Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE by Heather Gudenkauf

This is one of those books I really loved so I know writing the review will be challenging.  It seems the better the book; the harder I find it is to review.  Perhaps because I want to share so much, I'm afraid I'll share too much.  Here goes...

Two seven year old girls have disappeared.  The two are neighbors and best friends.  Each girl was tucked into bed by parents who awakened early the next morning to discover their little girls were missing.

Calli was last seen wearing a pink nightgown and no shoes.  Since the age of four, Calli has not spoken a word.  No one is sure what caused her selective mutism, however, witnessing an incident of domestic violence which ended in her pregnant mother tumbling down a flight of stairs and losing the baby as a result most likely provides the answer.

Petra is not only Calli's best friend but also her voice.  Her parents are frantic when they discover their only child has disappeared.  She is described as wearing blue pajamas, tennis shoes, and a musical note necklace.

Many twisted secrets complicate the search for the two little girls.  Calli's older brother Ben strikes off into the woods on his own believing that he knows exactly what has happened.  Calli's mother Antonia desperately wants to join the search, but the authorities want her available for questioning.  Petra's parents are fighting the urge to immediately place blame on Calli's brother Ben or their alcoholic father Griff Clark.

Author Heather Gudenkauf presents the story through multiple viewpoints.  THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE was a gripping tale from page one to the very end.  Although published as an adult novel, it would work as an excellent crossover book for many YA readers.

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