Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Twins Noelle and Nadio and Noelle’s best friend Keeley have been inseparable ever since they were children. But the summer before their junior year of high school, Keeley goes off to England, Noelle starts working at the ice cream parlor with new friend Jessica, and Nadio starts running at night. When Keeley returns, nothing is the same. Class issues arise, and Noelle withdraws from their trio and throws herself into her relationship with the older, more intense, and more experienced Parker.
Unbeknownst to Noelle, Nadio and Keeley form a deep, romantic bond—but something’s still off. Keeley is holding something back. All these secrets that the three former friends are keeping from one another build and build until it all threatens to explode and ruin them forever.
THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU was a so-so attempt at expressing the significance of a particular period in life for three friends. What it fails to do in terms of catching one’s attention, it makes up for in the blunt and often brutal writing style.
The most striking part of this book is the style in which it was written. It’s rather simple and blunt, and therefore evokes pain, secrets, and other appropriately dark qualities. The way it was written reminded me of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, with both of their abilities to convey difficult, gut-wrenching yet quietly overpowering feelings of adolescent loneliness.
That being said, the writing style was also what I liked least. It just seemed like too much at too many points in the story. From the very beginning of Nadio and Noelle’s narrations we get the sense that something monumental, something life-changing, has occurred to the three main characters—and yet the book never follows through on this potential. Instead, it wallows in the same feelings of teen-angst direness for most of the novel. These characters never get a break from their misery, and thus we readers don’t either, which can be immensely overwhelming and unsatisfying.
THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU is a difficult but potentially rewarding read. If you like your teen angst novels dark and mired in shoals of hopelessness, this could be for you.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)
Courtney Summers (Cracked Up to Be)
Julia Hoban (Willow)
Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 2.5 out of 5 - I'm not really sure what it has to do with the book, but I don't think the cover is half bad. I like the placement and font of the title.
Llewellyn / March 2009