Review: All The Things We Never Said

*** = three stars =  no spoilers!

WHY I CHOSE IT: I was browsing the YA section of Waterstones because I wanted to find inspiration for my own work. I saw this book and thought it would be useful to analyse the structure of the plot, which contains multiple narratives.

THE PLOT: The novel has three protagonists: Mehreen, Cara and Olivia, who are all teenagers coping with mental illness. They each separately reach a low point during the first three chapters, which are from the viewpoint of each of the girls in turn, and join a website that matches them together in a suicide pact. The majority of the novel depicts the three girls developing a friendship, which makes them want to stop their suicide pact. However, the website won’t let them stop progressing towards their death date and a number of events happen that obstruct them from reaching their goal.

MY RATING: This is a very solid debut YA novel from new author Yasmin Rahman. I like that Rahman has depicted Mehreen as a positive Muslim role model who embraces and finds solace in her faith. The novel follows a very clear structure and, although each of the girls narrate the chapters in turn, there is a slight focus on Mehreen as the lead character. Each of the protagonists has a clear voice, which is helped by the typeface and poetic placement of words in Olivia’s sections. My only criticism is that the novel tackles a breadth of issues, including sexual abuse, living with disabilities, anxiety and depression, but I would have enjoyed more depth into each of the topics. Even though it was a very emotional read, I felt that I could have been immersed in the despair of each of the characters a little bit more, which would have made the climax more resonant. I felt it was well-written and well-structured but I’ve only given the novel three stars because I didn’t feel enough personal impact. See here for my quite harsh scoring system.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: N/A. Despite the intense subject matter there was no quote or word of wisdom that particularly stuck with me.

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