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The Whispers

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  507 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Neville Longbottom
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqia, 2019
The Whispers is an absolutely gorgeous middle grade novel about Riley, an eleven year old boy whose mother has gone missing. Riley believes that the key to finding her lies with The Whispers, wish granting fairies from the stories she used to tell him. Riley’s also struggling with his dad seeming like he doesn’t want him around anymore, bullies at school, and having a crush on an older boy.

Greg Howard’s writing here is so beautiful. All of the emotions and imagery jumped off the page. I appreci
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CW: bullying, anti-gay terminology/homophobia, child abuse, animal death, talk about segregation behavior

Riley has a strong belief in the Whispers: fairies that will grant you your heart's desire if you offer a tribute. He needs to believe in them because his mama has been missing for months now and if he doesn't believe...what then?

Greg Howard's middle grade debut novel was a well written, heart breaking example of how sometimes the belief we hold on to is all we have in the face of something f
Melissa Chambers
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Whispers is a sweet and tender story that takes place in small town South Carolina. While the plot is rich and layered, you'll find yourself getting lost in the everyday-ness of life in the country with gems like Riley's grandma's 5-4-3-2-1 fruit salad, "country neighbors", and the Pentecostal Corn Choir. You are guaranteed to be transported to another world with this very special, very extraordinary story about a boy who's navigating a difficult path. Highly recommended for middle grade nov ...more
Adam Sass
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story is not just a wonderful, sweet, moody mystery, it's also one of the rarest examples I've ever read of taking the point of view of a gay person at the moment they're starting to understand who they are. At 11 years old, Riley is dealing with not just the sudden disappearance of his mother, but also the guilt that his "condition" may be responsible. It's full of wonderful, charming voice and remarkable insights into grief and early gay confusion. This book is priceless!
Erin Stewart
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. The voice and beauty of this book will whisk you away to a world where you'll believe in magic, too. Loved the setting, how real the characters felt and the emotional journey that Howard takes you on with this story. Was sad to close the last page and have to leave.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a little bit to get into the book, mostly because the setting was very rural American, something I'm not particularly knowledgeable about, and haven't read a lot of. Once I adjusted to the setting and language of the book though, I was utterly drawn in.

Initially I was a bit undecided on how I felt about the author clearly putting vocabulary in with explanations to encourage children to learn; on one hand it was clevely woven into the story, but on the other hand I was worried it would
The Whispers was what I expected it to be, and not.
I love Riley. I love Dylan. I love best boy Tucker and the calendar of daily words and how Riley is such a mama's boy.
Despite the weight of the situation, the grief weighing down the family, Riley's voice was fresh and bright and I loved my gentle boy and watching him navigate his life. (view spoiler)
Mike Oaks
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Greg Howard puts a human touch on the loss of a parent. Young Riley's mom has been missing for 4 months and he's searching for her. He's convinced if he offers a tribute to The Whispers, he'll be able to find her. The audio book is narrated by Kivlighan de Montebello. So that'll give you extra feels if you choose to listen to Riley's story. 4.75 for kisses on the forehead.
Sarah Nelson
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet story about growing up, finding yourself, and forgiveness. Fair warning, get the tissues ready. I was not prepared for the emotions.

Thank you to the publisher for providing this book through Netgalley and putting me on the blog tour.

Read my full review at
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was reading this book for a Read Harder challenge but found the writing tedious and dull. I’m sure I can find a more interesting book to fill the challenge category!
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Rated 3.5 Stars:
I was hesitant and nervous to read this book because it had some mixed reviews, the mixed referring to some bad things happening to children.. They weren't wrong, there were a couple. One implied. This is not a book that has real magic as implied by the overall introduction, but Howard writes this well. This is not a book for grade schoolers. If it is, they're much more desensitized than I remember being. I'd rate this book as teen because of the content, though he does write an
Jenni Frencham
Howard, Greg. The Whispers. G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR, 2019.

Riley believes in the old tales of the Whispers, forest creatures who can grant wishes if you bring them tribute. He also thinks they know what happened to his mama and how he can take care of what he refers to as his "other problem," aka his crush on an older boy. But he's having difficulty convincing anyone else that the Whispers are real.

This is a whimsical story of a boy who still believes in miracles and fairy creatures, but who is al
Laura Sibson
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So grateful to have read an ARC of this middle-grade novel, which will be released January 2019. Greg Howard creates a setting so lush that I felt as though I were in the magical woods of South Carolina with Riley, his dog Tucker and Riley's friends. Riley is a believable 11-year old boy who worries about his family, wants to find his lost mother and isn't always perfect to his best friend. He's also struggling with guilt that the fact that he's more interested in boys than girls is what caused ...more
Jessica Calla
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautifully written, middle grade novel that made me smile throughout, but sob cry at the end. Riley is determined to solve the mystery surrounding his beloved mother’s disappearance, and turns to the Whispers for help. Mr. Howard takes the reader along with Riley through every step on his journey and shows us Riley’s Southern roots, his family, and his friends all through a perfectly written, middle grade voice. My heart is full after reading this thoughtful, emotional, hopeful story ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of this book and I wasn't sure I'd be able to get into since it's middle grade. I absolutely loved Social Intercourse, primarily because Greg didn't hold anything back making it as realistic as possible. Obviously I wasn't expecting the same kinda content in this book. Something else I didn't expect was it making me cry at work. Yup. That's a thing that happened. This book is about as close to perfect as you can get. I absolutely loved it. Riley's voice is so real, you ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible!!! Read in one day!
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit to shedding a few tears on this one--only a few, though, because I was reading it in a coffee shop. I put it on my magical reality shelf, though by the end, you'll have to decide on how much--and what kind--of magic.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, middle-years
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sadie Forsythe
I intend to read this eventually. But I have to tear it away from my daughter first.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautifully written story. Yes, it's written for younger audiences, but adults can appreciate it, too. If you were a fan of Bridge to Terabithia, you will enjoy this book.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5

This was a very quick, endearing read. The main character was so lovable, and the story had a lot of heart. I did have some minor issues when it comes to some phrases, but overall, I really did enjoy it.

Rep: gay MC, biracial side character, Mexican side character

CWs: death/illness of a parent, trauma, (internalized) homophobia, bullying, some ableist and otherwise problematic phrases that didn't get challenged
H.A. Callum
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Whispers is the kind of story that gets you in every which way. This is the book I wish I could have read when I was a young reader. Greg Howard placed everything cherished in childhood on the line, and it paid off. Simply stated, this is a beautiful book.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Source: e-ARC from publisher
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So gentle and so heartbreaking, at the same time...
Sammy  E. T.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will defintly give it a try.
James Brandon
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful MG novel about magic and grief and self-discovery for all ages. It’s a page-turning journey I couldn’t put down, a thrill-ride to the soul. Gorgeously written, full of depth and wit, I easily saw myself scattered in bits of Riley through the pages. This is a story I wish I had in middle school, the hardest years of my life. I undoubtedly would have been spared some of the pain and replaced it with some of this magic.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5/5 stars.

The Whispers is a middle grade story of a boy trying to find out what happened to his mother after she disappeared, four months prior. He takes cues from a story his mother used to tell him, about little fairies called Whispers that will give you your greatest wish in exchange for tribute, and will tell the person all about hidden knowledge of the universe.

When Riley, our main character, hears their voices one night, he strikes out with his friend Gary, his dog Tucker, and camping su
Thompson McLeod
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-whispers
Heartfelt, beautiful, mesmerizing and a tale that will captivate readers!

The Whispers is this year's must read for young readers, teachers, parents, everyone! It is that middle grade book readers will remember long after finishing it.

Riley is ten when his mother disappears. He misses her and sees her influence everywhere he looks. He tries to find her in the whispered voices he hears at twilight. He prays that the voices can tell him where she's gone or better yet, bring her back home. The whisp
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Greg Howard grew up near the coast of South Carolina, or as he fondly refers to it, “the armpit of the American South.” By the time he could afford professional therapy and medication, the damage had already been done. His hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina is known as the “Ghost Capital of the South,” (seriously…there’s a sign), and was always a great source of material for his overactive ima ...more
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