Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
High school senior Renzy Callen hasn’t uttered a word in years. He likes being invisible to all around him; it keeps life safe and predictable. In his attic bedroom, he experiences a world far from the drama of his family. He doodles, listens to music, and contemplates the troubled souls he observes when attending self-help meetings designed for people with problems he doesn’t have. Renzy lives his life like a spectator, always on the outside of life’s games, looking in at others.
Everything changes when Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox relocate from their glitzy lives in Paris to boring, picturesque Redcliff Hills, Missouri. Tall, platinum blond, and as put-together as a pair of European high-fashion models, the sophisticated siblings befriend Renzy, drawing him in and then pushing him away. What starts as nothing more than a means to an end for Seven, however, quickly becomes something more. Could icy-hearted Seven be thawing for the silent, quirky charm of Renzy Callen?
Determined to find the cause of Renzy’s selective mutism, the three teens set off on a road trip, during which they discover that flawless physical facades can conceal the most scarred souls, and that sometimes silence is better than golden.
It’s not often a contemporary story can astonish me with elements of uniqueness but Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney certainly did. Several times over. Starting with the protagonists themselves, the three wounded teenagers at the heart of this story, Renzy Callen, Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox.
I can’t imagine where or how the authors came up with these characters, now marked so indelibly into my heart and mind, but starting with Renzy Callen, who hasn’t talked in years, his inability to utter a sound and his method of communicating is the soul of the story. He tries to blend into his surroundings, ghosting through his life, invisible until he comes to the notice of Morning Moreau-Maddox, ateenager traumatized from a brutal rape, and through association to Morning, her brother Maddox, her constant companion and protector. Sleek, blond, seemingly self possessed, Morning recognizes a kinself with herself in Renzy, both dealing with their own traumas in different ways but still alike. For Maddox, Renzy presents a puzzle to unravel as well as one more person to act as guardian over.
This book operates on so many levels and it’s done so well, it’s actually hard to reviews. The characterizations are highly unusual, layered, remarkable. You have three separate voices that are guaranteed to stay in your head for quite some time. Especially as they grow over the course of the story, events forcing them to look at themselves, reexamine the dynamics of their own relationships from those of the siblings to that of the young lovers Renzy and Maddox. It is one complex relationship after another. Plus the close friendship that Morning has with Renzy. And that’s not even starting to get into the odd parent or should I say emotionally detached or worse parent relationships these teenagers have.
Like twisting vines of ivy, the various story threads, wind their way through each other connecting and intertwining in surprising and sometimes heartbreaking ways to uncover the truth behind Renzy’s selective mutism. It will also lead to new paths for Morning and Maddox as well.
Such an amazing novel. The writing is smooth and so well done that you don’t notice how quickly you’ve been drawn into the lives of this incredible trio until you realize it’s 2am and you haven’t stopped reading. I loved the ending. Like everything else about this story, the changes and growth of the characters to the last sentence, everything works and makes you want to read it again just to to watch it unfold all over again.
I highly recommend Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney. It’s truly one of those books you won’t want to miss.
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson. Cover art is just as unusual as the book.