I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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.The Word for Yes by Claire Needell
Published by HarperTeen on February 16, 2016
Genres: Dating & Sex, Siblings, Social & Family Issues, Teen, Young Adult
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After their parents’ divorce, Jan, Erika, and Melanie have to get used to the new world order: a father who’s moved to another continent and a mother who throws herself into moving on. Jan, off at her first semester of college, has plenty to worry about, including an outspoken roommate who’s kind of “out there” and an increasingly depressed and troubled long-distance boyfriend. Her younger sisters, left at home in New York City, and dealing with all the pressures of life in high school, aren’t exactly close. Erika is serious and feels awkward and uncomfortable in crowds, though her beauty tends to attract attention. Melanie is socially savvy and just wants to go out—to concerts, to parties, wherever—with her friends. The gap between all three girls widens as each day passes.
Then, at a party full of blurred lines and blurred memories, everything changes. Starting that night, where there should be words, there is only angry, scared silence.
And in the aftermath, Jan, Erika, and Melanie will have to work hard to reconnect and help one another heal.
At once touching and raw, Claire Needell’s first novel is an honest look at the love and conflicts among sisters and friends, and how these relationships can hold us together—and tear us apart.
I hate when I don’t care for a book with an important topic. I feel like I am letting down the victims by not clicking with a book about their struggle. That is the case for me with The Word for Yes. Acquaintance rape is not a subject to be taken lightly and deserves the utmost respect. With that being said I am critiquing the book and not the subject.
The Word for Yes was a book I was excited to read. It deals with a very serious issue and I was hoping it would be similar to the tone of Thirteen Reasons Why, a richly nuanced book on teen suicide. Sadly The Word for Yes is not great. The issues lie in the characters and writing style. Told in alternating narrators the writing seemed stilted. “She did this and I was there. We picked out clothes here. I was upset about this.” There did not seem to be emotion behind the words. It was all description with no feeling. Each of the three sisters traded off narration but they did not have unique voices. It was as if each person thought and spoke the same way. A book like this, I expect to cry and connect and I never did.
The world building was minimal. You knew they lived in New York City and went to high school and college but that was it. The pacing was fine and made sense, although the ending seemed rushed. The plot seemed great in the synopsis but again, seemed stilted. I expected rich details and flowing plot points, but saw it more as “We did this, it was done.”
I can see Claire Needell growing into a powerful writer if she can meld the emotion with the description. The Word for Yes had the potential to be great but just fell short. I hope Needell continues to write and grow and I would read her next book.
Favorite lines – Pain and injury were private, she knew that. If someone told you the story of a scar, a part of them was lying. They would omit the moment of shock and fear, the crying, the beating of their heart, the desperate look around for someone to make it better.
Biggest cliché – “If I’m pretty and dressed well all is fine.”
Have you read The Word for Yes, or added it to your TBR?