Hot Key, 2019
As soon as I read the subject matter of this boldly designed book, I knew that I had to devour it. It’s a character driven; UK Young Adult contemporary novel based on mental health. Not to be disappointed when I began reading, I was drawn into the stories of the three girls. I loved the author’s note at the beginning which really set the tone for the book.
The book tells the story of 3 young girls from 3 very different lives, but they all have one sad fact in common, the want to die. As a result the girls each sign up to a website that is designed to pair people with other people who want to die. But it is this pack that brings the 3 girls together and allows them to find the support that they each needed.
As I learnt more about why Mehreen, Olivia and Cara had joined MementoMori. I really began to connect and empathize with the diverse characters which weren’t the sole focus of the story and didn’t define the characters entirely. Mehreen’s religion was an important factor, but she was so much more than just that and was such a real character that, despite me being from a totally different background, I could relate. I found it to be the same with all the characters and that was something that I think Yasmin really excelled at with this novel and its unusual typeface
So, the website sets a time place and course of death for the girls, and as the date of termination (as it is referred to) approaches the girls have to complete a task that is set and send photographic proof. The first 2 tasks the girls do with easy, but it is when the 3rd task arrives that the girls admit that they have changed their minds.
The problem is the website doesn’t want to let the girls out. After all, they signed up and agreed to the terms and conditions. Pushing the girls to their breaking point the girls begin to crumble and turn on each other.
This is an interesting book, but as I first mentioned you need to be careful when reading this story as it is an emotional and mental journey. It has to be noted that this book contains many triggers, for those that vulnerable to such material. Topics touched upon, besides suicide, include self-harm, rape and severe anxiety and depression. I personally was okay with all of these and found that they were handled very sensitively and not in a way that made for uncomfortable reading.
All the Things We Never Said is not a typical YA book. I believe that it is a book that can help to open dialogue and get people talking about their feelings and issues, instead of hiding behind a mask that so many people use today to hide how they are truly feeling.
This book highlights the importance of speaking, talking about your problems, and how you are feeling. As it is through these actions, the characters realize that they are not alone and that the simple act of talking to someone openly and honestly can change your perspective.
An audiobook is also available for those that may have issues with the typeface.
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