Silence Interrupted, by Sania Shaikh

Two months before Troye Saavedra’s senior year of high school, his father’s drinking problem skyrockets. When Troye’s parents make an impulsive move to Georgia in order to “help” him finish high school on a positive note, he is forced to leave behind everything he knows. Things couldn’t get worse for Troye. That is, until he meets three enigmatic teenagers: Adelaide, an independent violinist with radical ideas; Zaidan, fiercely loyal and always funny; and Arabella, a girl who harbors secret struggles. Together, the four friends try to pick up the jagged pieces of their lives without getting hurt themselves. An insightful tale of perseverance, Silence Interrupted is a young adult novel about the beauty and peril of traversing the world as a teenager.

 

I now consider this to be a 3-star read. However, my initial reaction – and rating – were not as positive. In fact, I was feeling generous giving this a 2-star rating. All of this changed when I found out that the author was only sixteen when she wrote that. I was so impressed by that, that I couldn’t help but increase my rating; and here is why.

Don’t get me wrong, the book has many flaws. Time and place are almost absent, meaning that there is almost no description of the town, of the school, of the places they visit. Time also flies by; in a blink of an eye six months have passed, and there’s no evident character development to show for that. I also believe that, weren’t the author so young, she would’ve avoided certain plot points or would’ve delivered them more carefully and/or delicately.

But she is young, and reading a YA book written by an actual teenager is fascinating. Her writing may carry the weight and the possible mistakes of her youth; but her youth also shines through her characters, her witty and original dialogues, the points she chooses to address and discuss in her book. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I see actual teenagers talking, instead of seeing an adult’s perception of what they think teenagers sound like. Sania is cleverly using her age to create a world and a cast of characters that will speak to her audience, an audience consisting of young people who share problems, worries and doubts with the book’s endlessly fascinating cast.

That being said, I was not overly impressed by the book. I was impressed, however, by Sania herself and her ability to create such fleshed out, three – dimensional characters at such a young age, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye on her.

 

**An ARCopy was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

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