POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Book Review: Silence by Deborah Lytton

Author: Deborah Lytton
Title: Silence
Genre: Romance; Young Adult
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (Deseret Book)
Number of Pages: 320
Narrators: Stella Layne and Hayden Rivers
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 29 reviews, the average reader rating was 83.45%.

Silence by Deborah Lytton

What’s It About?

Stella is a shy, fifteen year old girl who is having trouble adjusting to her new school–following the divorce of her parents and the relocation of her, her mother, and her sister to a new town. She feels out of place, even as her only friend tries to pull her into the popular crowd. The only thing she has going for her, she believes, is her voice. When she sings, she doesn’t feel invisible. And, when her voice lands her the lead in the high school musical, she feels like she actually has a shot at being normal.

Hayden is an awkward and quiet boy with a speech impediment who is new to the same school as Stella. While he tries to keep his distance, he can’t help but be drawn to Stella–there’s just something about her that makes him want to reach out. But he is emotionally scarred by an abusive past and prefers to keep everyone at an arm’s length. Besides, he is embarrassed by his slow speech and prefers to stay quiet. How could he start a relationship with Stella if he can’t even speak to her?

When Stella is accidentally knocked unconscious and falls into a swimming pool at a party, fate intervenes and Hayden is there to save her from drowning. But when she wakes up, she has lost her hearing–and the only dream she ever cared about. Temporarily deaf, she loses her spot in the musical and falls into a depression. While waiting for an operation that can restore her hearing, Hayden begins to show her all that she can do without it. As the two spend more and more time together, they begin to fall in love. But, can Hayden really give his heart away when his past has already broken it? Is he good enough for Stella? And, is Stella willing to abandon her former dream when she discovers things about herself she never realized until Hayden showed up?

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy young adult love stories, like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, you will love this book. The alternating first person narration between Stella and Hayden gives insight into how each character feels about the blossoming relationship. The tone, despite the characters’ damaged childhoods, is light and laced with hope. With an uplifting conclusion, this tale is a love story–not a tragedy. The chapters are short and language easily digestible. There are also many references to various arts–music, poetry, painting, etc. So, if you’re nostalgic about the role that the arts played in your high school years, you may also enjoy this story for that reason.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Reading Bifrost, Mel’s Shelves, Bookworm Lisa

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Deborah Lytton: Jane in Bloom (2009)

Book Review: Aquarium by David Vann

Author: David Vann
Title: Aquarium
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (Grove/Atlantic)
Number of Pages: 272
Narrator: Caitlin Thompson
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: C, Average; of the first 62 reviews, the average reader rating was 74.52%.

Aquarium by David Vann

What’s It About?

Caitlin is a twelve year old girl growing up in Seattle during the mid-1990s. Her mother–the only parent she has–frequently works late in order for them to eke out an existence together in a low rent apartment complex. Having nowhere else to go, Caitlin leaves school everyday and spends her afternoons at the local Aquarium watching the fish. One day, she meets an old man who also frequents the aquarium to watch the fish. Little by little, they begin to develop a friendship.

Caitlin’s mom has cut herself off from her family, and she never talks about her past. When she finds out that Caitlin has been talking to an old man, she jumps to the conclusion that the old man is a pervert and seeks to confront him. What she discovers, however, is that her past has come back to haunt her and the old man is no stranger–at least not in the way she thinks.

As Caitlin’s mother attempts to avoid dealing with her past, she reveals a hidden rage and becomes increasingly abusive with those around her–including her new boyfriend, her daughter’s friend from school, and even her own daughter. Caitlin must struggle with loving her mother in spite of the rage she exhibits, all the while seeking love herself from the others who are coming into her life as she grows older.

Should You Read It?

If you like stories about self-discovery, inner struggles, and broken family relationships, you’ll probably enjoy this book. The writing is rhythmic and poetic, while capturing the perspective of a child trying to understand the world of adults. Themes involve sexual exploration, coming of age, child abuse, forgiveness, and regret. If you’re into literary fiction that grapples with these issues, I’d look into this book. If you’re sensitive to the ideas of child abuse, child sexuality, or homosexuality, I would exercise caution–while not necessarily graphic, the scenes involving these issues can become fairly intense.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Wikipedia, Goodreads

Book Reviews: New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, Chicago Tribune

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By David Mann: Goat Mountain (2013), Dirt (2012), Caribou Island (2011)