't have a big role it was viewable how they loved each other.

"Who wouldn't love a boy who enjoys reading, is sweet to kids—including his father’s love child, adores his mother, and is kinder than any other friend I've had these past few months? I love this boy. I absolutely love him."

Ellen's character was really well-made. She was a teenage girl and the author perfectly managed not to make her too childish nor too much of an adult. Another thing I saw in other books was how characters who suffered a lot thought that they are somehow better than those who didn't. Not Ellen though. While there were some people she really didn't like, she didn't think of herself as someone above everyone else. As she said, there are manies who got it harder than she did. She was a very complex character, while she was so sure of herself at many times she lost her courage once in a while too. She had doubts, she doubted herself and her choices like normal people do. All considered she was a very life-like character.

All in all this book is a must read for everyone who wants to read about real life issues.

Favorite character: Robbie
Least favorite: Gracie

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 4.5/5
The characters: 3.5/5
The cover: 3.5/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5
Final rating: 4/5
September 27, 2014
I received a review copy for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

There are many reasons why I love Louder Than Words, which by the way is the perfect title for this book. Ellen, the main character, is my favorite kind of heroine with humor and wit and courage. She's insecure with herself as she's very young, but she handles herself well. With what she's been through with losing her dad and basically her mom, too, personally I'd want to curl up in a ball forever. But Ellen keeps going on.

Rex was definitely charming, and in a genuine way. I enjoyed Ellen and Rex's witty banter the most. Every time their dialogue made me smile or even laugh out loud, I couldn't help but think of how much I was loving this book and these characters. They spilled their darkest secrets to one another within a day of meeting and were able to connect through the family problems they were facing.

Ellen and Rex also frustrated me on many levels. If only Ellen could have seen in the beginning that Rex had an interest in her and might not be a bad guy after all! But I can understand why she reacted in the ways she did due to her issues with trust, especially after her teacher crossed the line and violated her trust. Some of Rex's actions had me scratching my head and cringing - I so badly wanted to tell him that's NOT how you win over a girl!

I wasn't sure how Louder Than Words was going to end, which was a happy surprise. I thought it might end predictably, but for me it didn't. I could read this book again and again for the witty dialogue and for Ellen and Rex's interactions. I loved reading about them and want to do it all over again!
Profile Image for Philomena Callan Cheekypee.
3,907 reviews397 followers
September 24, 2014
This is a great story. I thought the storyline was unique and the characters came across as real.

Ellen's been through so much. When she turns to her teacher for help he abuses that trust. She needs to decide if she will keep quiet or let the authorities know.

Really great story that I'd recommend for fans of young adult reads. Although the cover is pretty basic I love it. It's to the point and very apt for the book.
Profile Image for Jing.
112 reviews5 followers
January 8, 2015
grrr... this book is so super sweet. there were times that i wanted to smack rex, but i guess that makes him more of a realistic character than a fictional one, and there were a few pages there that i really just wanted to hug ellen too. this book is great.
Profile Image for Tissy.
217 reviews
April 20, 2017
3.5 stars
Enjoyable book, writing was good, plot interesting but main fave for me was the romance that slowly played out. The banter was cute and their interactions were quite realistic given their age and not eye rolling like most ya which expects us to believe that teens walk around acting/talking like 20/30 year olds. Slight problem with this book is that it rushes and fails to expand adequately on some very heavy topics but fortunately it didn't minimise my enjoyment.
Profile Image for Saptarshi.
69 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2014
*** I recieved a free review copy of this book from the author through YA Bound Book Tours as part of the Louder Than Words book tour***

Louder Than Words is a beautifully written story about what it means to be courageous and do the right thing no matter how difficult it is sometimes.

I'll admit that when I started reading the book it felt a bit slow, but it was also interesting enough to keep me hooked and continue reading. And it just got better and better the more I read. The characters were all very well thought out and their personality was developed very nicely throughout the story. I loved how Ellen really grew out of her shell as the story progressed and stood up for herself even when the whole school was against her. Rex on the other hand.... I am not sure how to feel about him, but I can say that he really did come through for Ellen and was a great friend throughout the story, especially towards the end. Moving on from that, the supporting characters were also really great. I adored Ellen's relationship with her brother even though he was a bit too overprotective at times. But at the end of day, he was a great brother and guardian to Ellen.

The way Ms. Clair wrote this book really made it stay true and realistic to how everyone probably would have reacted and been like had the situations that occurred in this book really happened in real life. This was a very heartwarming, and beautifully written story about standing up for yourself, doing the right thing,learning to trust and confide in the people who care about you. I loved reading Ellen's story and was very happy with how everything worked out in the end.

I really enjoyed reading Louder Than Words, and I definitely recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of sweet, heartwarming contemporary young adult novels. Ms. Clair has definitely found a new fan, and I'll make sure to keep an eye out for more of her books in the future!
March 9, 2016
I took part in the blog tour for this release, and was sent a copy of the eBook to review. This in no way affected my opinion of this book.

Original review, and giveaway, can be seen here - http://confessionsofabookgeek.wordpre...

I gave this book a 3.5/5 on my blog. When I give half-ratings on the blog I obviously have to round it on Goodreads, either up or down, and it really can be either way depending on my overall feelings. For Louder Than Words I went up, and I'm beginning to think I should amend my blog rating too. Here's why:

I recently read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, which is a blogger favourite, and I found it to be underwhelming. That could be partly down to the Hype Monster, but it just wasn't what I was expecting, but I still gave it 4/5 stars because it did attack my feels and I did enjoy it. But I haven't really thought about it much since I read it (Edit: I changed my rating for If I Stay to 3/5).

With Louder Than Words though, when I was reading it, I was enjoying it. I loved Ellen's sark, I loved her caring brother, I loved the dynamic of the family struggles and although at times uncomfortable, I loved how the issues were presented and dealt with in this read. In fact, I've thought about it a few times since I read it.

For those who love contemporary fiction, a bit of good old fashioned romance, and some issues thrown in for good measure, definitely pick up Louder Than Words. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Marie.
27 reviews
October 8, 2014
"Louder Than Words" is a beautiful, honest love story. Ellen is a very messed up girl with having a mother who is a drug addict, having a dad who has passed away & having her teacher make a move on her- it all gets a bit much for her.
Bring in the charming, kind-hearted, friendly Rex Jacobi with his love for books & respect for people - things can only get better from here.
I loved the friendship between them and I also love how something as beautiful and innocent as a friendship can turn into a lovely love story.
If you're looking for a sweet, beautiful love story - this is for you :) 4.2/5 stars.
Profile Image for Melinda Howard.
408 reviews59 followers
August 18, 2016
*This book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This was a really enjoyable read although it dealt with some deep issues including rape and drug abuse. I really liked the two main characters Ellen and Rex and especially like Ellen's cynical remarks (they were quite funny). The issue of rape was dealt with really well and the importance of speaking up and not being ashamed is really emphasised; this really pleased me as this is something every girl and boy should know. Also the taboo topic of teacher-student relations was dealt with quite well. Overall, this was a great book with a detailed setting, well-developed characters and an intriguing plot.
Profile Image for Tracy.
1,295 reviews10 followers
October 31, 2014
Loved this book! Rex was a great character. He was supportive, swoon worthy, and a good friend. Ellen is a strong, cynical character. While this can usually get old pretty quick, her reasons are justified. I swear I could have kept reading this for at least a hundred more pages. The ending was sufficient, though I didn't want it to end.
Best quote ever: "I've been in love with you for so long, I barely remember when I wasn’t.”
Profile Image for Sharon Hughson.
Author 32 books59 followers
February 7, 2015
So, I open the book expecting this to be in the vein of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. And the opening scene keeps that illusion alive (see paragraph one, two and five from the blurb). But after chapter three there’s nothing more about the groping teacher.
Sure a small scene where he practically threatens her at a restaurant, but the story is obviously “just” a romance. It’s about her pushing away Rex and then regretting it. Attempting to settle for friendship with him when her heart and mind are calling her all sorts of hypocrite. Ho-hum.
About halfway through, things change when the teacher re-enters the picture. And, yes, it does broach the same subject as Speak and does it in a non-confrontational way. Whereas, the trauma value to Speak’s heroine holds some kids who consider themselves “normal” at arm’s length.
I tip my hat to St. Clair for dealing with sensitive subject matter with finesse. It’s not just the definition of “what is a consensual relationship” that she addresses. Nope, there’s a list of volatile topics from child abuse, to drug addiction to handling bullies to knowing when to speak the truth - and still be a good friend.
St. Clair handles these issues with tact and without ever hinting at being preachy or judgmental.
Upon finishing the last page, I had to sit down and review this book because the magnitude of the accomplishment astounded me. From something marketed as a “young adult romance,” a spotlight falls on important subjects many teenagers face (or wonder about).
I laughed. I teared up. Most of all, I believed Ellen could truly exist in this world. And I wanted to meet her because I felt like she is someone I’d want to befriend. Just a regular girl with standard problems who faced them with the bravery of an Amazon warrior.
That's why Iris St. Clair earned a solid five out of five stars from me with this novel.
Profile Image for Lea (Between fantasy and reality).
326 reviews80 followers
February 22, 2015
Review also posted on my blog Between fantasy and reality

I was pleasantly surprised by this great debut. It was written beautifully, the characters were
amazing and the story progressed smoothly and beautifully.
This is a story about a girl who knows only disappointment in life, from her mother, her peers and ultimately her teacher, when he tries to seduce her but fortunately, she manages to escape.
From there the story follows Ellen while she battles to find herself, to come to grips with what happened and what should she do.


Then, in summer camp, she meets Rex, a confident and fun guy who just moved from New York, with his own set of problems and it seems he has his eye on her. But because of Ellen s fear and shyness, they seem to be destined to remain friends so Ellen tries to figure out how to show him her true feelings in hope it is not too late.
This story is very emotional, at times frustrating when we see how Rex and Ellen dance around each other. It is also a story about fighting for yourself, growing up and taking action even though you never know what will happen next. Ellen is an amazing character, cynical and lonely yet strong and funny. The friendship between Rex and her was amazing and entertaining and I am glad there was no insta-love. I hope Ms. St. Clair writes something new soon, I will sure read it.I recommend this book to lovers of contemporary YA, this book wont disappoint.
Profile Image for Elizabeth (Stuffed Shelves).
530 reviews35 followers
February 16, 2015
Ellen isn't your normal 15 year old girl, her Mom abandoned her for drugs after her father died. Leaving her to be raised by her brother who is only twenty, putting his college education on hold, causing Ellen to feel responsible for what her brother has stepped up to do for her.

She meets a new boy, Rex who lives pretty close to her, and even donates his time during the summer before senior year where Ellen donates her time. Together they work with children, providing childcare for those who cannot afford it. Even though she may have a crush on him, he's got eyes for every girl out there. Some might say he's a player.

Ellen's confused on what boys/men want since her first encounter with the opposite sex was traumatic and upsetting. It's something she thinks about way too often, and it changes how she thinks about everyday things.

Things only get worse when she starts her senior year. Things are bouncing back and forth between promising and less promising with Rex as the school year continues. It isn't until she decides to open her mouth about a certain situation that she has kept hidden for almost a year, that she becomes the least popular student in school.

This book is so well written. I love the way she explains things and the ingenuity to her words. It was a book I carried with me everywhere because I just couldn't put it down. Although there isn't much drama with Ellen, I was dying to know where the story was headed at all times. I really enjoyed Ellen's character and how strong she is during all that she has to go through at such an early age. I highly recommend to all high school aged readers. I give this book a 5/5.
Profile Image for Nikki Gutierrez.
298 reviews7 followers
February 5, 2017
Another 5-star read for me! This book is exceptionally written and the characters were given their own personalities that I felt like I really know them. What I like about this book is that Ellen, despite being harrassed, stayed strong through out the book. She met Rex at summer camp and that was a totally different story when the school started (it went from harassment to physical abuse to harassment again), which I like.

Anyway, Rex is so swoonnnnnnyyyyyyyyy! He was so patient with Ellen! At first, I thought that he was indeed a player because he went from one girl to the next, but he changed for Ellen (which is cliché) but it was so sweet! Plus he earned Ellen's trust, and I love it whenever they go to Minuteman. Haha.

Like I said, the characters were all great. Robbie, Lizzy, Leanne... and all the others, I really got to know their personalities! Mr. Hamer, I hate him! But then again, I guess this kind of thing really does happen in some school, and it opened my eyes to it. I like this story because although it has drama, it's just the right amount of drama that it didn't irritate me. And... the romance makes me giggle (I even laughed at some of Rex and Ellen's banters), they were so cute!!! Good, light read for sure!
Profile Image for Laura.
2,770 reviews82 followers
September 10, 2016
First let me say that I don't like most romance novels. They have to be super good to hock me, or they have to non-cis, so we have that hanging over how much I would like this novel. But I wasn't drawn to it for the romance, I was drawn to it because it was dealing with Ellen, the main character, being kissed by the "good" teacher, and keeping it to herself.

I wanted to see how this was dealt with. There are a few novels out now dealing with being raped, or sexual assaulted, or some such, and I thought I would see how this one was handled.

And all in all, it is a decent book. The dialogue and feelings are quite real.

It was just that I didn't really care that much what happened to Ellen. I mean I cared to see what happened in the book, but it wasn't as though I sat on the edge of my seat, while reading it.

So, if you like YA romances, with a touch of creepy teacher thrown in, then this book will be right up your alley. It just wasn't up mine. Important lessons in the book, so bonus points for that.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review
Profile Image for Emma Star Crossed Reviews .
964 reviews239 followers
December 16, 2019
This review was originally posted on Star Crossed Reviews I received this book for free an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I read this book quite a few months ago and never got to writing the review. I was in a bit of a slump and had a few personal things going on so I apologise for the delayed review.

This book follows Ellen. Ellen is a bit naive and quite damaged. She is however extremely brave. She's gone through a lot in her life and she has come out a lot stronger for it.
Rex is in the popular crowd. Ellen doesn't think he would look twice at her. But Rex soon falls for Ellen but when she doesn't want to be anything more than friends he still sticks around.

This is a sweet YA romance which was an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Patricia.
Author 8 books183 followers
January 8, 2016
4.5 Stars I was hesitant to read this book because of the adult taking advantage of kids aspect. That kind of thing causes some serious aggravation in me, especially when it's done well, as it was in Louder Than Words. And it's the only thing that kept me from giving this book five stars. Completely a personal issue.

That said, it's a wonderful young adult contemporary with a sweet romance at its core. By the time we were done, there were several characters I just wanted to hug. Great book!
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