The Things I Didn’t Say – Kylie Fornasier – Penguin Australia – Published 2 May 2016
I hate the label Selective Mutism – as if I choose not to speak, like a child who refuses to eat broccoli. I’ve used up every dandelion wish since I was ten wishing for the power to speak whenever I want to. I’m starting to wonder if there are enough dandelions.
After losing her best friend that night, Piper Rhodes changes schools, determined that her final year will be different. She will be different. Then she meets West: school captain, star soccer player, the boy everyone talks about. Despite her fear of losing everything all over again, Piper falls in love – and West with her – without Piper ever speaking one word to him. But will it last?
I really enjoyed Things I Didn’t Say. It is a beautiful and compelling story about romance, falling in love, social anxiety, best friends, new friends, family, standing up against bullying and looking forward to the future.
It’s funny, from the front cover I assumed this story would be darker, sadder, that some horrible tragedy had befallen the main character. And yet that is exactly what Piper fights against in people’s ideas of her Selective Mutism, which is connected to anxiety rather than a traumatic event. And so this is an uplifting story. It is set in the Blue Mountains, Australia, and of course I loved the familiar landscape and Aussie references.