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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Words We Never Say by Heidi Dischler is a moving young adult romance that pulls on your heartstrings. It centers on college-age Emery McQuain, who thinks she has her life pretty much in hand--plans for college, a boyfriend who loves her even if she is unsure of her feelings for him, and a family. She can't understand why her mother is being down about things. Still, Emery is happy, but a tragic car accident takes all of that away. She loses her mother and brother, but she lives. The driver left them to die. Her sleep is haunted by nightmares, and she struggles to find happiness again, but it's hard when her dad wishes she had been the one to die, instead of her mother. And then Grayson enters the picture, and he can sympathize with her because he's lost a mother too. As they bond, she has a confident feeling that she will recover and find happiness again, but there is a nagging feeling that something is wrong. Still troubled by nightmares, she isn't sure whether Grayson is helping her, and she doesn't know if healing is even possible.
Dischler has created a magnetic story that builds with emotion and drama. I like how the author starts out by introducing the key players as they go about their normal lives--Emery saying goodbye to her boyfriend as he leaves, her mom Amelia being teary over her daughter growing up and planning to go to college, her little brother Jaxx being a regular eleven-year-old, her parents sharing an embrace. You get to know the characters before the tragedy happens, and you really feel for Emery's situation. As a reader, you begin to wonder if she'll ever pull through the grief, and you welcome Grayson when he tries to help her. The author has created a very relatable story, and characters that are realistic. One minute everything is fine, the next, Emery's world is turned upside down. I like that Dischler put some mystery around the story, and by the time everything comes to a head, you are invested as well as moved emotionally. This writer knows her characters and audience well and writes with honesty and intimacy. Words We Never Say by Heidi Dischler is a must-read for those looking for a meaningful story.