The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet (Unabridged)
by Charity Tahmaseb
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Sometimes staying silent is the biggest lie of all. Sophomore Jolia does the one thing no one expects from the girl who has perfected the art of keeping quiet. She joins the speech team. Jolia can't confess the real reason - not to her best friend, her new teammates, or even to crush - worthy rival Sam who offers to coach her in secret. Keeping quiet might be the easy way out, but when what Jolia doesn't say starts to hurt those around her, it might just cost her a best friend, her spot on the team, and even Sam. But she isn't the only one with a secret. It's going to take words - her words - to make things right. If only Jolia can find them.
AudioBook: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Jolia is a sophomore in high school: for much of her life she’s avoided speaking because of an insecurity about her looks. While intelligent, possessed of a great sense of humor and a vast list of interests, she’s typical of many of her age: worried about the thoughts of others allowing it to affect her in ways that impact her friendships, her openness and her confidence. When a failing grade presents and option to join the Speech and Debate team, Jolia’s worst fears are coming to life: speaking in public, Even more troubling, she can’t share the reasons for this change to anyone: not her friends, not even the object of her crush, Sam, a member of another school’s team.
The ‘saying nothing’ holds strongly through Jolia’s life: she doesn’t want to cause waves, so she usually remains quiet and watchful. The push to join the Speech and Debate team to improve her failing grade in speech class, becomes the path Jolia will travel to find her voice and solidify her own sense of self.
Solid prose and a strong arc for the story trajectory solidly support the engaging and well written point of view for Jolia: her rich internal life, her thought processes and observations on the various students, their relationships, behaviors and interactions Jolia’s friends are all presented, both pre- and post- Speech team, and the solid feel of being in the mix of Jolia during her day. A few twists and big reveals turn out to be so much less important than Jolia feared early on, and she does discover that silence is golden, but that the choice to provide support through silence, or simply avoiding issues by not speaking are two very different things, and she learns to speak up and out based on those differences.
Narration for this story is provided by Ashley Klanac and her voice for Jolia is solid and completely engaging. While she manages to insert the tones, emotional overlay and small variations to immediacy or hesitancy that were fully indicated by the text and situation. Each new character introduced was placed with care, their voices noticeably different without running into issues with over-emoting or sounding just ‘too’ caricature, despite some particularly clownish behaviors.
A lovely story that tackles the issue of facing your fears and learning more than expected along the way. A touch of a sweetly developed romance, plenty of interactions and social commentary and a well-defined growth arc for the main character, this is a story to please many and will speak to teens and tweens alike.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Blast for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.