Words We Don't Say

Words We Don't Say

Joel Higgins has 901 unsent text messages saved on his phone.Ever since the thing that happened, there are certain people he hasn't been able to talk to in person. Sure, he shows up at school, does his mandatory volunteer hours at the soup kitchen, and spends pretty much every moment thinking about Eli, the most amazing girl in the world. But that doesn't mean he's keeping...

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Title:Words We Don't Say
Author:K.J. Reilly
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Words We Don't Say Reviews

  • Judy Beetem

    Words We Don't Say is my favorite book of all those I read and reviewed this summer. I wish I could give it more that 5 stars. K. J. Reilly does a fantastic job of capturing the language and technology of modern high school students. Joel is an angry seventeen-year-old. His best friend Andy is no longer in the picture - we find out why as the story progresses. Joel is working at the local soup kitchen accompanied by Eli , a girl he's loved since second grade, and Benj, an odd boy who supposedly

    Words We Don't Say is my favorite book of all those I read and reviewed this summer. I wish I could give it more that 5 stars. K. J. Reilly does a fantastic job of capturing the language and technology of modern high school students. Joel is an angry seventeen-year-old. His best friend Andy is no longer in the picture - we find out why as the story progresses. Joel is working at the local soup kitchen accompanied by Eli , a girl he's loved since second grade, and Benj, an odd boy who supposedly killed his parents and now lives with his aunt. Joel modified his counselor's suggestion that he journal, to writing text messages that he saves as drafts and never sends.. The title refer to the texts. He texts the Principal of the High School with hilarious suggestions for improving the school ( great ideas really). He texts Eli love notes and confessions, and he texts Andy notes on his life and whatever is on his mind. As Joel and his friends spend more time at the soup kitchen, they get to know the regulars and learn about veterans, PTSD and many of the injustices of the world. Joel refers to his parents by their first names - Jackson and Jesus, Mary (you'll have to read the book for the explanation). He also has a 5-year-old brother. His interactions with them are real and made we want to be a part of their family. Joel is a really good guy with problems with his anger. He's able to work through them with the help of his friends and his family in ways that are funny and heart-breaking while staying true to character..

    I really, really enjoyed reading this book. It's hard to convey how special and entertaining it is without giving away key points. I plan to buy several copies for my library as soon as comes available in October, as well as some for gifts. I hope you enjoy it as much as it did. I'm positive middle and high school students will love it.

  • Dianne

    Joel Higgins undergoes a coming of age and social awakening while doing mandatory volunteer hours at a soup kitchen. Between pining for the girl he loves, communicating his thoughts through unsent text messages and building connections with the people served at the soup kitchen, Joel’s world shrinks into perspective in comparison with the world around him.

    Dramatic, comedic, heart aching and sincere,

    by K.J. Reilly is a chaotic journey through a teen boy’s mind as he traverses

    Joel Higgins undergoes a coming of age and social awakening while doing mandatory volunteer hours at a soup kitchen. Between pining for the girl he loves, communicating his thoughts through unsent text messages and building connections with the people served at the soup kitchen, Joel’s world shrinks into perspective in comparison with the world around him.

    Dramatic, comedic, heart aching and sincere,

    by K.J. Reilly is a chaotic journey through a teen boy’s mind as he traverses the minefields of growing up in the maze called life. All isn’t so bad once you begin to figure it out and accept that the differences and even the rules all around can be the best parts.

    This is a treasure to read, share and enjoy!

    I received a complimentary ARC edition from Disney-Hyperion!

    Publisher: Disney Hyperion (October 2, 2018)

    Publication Date: October 2, 2018

    Genre: YA Coming of Age

    Print Length: 288 pages

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  • Jessica

    Thanks to Netgalkey for the ARC! Joel Higgins is an interesting character. He saves most of his text messages instead of sending them and thinks of replies in his head while he says what people want to hear. While you might say that’s probably typical of a lot of teenagers, I say he’s still not typical. He thinks and feels so much as he is volunteering at a soup kitchen and struggling with the absence of his best friend and being a big brother and good son and teen in “strong like” with a fellow

    Thanks to Netgalkey for the ARC! Joel Higgins is an interesting character. He saves most of his text messages instead of sending them and thinks of replies in his head while he says what people want to hear. While you might say that’s probably typical of a lot of teenagers, I say he’s still not typical. He thinks and feels so much as he is volunteering at a soup kitchen and struggling with the absence of his best friend and being a big brother and good son and teen in “strong like” with a fellow student. I love his mind and how he is sarcastic and honest with himself, even if it takes some time to manifest that true honesty. The characters he comes in contact with both challenge and change him, and they added humor to the story, too. Benj is ridiculous but reveals so much more to his story as the book progresses, and the fact that he refers to his mom as “Jesus, Mary” because his dad says that so much made me smile until the end of the book.

    There are some twists and turns in here that I sort of saw coming (luckily not as tragic or traumatic as they could have been), and the love interest is realistic, thank goodness.

    This book is one that wasn’t incredibly complex and deep compared to others I read, but it is one I find myself still thinking about a week after I read it.

    Just FYI there is some profanity and some more mature themes and topics in here.

  • B220

    I think I might secretly be Joel Higgins! Joel writes, but doesn't send, text messages to people (alive and dead) because he just can never come right out and say the things he's thinking. He texts his beautiful friend Eli, his principal, and his recently deceased best friend Andy. Joel is just trying to make it through high school after his best friend has died. Those words, though left unsaid, may be what saves Joel.

    Joel volunteers at a soup kitchen with Eli where Joel meets Rooster, a PTSD su

    I think I might secretly be Joel Higgins! Joel writes, but doesn't send, text messages to people (alive and dead) because he just can never come right out and say the things he's thinking. He texts his beautiful friend Eli, his principal, and his recently deceased best friend Andy. Joel is just trying to make it through high school after his best friend has died. Those words, though left unsaid, may be what saves Joel.

    Joel volunteers at a soup kitchen with Eli where Joel meets Rooster, a PTSD suffering veteran who does not speak, but it seems to be at the kitchen where their relationship blossoms-relationship with both Eli and Rooster, (or becomes something more than nothing). Rooster ends up giving Joel a gun and that sets this story off in a crazy direction.

    I really related to Joel, and I think a lot of kids will too. How often do we think things, want to say things, want to type things, and then not do it?

    This book starts very differently than it ends. I like that about it. There are a few tear-jerking moments near the end as well that brings everything nicely to a close!

  • Tziggy

    I had this tabbed as 3 stars half way through. But then so much came together pulling social awareness of so many things into the story. Ending in something more than just a basic YA novel.

  • Kaya

    Oh, wow.

    RTC (my blog tour stop is on October 26!)

  • Brigitte

    I didn’t expect much from this book. I only picked it up because it said a kid liked banned books, so duh I had to read it. This book is everything... the characters are diverse and have so much heart! The plot hits ptsd of veterans and kids with trauma, homelessness, loss, family and friendship with a little crush thrown in. This book definitely is one of the top young adult books I have read this year. Make sure to read the end of the acknowledgments. Made me tear up.

  • Brenda Ayala

    I love the message behind this book but the book itself was a drag to read. I’ve never been a huge fan of internal monologues, so when a book adopts that style to tell a story I’m instantly turned off to it. Way too many long winded run-on sentences!!

    Mostly nothing happens. Many of the pages are things that don’t matter. The pages that DO matter were too on the nose—did you know many books are banned!? Did you know that lots of people die from drunk driving!? Did you know many homeless are veter

    I love the message behind this book but the book itself was a drag to read. I’ve never been a huge fan of internal monologues, so when a book adopts that style to tell a story I’m instantly turned off to it. Way too many long winded run-on sentences!!

    Mostly nothing happens. Many of the pages are things that don’t matter. The pages that DO matter were too on the nose—did you know many books are banned!? Did you know that lots of people die from drunk driving!? Did you know many homeless are veterans!? Did you know that everyone can have PTSD and it shows up in unexpected ways!?

    It was too contrived and too heavy handed, contrasted with pointless bits about Joel’s day. The worst ones for me were the cutest texts where he goes on and on and on about how the school should buy students Harleys or Mustangs.

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    This book begins in the middle of a shift at a soup kitchen. We are introduced to Joel and his many, MANY rambling thoughts and we are never taken out of his head space. Ever since "the thing that happened", he's been unable to talk to certain people. Instead, he drafts text messages to them and never sends them. (I actually tried and can't do this on my phone!)

    I'll be honest, I am not the reader for this book. I like the unique premise and the unique writing style but at the end of the day, it

    This book begins in the middle of a shift at a soup kitchen. We are introduced to Joel and his many, MANY rambling thoughts and we are never taken out of his head space. Ever since "the thing that happened", he's been unable to talk to certain people. Instead, he drafts text messages to them and never sends them. (I actually tried and can't do this on my phone!)

    I'll be honest, I am not the reader for this book. I like the unique premise and the unique writing style but at the end of the day, it inhibited me from fully appreciating what this book was trying to do. The author hits on a variety of deep topics - veterans, PTSD, religion, discrimination, etc. However, it all became too much throughout the read. I understand that the writing is coming from Joel's head and with that, how the inner workings of a teenage boy trying to deal with tough subject would react. I just didn't care for it. Even in the "funnier" scenes where there's supposed to be some levity, it just didn't work.

    I did like the friendships between the characters. Benji, Eli, Joel - Joel's relationship with his parents and younger brother. All of these were fantastic. We've all written a text and never sent it. We all have things we want to say to certain people but never say them. We all have had that friend we didn't particularly care for at the beginning but somehow became a close or best friend. And we have all not agreed with a friend's belief but there's still that bond and love between us regardless of our opposing views.

    The first 45 pages seemed to go nowhere and then we finally get introduced to something that makes it more interesting. However, it did drag throughout to get the point at the end and the thing that happened and what is actually going on... kind of. Weirdly I found myself the most irritated with the talking of Burning Man between Benji and Joel - it's not the way people mostly depict it... HOWEVER, I love the mention of the temple - which is a true thing and a place people go to find closure and serenity and for that, I love the author.

    When it comes down to it, this is just a reader/book mismatch. I appreciate the theme and uniqueness of the book itself but the execution wasn't for my taste. I never connected with the characters or the storyline. A good read for teenagers/YA lovers who love the deeper inner monologues dealing with heavy, socially relevant issues.

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