High school senior Renzy Callen hasn’t uttered a word in years. He likes being invisible to all around him; it keeps life safe and predictable. In his attic bedroom, he experiences a world far from the drama of his family. He doodles, listens to music, and contemplates the troubled souls he observes when attending self-help meetings designed for people with problems he doesn’t have. Renzy lives his life like a spectator, always on the outside of life’s games, looking in at others.
Everything changes when Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox relocate from their glitzy lives in Paris to boring, picturesque Redcliff Hills, Missouri. Tall, platinum blond, and as put-together as a pair of European high-fashion models, the sophisticated siblings befriend Renzy, drawing him in and then pushing him away. What starts as nothing more than a means to an end for Seven, however, quickly becomes something more. Could icy-hearted Seven be thawing for the silent, quirky charm of Renzy Callen?
Determined to find the cause of Renzy’s selective mutism, the three teens set off on a road trip, during which they discover that flawless physical facades can conceal the most scarred souls, and that sometimes silence is better than golden.
Title: Sound of Silence
Authors: Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney
Release Date: January 23rd 2018
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Maybe someone “like me” is supposed to feel shitty about himself. Maybe I’m supposed to feel small and broken and weak. But I never really did. When I was small, I thought of it like a superpower. It vanquished my stutter and got the other kids to ignore me. It was like turning invisible and even had a name, so sayeth the GP I saw when I was seven.
Selective mutism. Isn’t that amazing? Selective mutism is such a misnomer, at least to me. That makes it sound like seven-year-old Renzy could talk, but he chose not to. I promise you this, I wasn’t hoarding my words back then. I couldn’t speak. When I would try, I would become so anxious and get so dizzy, my nose would bleed. I even passed out a couple of times.
Does that sound like a dragon hoarding his prized words? No. I couldn’t speak.
So here’s the big Q. Can I speak now? Am I physically able to vibrate those ol’ vocal cords? Could I force a few words out if I were alone in the attic? I honestly don’t know, and right now, even thinking about talking makes my throat seize up. I rub my neck and the muscles there are tight. I was okay until the thing with Seven at the lockers, then I started to feel closed in. The gazelle to Seven’s cheetah—socially claustrophobic. In that moment, I felt more like the seven-year-old with selective mutism than the nineteen-year-old who doesn’t worry about these things. If it came down to vocal confrontation or taking a punch, I would gladly go home with the black eye.
It’s the questions.
It’s when I can’t get away from the questions.
Jesus, even thinking about it is making me crazy. I’ve got to get back to Heart Aflame. What’s going on tonight? Overeaters and a knitters’ prayer group, I think. That’ll do. No one will ask me anything. I can sit in the corner and design some tats. Everything will be fine.
Hmmmm, I did not expect this one. Not usually one for YA’s , I was intreiged by the premise of this story. Renzy, had his voice ripped away from him at a young age, for so long he couldn’t speak, but now that he’s a teenager, he just doesn’t. He doesn’t know if he can or not, he just knows that he doesn’t… It’s fine with the people of his house, though… they just seem to overlook him after all this time. My heart broke for him so much in the beginning, because imagine that, what it would be like to live in a home where nobody even saw you. You were just a shadow that lives in the attic…. Never fitting in anywhere, never belonging, but always wanting to. It was just…sad. Renzy though, he just keeps on, keeping on….
However, Renzy has a thing for group therapy… all kinds, any kinds, he doesn’t care. He just goes. The same building, different groups, he just observes….getting what he needs from all of them, even if he doesn’t quite know what that is. That’s where he meets Morning; at a rape survivor’s meeting. She’s annoyed with him at first, but, he kind of has a way about him. He’s charming and he doesn’t seem to let anyone get him down. Even mornings older brother Seven.
Seven…. Is something else… Have you ever seen the Ryan Phillipe movie, Cruel Intentions? He reminds me so much of that character. He’s arrogant and douchey and thinks mighty highly of himself because he’s so cultured and educated. He was annoying at first and I wasn’t sure I was going to like him. However, something tragic happened to his sister and with absentee parents, he had to take on the role of her mother and father, brother, friend, babysitter, ….everything. He was everything to her, and then she got hurt and he was everything times ten! He took that job very seriously and he liked being needed. He wanted to fix her, and in the beginning, she needed it. Upon meeting Renzy though, they turned their focus on him, on fixing him… and sure, Seven goes about it the wrong way at first and I really wanted to knock him out, but heart was always in the right place. He meant well and once he started caring about Renzy, he just wanted the two people in the world that he cared about, to be happy, instead of haunted. And they both were, they both were haunted by something tragic from their past.
So, here is where it gets tricky…. Trying to find out the reason Renzy didn’t speak. Trying to figure out the thing that happened to him, that caused him to lose his voice. After a big blow out with his parents, Renzy, Seven and Morning jump in the car with what little clues that have and set out about finding out what happened to Renzy. It’s crazy, the whole thing and just when you think you have it figured out…. You don’t.
It’s crazy because, with mysteries such as these, I often find myself bored and skipping to the end to figure out what everything was about… but this one, I was gripping every page until the end. Again, what you think you know…. You don’t.
The ending was a bit bittersweet for me. I hated how it ended so abruptly, just as things were finally okay with Renzy and Seven. It’s like… we went through this whole thing and get a tiny glimpse of their happy and BAM, it’s over. Didn’t like that.
What I loved through all of it though, I loved that Morning and Seven was there for Renzy when he needed someone most. I love how they took care of him and wanted to help him so much and just make him happy. And I loved the way in through all that, it helped Morning to heal. I loved how Seven and Renzy was there for Morning, in a way that gave her something to care about again. It was kind of surprising that these were supposed to be just kids, because their problems were so real and expertly handled. I never once felt like they were kids, in a YA situation.
I also loved Renzy’s dad. His family and how finally, after all the years of overlooking him, they truly did care for him. Especially his dad. I loved that. What a good dad he turned out to be.
Overall, it was a really good, emotional read. I’d definitely recommend it!
4 pieces of eye candy from me!
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.
Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.
Raine O’Tierney loves writing about first loves and friendship. She believes the best thing we can do in this life is be kind to one another, and hopes her stories always reflect that. Raine loves encouraging people to write and has been known to repeat the phrase “I believe everyone has a story to tell” endlessly, until she breaks down even the most stubborn non-writer!
Raine lives outside of Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, fellow M/M author Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job.
Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!