Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow. Liana Gardner sure pulls at your heartstrings with Speak No Evil.
Melody Fisher has been shunted from foster home to foster home ever since the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father. Every time she has spoken up to defend herself, something even worse happens, so she gradually falls into silence. But now, she needs to speak again, to tell her side of why she stabbed Troy.
Gardner brings you on a journey of recovery through song and memory as Dr Kane, Melody's therapist, uses the one thing that holds Melody together to help her communicate again: music. She anchors each chapter in a song, using the lyrics--beautifully written by Lucas Astor-- to bridge Melody's present and her traumatic past. Melody's gift may be the gift of song, but Gardner's true gift is evoking the emotions of a vulnerable young girl and giving her voice through this story.
Melody's story isn't an unfamiliar one. Right from the beginning, I knew why she stabbed Troy. Discounting insanity--and Melody is definitely not insane--there can only be one reason why a young girl would attack a bright, promising young athlete. Only one reason why courts and public opinion would want to side with a promising, white jock against the word of a troubled, mixed-race girl. We've seen it in the news all too often. She must be lying. Gardner holds no punches, describing the things that happened, not in a voyeuristic, pornographic or erotic way, but in Melody's dark memories and trauma--take this as a content/trigger warning.
Yet, in the midst of the darkness, shines a beacon of hope:
It is not your fault.
You are more than your past.
You are stronger than you think you are.
You are a survivor.
We will stand with you.
If these are the words you need to hear, let Gardner whisper it to you again and again through Dr Kane's patience, Rebecca Prescott's persistence, and Quatie Raincrow's love and wisdom.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Vesuvian Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Speak No Evil releases on 1 October 2019.