Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Things You Can't Say” as Want to Read:
Things You Can't Say
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Things You Can't Say

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Perfect for fans of See You in the Cosmos and The Science of Breakable Things, author Jenn Bishop tells the moving story of a boy determined to uncover the truth.

Nothing is going right this summer for Drew. And after losing his dad unexpectedly three years ago, Drew knows a lot about things not going right. First, its the new girl Audrey taking over everything at the
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Aladdin
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Things You Can't Say, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Things You Can't Say

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  60 ratings  ·  39 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Things You Can't Say
Jenn Bishop
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I mean, I might be a *little* biased.
Abby Cooper
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this sensitive story about Drew. He's having a tough summer for a variety of reasons, and a new girl barging into his safe space (the public library - YAY libraries!) doesn't help. Bishop brings her usual humor and heart to this impactful novel about family, friendship, and loss. An important, necessary book that I believe should be on all library shelves.
Victoria Coe
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Things You Can't Say by Jenn Bishop is a heartfelt, moving story of a boy dealing with adolescence in the wake of his father's suicide. It's summer and Drew finds refuge by helping out at the public library, as he's done for the past three summers. But when his "sandbox friendship" with Felipe hits a rough patch, he starts to wonder if the new girl at the library - who at first is possibly invading his territory - is the only one he can talk to. Unfortuntely, the one thing Drew can't say to ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Drew lives with his librarian mother and younger brother in Rhode Island. The family is struggling with losing the dentist father to suicide three years previously. Drew has a good friend, Felippe, but spends most of his time working in the children's department of the library, reading his zombie versions of children's books to the younger patrons and generally helping out. He's irritated when summer starts and the offspring of another librarian starts to work in
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Things You Can't Say is a great story about things you must say, even when they are challenging. Great message for young people, especially boys.
Drew is a thoughtful guy, trying to take on a lot since the death of his father. At an age when several relationships are getting confusing, Drew has more feelings to figure out than most kids. How can a 12 year old figure out the world when so few things are going the way they are supposed to? Drew discovers he can't do it with his thoughts alone.
Kristin Crouch
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for sharing an copy of Things You Can't Say with Collabookation.
From the cover to the last page, I loved reading Drew's story. When his father dies by suicide, Drew promises his grandmother that he'll be the man of the family~ and he stays true to this promise throughout his mother's debilitating grief and subsequent single motherhood. Drew is a good older brother, feeding and entertaining his little brother. But he is struggling with thoughts and feelings about his
Robin Kirk
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This is such a lovely read. Drew is really struggling with losing a parent to suicide. When a mysterious old friend of his mother's comes to stay, he's beset by questions about his family. Bishop handles this tender story with great skill, drawing us into a very real and painful growing up that ultimately ends on a satisfyingly positive note.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for sending #bookportage an ARC of this book.

This is a great story about one boys attempt to come to terms with his dads suicide, and the feelings hes kept bottled up inside that gnaw away at him. I will absolutely add this book to our librarys collection in the spring for many reasons, including the fact I couldnt put it down.
Autumn Krause
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was able to read this book prior to publication and Bishop does not disappoint! I loved this searingly moving story and the ways it handles hard topics in an accessible way for the middle grade audience.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Jenn Bishop does it again. A calm book about a difficult subject that we as adults too often don't want to think kids have to deal with. Well done characters, smooth plotting, and honest writing.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of reading an earlier version of Jenn Bishop's THINGS YOU CAN'T SAY and now this advanced reader copy and WOW! I love this book so, so much. It tells the story of Drew and his big summer of change. After his father's death three years ago, it's just been Drew and his mom and little brother Xan. Drew has taken on a lot of responsibility- both at home and in his volunteer job at the library. The delicate, uneasy normalcy he's created for himself is threatened by the arrival of ...more
Katie Reilley
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Jenn Bishop and Aladdin Publishing for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group.

Drews had to grow up pretty quickly. After all, he lost his dad three years ago. But now his summer is off to a rough start. Hes always been a helper in the childrens section of the local library, but new girl Audrey (whos AWFUL with kids) is invading his sacred space. Plus, he cant really talk to his best friend Filipe about it, because Filipe is more interested in hanging out with older kids he
Cindy Christiansen
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent voice & characterization. Drews thoughts & feelings made my heart hurt for him! ...more
Colin Bischoff
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jenn Bishop provides a nuanced view inside the head of Drew, who is struggling with the uncertainty of growing up plus a heavy dose of family trauma. She really nails the ingrained tendency for boys (of any age!) to try to struggle through on their own, and the growth and healing that can occur when they work up the courage to open up. This might make it sound like a heavy-handed afterschool special, but the story pulls you along with both suspense and light-hearted moments.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to author, Jenn Bishop, for providing an ARC to our book sharing group, Book Portage.

Things You Can't Say is a sensitive MG novel about hard topics. Drew is navigating new and changing relationships, while missing his father who died of suicide three years prior. Drew struggles to fully share his thoughts and feelings with anyone close to him. Things You Can't Say is an important novel about sharing our feelings (especially boys), family, and friendship.

I recommend Things You Can't
Oct 09, 2019 added it
Shelves: read-in-2019
An intensely compassionate, engrossing story that dives deep into the mind and heart of a sensitive twelve-year-old boy as he tries to make sense of who he is and who he might become three years after his fathers suicide. This is a brave book that tackles a heartbreaking topic in an authentic and age-appropriate way, but its also funny and suspenseful, with fully realized characters and lots of relatable friendship and crush dynamics. THINGS YOU CANT SAY explores the complicated emotions that ...more
Laura Gardner
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first review of a 2020 book! Thanks to author @buffalojenn for sharing this copy with @kidlitexchange! Out March 3, 2020, this book belongs on your pre-order list for spring!

I love books with a strong emotional core and sensitive, honest characters who are struggling with big feelings. Things You Can't Say is one of those books. I also love that Drew and Audrey volunteer in their public library; Drew's zombie storytimes sound SO fun. Highly recommended! .
Theresa Grissom
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5th, 4th, suicide
Thanks to Edelweiss for an ARC of this book.

Another great book from Jenn Bishop! I have not come across a middle grade book that deals with suicide. This is a tough subject but Jenn does it wonderfully and this book could be really helpful to those students that might be dealing with that issue. I'm looking forward to getting this one for my library.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tragedy struck three years ago. Things are changing for Drew and he has so many questions, thoughts, and what ifs. THINGS YOU CANT SAY by Jenn Bishop is a gem of a novel that poignantly and sensitively tackles loss (a suicide that happens off-page) and how it affects various aspects of twelve-year-old Drews life. Drew wanted it to be a normal summer of working in the childrens department at the librarysomething that brings him joy and an outlet for his creativitybut a trifecta of happenings dont ...more
Stacey DeCotis (Reading in the Middle Grades)
Thank you @simonkids for sharing @buffalojenn s newest story with #bookexcursion

Readers of all types will love Drews coming to truth about his father 3 years after his father committed suicide. An oftentimes taboo subject, Jenn Bishop does a phenomenal job of letting us see through a 12 year olds eyes as he learns that his father was more than the way he died.

When an unexpected old friend of Drews mom arrives before she can prepare Drew and his younger brother Xander, Drew starts to
Andrea Doyon
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
A thoughtful novel about a boy dealing with the long-term aftermath of his father's suicide. Uplifting where it could have been dark, hopeful where it could have been depressing, Jenn Bishop does a skillful job of carefully navigating the delicate path for readers of this age. The serious topic was handled appropriately and the book was sensitive and empathetic to its main character - and its reader.

After the death of his father, Drew moved on, concentrating on helping his mother run this new
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a well-written, character driven middle grade novel that was hopeful, sad, and funny. Drew is dealing with a lot in his life, including a father who committed suicide over three years ago, a mysterious old friend of his mom's, and friendship drama. I really enjoyed the family dynamics; it was realistic and showed growth. As a librarian I enjoyed Drew's volunteering at his local library for the summer. I would hand this to upper middle grade readers looking for character-driven realistic ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Story about grief, friendship, and communicating.
Drew's summer is not going as planned, but then, not much ever does. He thinks that Audrey, a new girl, is taking over his library job. His mom's friend from the past comes to visit and she is liking him way too much, and his best friend is suddenly too cool for him. There are still many questions about his dad's death as well.
With the help of a few unexpected events, Drew finally finds peace with all of this - talking and communicating with
Abby Johnson
A poignant look at one boy's life as things are changing in his family after his dad's suicide. This is definitely a book that validates the emotional life of boys as Drew navigates changing friendships and his mom's new male friend and life without a father at the time in his life when a father might be able to answer some questions for him.
Stephanie Stinemetz
Not talking about mental health and suicide doesn't make them go away, it just makes it harder for those dealing with these issues everyday. Things You Can't Say is an eloquently written middle grade novel about suicide and the impact it can have on the living.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Drews voice was fantastic. A few paragraphs in, I knew I was with a real kid. His is an experience many more kids have lived through than seen in a bookthis book has been needed for a long, long time, and will not stop being needed. Read from a digital ARC via #edelweiss ...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Jenn Bishop, AB'05

From the author: "Perfect for fans of See You in the Cosmos and Where the Watermelons Grow, author Jenn Bishop's latest novel tells the moving story of a boy determined to uncover the truth."
Alyssa Calhoun
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I need a sequel ASAP.
IT Librarian Indian Trail
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Great book about a tough subjecta solid purchase for middle schools. Will book talk 6/7 and will mention when I present at Summer Conference. ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dad doesnt do anything anymore. He stopped being anything at all my father, a little league coach, a storyteller, a dentist, everythingwhen he killed himself. **

Since the death of his father, Drew has a lot of thoughts that he feels he cant tell anyone. Like how angry he is at his dad and that hes afraid he might turn into his dad.

Drew has started working at the public library because he cant bear being home alone. Happily, his puppet performances, like Zombie Goldilocks, are a hit with the
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What Lane?
  • Clean Getaway
  • Chirp
  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington
  • All the Impossible Things
  • Go with the Flow
  • Dog Driven
  • The Queen Bee and Me
  • Maybe He Just Likes You
  • What Stars Are Made of
  • A Place at the Table
  • Redwood and Ponytail
  • Beginners Welcome
  • Roll with It
  • The List of Things That Will Not Change
  • When You Trap a Tiger
  • Pixie Pushes On
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
See similar books…
Jenn Bishop is the author of the middle grade novels 14 Hollow Road and The Distance to Home, which was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book, and an Editor's pick. She grew up in New England, where she fell in love with the ocean, Dels frozen lemonade, and the Boston Red Sox before escaping to college at the University of Chicago. After working as ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
19 likes · 39 comments