Review Blog

Oct 13 2015

Silence is goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

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Indigo, 2015. ISBN 9781510100435
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Tess has just found out a secret - a secret that hurts her deeply and turns her world upside down. Nothing can be as it was before. She becomes mute, in a silent rebellion as she reels from the hurt and shock. But a fish-shaped torch that she clasps in her pocket becomes a voice for all her hopes and fears as she struggles to navigate her changed world, losing her dearest friend in the process, and unsure who she should trust and who she should not.
Readers will readily identify with the themes of struggling to find personal identity, broken friendships, and battles with school bullies - particularly the nastiness of anonymous cyberbullying. The conversations she has with the toy Mr Goldfish are a perfect foil for the confusion in her mind - who is a friend, who is enemy, and who can she really trust?
I read this book in one sitting, swept along with Tess in the stream of consciousness technique that takes us inside her mind - it is a natural and authentic voice that quickly draws in the reader and has its moments of humour as well. The conclusion is a rewarding affirmation of acceptance of self and others, and finding true and lasting relationships.
Silence is goldfish is Annabel Pitcher's third novel - her two previous novels My sister lives on the mantelpiece and Ketchup clouds are both award winners (Branford Boase award and Waterstone's Children's Prize respectively) and this book clearly is of the same calibre.
Helen Eddy

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