Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Weight of Silence” as Want to Read:
The Weight of Silence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Weight of Silence

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  41,079 ratings  ·  4,032 reviews
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.

Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the bes
Paperback, 373 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Mira (first published August 1st 2008)
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 The Weight of Silence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Weight of Silence

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  41,079 ratings  ·  4,032 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Weight of Silence
Charlotte May
This was quite possibly the first thriller/mystery I ever read. It set the bar for future reads, and what a high bar it set!
Two young girls, Calli and Petra; in a Southern American state go missing, after which follows the small town turning on itself and on each other. There is the top suspect, Calli's alcoholic father, as well as the underlying mystery of Calli's selective mutism.
The story moves between different POV including each of the young girls, the parents and also Callie's brother. It
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I really did. It looked very fascinating on the Barnes and Noble top reads table and I waited for 3 months on a 200 person list to get it from the library. But this book was nothing special, and was undeserving of all the hype, in my opinion.

The basic plotline has been touched on already...two young girls, (one of who is a selective mute, for reasons unknown to anyone) neighbors and best friends, each go missing one morning and their families and the town sheriff go l
 Li'l Owl
Wow! The Weight of Silence is a dandy of a story! Heather Gudenkauf is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!

Seven year old Calli Clark doesn't talk. The doctor's say there's nothing physically wrong with her. One day when she was four she suddenly stopped talking. What could have happened to stop a happy, talkative child from uttering another word for three years?

Petra Gregory lives next door and is not just Calli's best friend she's also Calli's voice.

Then one summer morning the Gregor
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of suspense / mysteries with a preference for non-graphic content
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by Title and Cover
The Weight of Silence –I was drawn by the fabulous title. Keeping secrets is a coping skill we've all used, when taken to the extreme it can be deadly. Silence is this novel’s binding theme, hammered home by her choice to have the main character Calli a selective mute; a theme that lifts it above the slew of other child abduction stories currently on the market.
Calli and her best friend Petra go missing in the middle of the night. The suspicion is kidnapping, her alcoholic father the prime susp
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Heather, I don't know why I haven't read all of your books?!? This book took me on a wild ride! It was suspenseful with a good plot line and characterization. One slowly learns what happened to the girls through multiple perspectives. Good paced book that is a winner. ...more
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like family dramas with a bit of mystery
Recommended to Kristine by: Katherine Montanez
Shelves: read-in-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm not even going to bother continuing this tripe. A super duper wonderful little girl is a selective mute, and one morning she and another super duper wonderful little girl go missing. There's not a single moment of suspense, since both super duper wonderful little girls are POV characters at different points of the book, so we know they're not dead or hurt, unless it turns out they're ghosts! Wouldn't put that past this writer.

So let's go through our stock character collection: We've got the
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is one of the few books I gave 5 stars to. It was, in two words, absolutely beautiful. It's been a while since I can hardly make my eyes move across the page fast enough. Reading some of the reviews on here, I see not everyone thought it was as awesome as I did, but for some reason, this book really 'spoke' to me.

The characters Ben and Petra especially touched my heart.

"You ran upstairs to your room and wouldn't even look at me for the next ten days. But I knew you were sorry. I kept f
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely amazing novel! I found it very hard to put this novel down. This is one of those books, were you're desperate to get to the end, to find out the outcome, but at the same time, you don't want the novel to end. Heather Gudenkauf writes from the perspective of each character, and her descriptions of the violence and the fear that surround Calli and Ben are both breathtaking and heart-wrenching. ...more
I will preface this review by stating that once I picked up this book, I could not put it down.

This novel, set in rural, small-town Iowa on a hot summer day, centers around the tragic day in the lives of two American families. Two seven year old girls, neighbours and best friends to one another, go missing from their respective homes on the same early summer morning. The novel chronicles the search for the missing girls.

I love mysteries and suspenseful reads, but I generally anticipate these t
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a great story full of secrets and who-did-it suspense! Keeps you guessing and interested throughout the entire book.

As two seven year old girls are found missing from their beds, Calli a selective mute and Petra her best friend, the search begins in the woods near their home with Calli's father, a mean drunk who is supposedly away on a fishing trip a likely suspect. The story is told from each character's perspective, Ben, Calli's brother, the girl's parents and Assistant Sheriff Louis, Cal

Amy Hatvany
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I tore through this book over two days...the author does a fantastic job with building suspense around the search for two missing little girls.

A few years back (OK, like 6, whatever, who's counting?) I read Heather Gudenkauf's second novel "These Things Hidden" and I loved it. It was just one of those books that worked for me perfectly at the time, surprised me, and kept me riveted.

MAN, I wish I could say the same about this book.

I actually read (or listened) to this one during my Goodreads Hiatus of 2017, but it just wasn't the same. There were a lot of the same aspects - multiple perspectives and narrators, secrets, regrets, and tr
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Going into this book I had expected a mystery about two missing girls and while it does have its moments of suspense it was much more of a lighter character study of a group of broken souls. The book starts off with a good amount of tension and I was easily pulled into the life of Callie, a seven-year-old selective mute who goes missing along with her best friend, Petra.

The story is told via several different points of view and you're not going to like all of the characters who are quite flawed
Rhonda Ruff
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought I had read all of heathers books! Not sure how I missed this one! I literally could not put this down! The story the short quick chapters wanting to know what happened next! All of the above make for a great book! And didn’t see that coming!
Steve Lindahl
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Heather Gudenkauf's novel The Weight of Silence is a nearly perfect book with a major flaw. I'm rating this book as five stars because it gives me as much of what I want out of a story as I can get. It's a page turner at times. It has believable and flawed characters. It makes me think about situations from other people's points of view. I can't ask for more than that. Still, I couldn't get my mind off of one problem while I was reading it.

Calli Clark is a young girl, five or six years old, in a
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book – I liked it and I didn’t like it. I felt the beginning was great but then began to get weighed down with way too many words and too many details and then seemed a long time in getting to the end. After all that, we never did find out why one girl was even taken!

At four years of age little Callie stopped talking due to something her father said to her on one particular day but no one knows about this other than Callie herself. Callie’s mother Antonia is hear
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an incredible thriller with psychological undertones. After a long time, I read a book cover to cover without a single pause in between and it took me 3.5 anxiety-filled hours. This story deals with two seven year olds who disappear from their beds (or so their mothers think). One of them is a selective mute who would not speak after an incident which involved injury to her mother(I cant tell more without spoiler alert). The police and media become involved, suspicions are running to an ...more
Ruth Turner

For the most part this was an enjoyable read. Just a couple of things bugged me.

The first was the multiple narrators. The chapters all read the same to me. If I got interrupted I often had to scroll back to the beginning of the chapter to find out who's pov it was.

The side story of Petra felt like an after thought.

And the ending. Everything was tied up a just little to neatly and left me feeling flat.

Rachel Aranda
At different times, I liked and disliked this story. This book was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2009), Barry Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original (2010), and Edgar Award Nominee for Best Fiction by an American Author (2010), so I expected to really be blown away by this book. Instead I found myself reading a pretty predictable plot that at times didn’t fully interest me. If it wasn’t for the wonderful narrating cast of the audiobook then I would have DNFed this audiobook ve ...more
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I would give this one 3.5 stars.

2 young girls go missing one early morning and this book follows the day from many different character perspectives. Each chapter changes to another person and their take on what is going on. The way that the novel was laid out held my attention and made it really easy to keep reading right through it. I couldn't wait to see what happened in the end. I loved how when one chapter ended, the next chapter picked up right where the last one left off, without leaving
Jamie Knight
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing story! Absolutely loved this book.
Donna Gilles
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelf-2
Quick read and a page turner for me. The author kept me guesses as to who was responsible in hurting Petra.
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE reminds me of why I love reading for pleasure. I just randomly picked this up and practically binge-read it. Didn't even plan it. ...more
Carmaletta Hilton
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This was a hard and heavy read. Two girls, best friends, go missing one day in the middle of the woods at 4:30 AM. The little town is frenzied by their dissapperance.

The author does well at developing the characters. She makes sure that you love some characters and hate others. Intially, I was disappointed because I thought I had predicted the ending but I was so very wrong. It took a completely different turn toward the end. There were some moments, however, that I thought the author went into
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You know how, when you read a really great book, one you really love, that you slow down when you know you have those last few pages left, simply so you can savor them? The Weight of Silence was one of those books for me. Filled with heart-pounding suspense, unique, well-crafted characters that were all too human in their foibles and strengths, and a main character (Calli) whom I truly came to love, this is probably one of my favorite books this year. It's my first Heather Gudenkauf book and my ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is the first book by this author that I have read, although she has come up as a recommendation for a while. My resistance must have been intuition, because this book was not quite for me. That is not to say it is a bad book, not at all, it just felt quite long and dragged out at parts, as well as the solution feeling too sudden and almost simplistic. (I won't give away anything, but anyone who has read this might know what I mean when I say that Toni's revelation in the end felt almost ant ...more
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well written and suspenseful. I enjoyed listening to an audio version of this novel, which was told through multiple voices with various points of view. It was as much about the complexities of living in an dysfunctional, alcoholic home as it was a mystery, although I did have to sit in the garage a few times in order to wrap up a segment of the CD. The author realistically depicts the "elephant in the living room" behavior within a family, in which the alcoholic member significantly impacts the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Lose Weight With These Effective Weight Loss Tips 1 1 May 12, 2021 03:46AM  
{DEAL} 1 1 May 11, 2021 11:05PM  
Simple Tips To Help You Get The Weight Off 1 1 May 04, 2021 10:05PM  
Guide On How To Lose Weight Fast 1 1 May 03, 2021 02:56AM  
Simple Tips for Better Sleep and Weight Loss 1 1 Apr 15, 2021 05:31AM  
Fast And Easy Weight Loss Tips That Work 1 1 Apr 09, 2021 11:55PM  
Easy Ways For You To Lose Weight 1 1 Apr 09, 2021 09:59PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11
  • Invisible Girl
  • Confessions on the 7:45
  • The End of Her
  • Saving Max
  • Me & Emma
  • The Girl in Cabin 13 (Emma Griffin FBI Mystery, #1)
  • The Night Swim
  • The Other Mrs.
  • The Silent Sister (Riley MacPherson, #1)
  • Before She Disappeared
  • Panic Attack
  • The Wives
  • Playing Nice
  • The Wrong Family
  • Little Secrets
  • Don't Look for Me
  • A Good Family
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Heather is the NYT and USA Today Bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and NOT A SOUND.

Related Articles

If you ask us, it's always the perfect time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked the...
171 likes · 101 comments
“But you know all about that, being sorry and having no words to say something when you know you should but you just can't” 66 likes
“Every five-year-old kid should have a pair of happy pajamas. (217)” 41 likes
More quotes…