I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell by Liane Shaw
Published by Second Story Press on April 5, 2016
Genres: Depression & Mental Illness, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Sixteen-year-old Frederick has a lot of rules for himself. Like if someone calls him Freddy he doesn’t have to respond; he only wears shirts with buttons and he hates getting dirty. His odd behavior makes him an easy target for the “Despisers” at school, but he’s gotten used to eating lunch alone in the Reject Room.
Angel, in tenth grade but already at her sixth school, has always had a hard time making friends because her family moves around so much. Frederick is different from the other kids she’s met - he’s annoyingly smart, but refreshingly honest - and since he’s never had a real friend before, she decides to teach him all her rules of friendship.
But after Angel makes a rash decision and disappears, Frederick is called in for questioning by the police and is torn between telling the truth and keeping his friend’s secret. Her warning to him - don’t tell, don’t tell, don’t tell - might have done more harm than good.
Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell by Liane Shaw had some great moments and some not so great moments. I loved the first half of the book. Frederick was a fantastic narrator and I really enjoyed seeing his world through his eyes. I was hooked and so engaged. Then Angel began trading off narration of the chapters and I was turned off. She was whiny and so self-centered that I could no longer enjoy the story. If the whole book would have been in Frederick’s voice I think it would have been an unqualified winner, but with the dual narration, it lost that unique spark.
The plot of Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell had so much going for it. I really enjoyed the take of a story told from the perspective of a person who sees the world through his own filter. But then Angel took over as the other narrator and it threw off the story as a whole. The writing of Liane Shaw was interesting and I did enjoy the first half of the book while Frederick was narrating. Then it was unique and had such a distinct voice. Once the other narrator joined, the writing seemed to change. The pacing was spot on and I enjoyed the quick clip of the story. The world built was decent, but lacked definition. There was not a huge range of emotions in this read. When your main character is a young man with a limited emotional range that is to be expected. I loved the portrayal of Frederick with Asperger’s. He was an engaging narrator and I enjoyed his thought process. Angel and Frederick’s mom both turned me off. Angel is a selfish girl who only thought of herself and Frederick’s mom had no idea how to relate to her son and seemed to be angry with him for the way he acted. I am always disappointed in a book that features a lead with a different way of being and the parents cannot handle it. It just seems like a cheap way of creating tension to me.
I did enjoy reading Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, I just really loved the first half and was meh about the second half. Liane Shaw did a great job speaking for Frederick but then could not keep the engagement up when she added Angel’s voice. As a whole I would tilt this more towards the good side than the bad as Frederick was such a special voice, but it was not a home run.
Favorite lines – My mother calls it facing the music. I know what it means—owning up to something you did wrong and taking your consequences. But why is it called that? How do you face music? You can’t see it, unless you have an oscilloscope and I don’t think the expression is about sound waves. Maybe it’s about being a conductor, who is someone who faces musicians who are making music…except you orchestrated a lie instead of a symphony.
Biggest cliché – But you should do what I want because I want it.
Have you read Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge