Release Date: 09/16/14
Summary from Goodreads:
Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.
Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can't let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm's length.
But by the time Rex's charm wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the "just friends" shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it's the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.
"Nothing is free in this world. I learned that a long time ago."
When a new guy buys Ellen Grayson a Diet Coke, those words above are the ones she thinks. Wow, right? Ellen hasn't had it easy. Deceased father, mother couldn't handle the loss of her husband and sought solace in alcohol or drugs. Thank goodness her older brother Robbie took her away. But not far enough away. She occasionally sees her mom, drunk or high, and a teacher, Mr. H. made a move on her before the summer began. With Rex, the one who buys her soda and candy bars, she has a new friend. And just when I thought this novel was going to be a sweet summer romance, Louder Than Words became something else.
Something bigger. Something better. Ellen Grayson became a character I respected tremendously. What she endures when she speaks out against a teacher, Mr. Hamer, is bullying and abusive but she stays strong, deeply rooted in her conviction. Like Melinda in Speak, she discovers a way to find her voice, but unlike that classic YA character, Ellen was not a victim. She could have been but wasn't. Instead she decides to speak up for others despite the repercussions.
Author Iris St. Clair has done a wonderful job with this story. I was immediately drawn into the book by Ellen's voice. Humorous, vulnerable, questioning, true, her realistic ways touched me and brought back my own teen memories. Her friends, the adorably casual Rex and Lizzy, were also favorites. The special friendship she develops with Rex added a charm to a gripping contemporary YA with serious subject matter and a sigh worthy romance. Louder Than Words is definitely not your average YA romance and I wouldn't have it any other way. I totally loved this book and recommend it!
One of my favorite book designers created this cover and it perfectly reflects the story. Ellen isn't average and neither is this cover. The font gives it character, the blue background helps it pop and the megaphone is great.
I received a promotional copy.
$10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Louder Than Words (INT)