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The Whispers

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A middle grade debut that's a heartrending coming-of-age tale, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Counting By 7s .

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, lik
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  170 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Vitor Martins
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Eu amei o protagonista, a voz narrativa dele, as ~lendas~ que cercam a história e o jeito como ela é contada. Mas ALGUMA COISA não funcionou pra mim???? Eu odeio ser A Pessoa Que Reclama Do Final, mas eu fiquei tão frustrado!

Neville Longbottom
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, lgbtqia
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
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
Erin Stewart
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Melissa Chambers
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
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
Sarah Nelson
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Sass
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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
Source: e-ARC from publisher
Sammy  E. T.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will defintly give it a try.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jessica Calla
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
James Brandon
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Laura Sibson
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, middle-years
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
Tristan van Huizen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thompson McLeod
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
A. Sterling
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
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It was a sweet magical tale that made me love the main character.

We are introduced to Riley at the very beginning and dive into his life. He is dealing with the mysterious disappearance of his mom, his sudden habit of waiting the bed that only came after his mom disappeared and what he calls his condition, which is in reality his sexual orientation. Riley doesn’t struggle to understand that he doesn’t like boy, it’s more of an understanding of why people still find it weird
Heather Hughes
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’d like to thank Penguin Random House for including me in the blog tour for Greg’s new release. My review is completely honest.

Riley is a little boy that believes in magic, especially the Whispers. They are fairies that will grant wishes, just as long as you leave tributes. Naturally, as a young boy, he has a lot of wishes. What he wants is his mom back. She’s been gone for too long and he believes they are the only ones that can help him.

The one thing that shocked me about this book is that Ri
WhatBookNext .com
Riley loves his faithful old dog Tucker, his favourite TV show, Criminal Investigation Division: Chicago, and most of all his Mama. Mama laughs with him, shows him all the wonder in the world, and teaches him a new word every day.

But Tucker has been off his food lately, and the local Police have been interrogating Riley. His Mama is gone. Riley’s dad hardly speaks to him anymore, and his big brother Danny is all teen anger and grunts. Riley believes they blame him for the hole Mama has left in t
2.5ish stars

The jacket blurb is not really what this book is about, nor is the cover artwork. I thought it was going to be a portal fantasy, but it's definitely not. It's not even a fantasy, more like fabulism/magical realism. The pacing was slow and off in many parts for me and there were a few passages that I did not see the need for at all (like him noticing the commercial for Viagra on his grandparent's TV--it doesn't call it Viagra, it calls it the kissing pill, but it doesn't seem to serve
Laura Gardner
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Whispers is about a boy named Riley who wants to find the mythical creatures known as the Whispers so he can wish for his missing mother to return home. Riley is an anxious, sad boy with two conditions he keeps secret -- he wets the bed every night and he identifies as gay and was caught by his mother kissing a boy months prior. Riley's father is distant, his grandparents are bereft with the loss of their daughter and his brother is mean. Riley must rely on himself, his dog Tucker, his best ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Greg Howard's brilliant, heart-swelling MG debut, THE WHISPERS, 11-year-old Riley has two self-described "conditions"; 1). bedwetting, which develops in the aftermath of his beloved mama's mysterious disappearance, and 2). his desire to kiss boys, namely hunky country boy Dylan Mathews, aka the King of the Redneck Superheroes. Riley's first "condition" can be handled with 409 and a spritz of Lysol; his other "condition," however, is far more complex to and a significant source of pain to Rile ...more
Piper Mejia
It is difficult for anyone, let alone children, to talk about loss. It is an emotion we hold close so that we can keep going day after day. In Greg Howard’s novel The Whispers, eleven-year-old Riley’s life is already difficult before his mother disappears; he is being bullied at school and has a crush on an older boy. Unable to talk to his father, and feeling let down by the police, Riley decides to go in search of the magical fairies his mother told him about; fairies that will grant his wishes ...more
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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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