Louder Than Words is an emotional and addictive book, written by Laura Jarratt.
Rafi hasn’t spoken in eight years. Her progressive mutism went so far that now she can’t even comprehend the thought of talking anytime soon. But now it’s up to her to tell her brother’s story, because now he can’t speak either…
Rafi has always idolised her seventeen year-old brother, Silas. Popular, caring and borderline genius, Silas is everything Rafi ever wanted to be. Silas is the type of protective brother that always makes sure Rafi is with him, which means that Rafi gets to hear all sorts of things that younger sisters wouldn’t normally be a part of. Like when Silas hacked a gaming site to help out his friend Josie, who was being bullied for something incomprehensibly awful her ex did to her.
As Josie and Rafi spend more time together, Rafi finds herself with a proper friend for the first time in her life. Growing closer, Rafi realises she wants to escape the bubble she’s been trapped inside and make her way back into the world – and this will happen by learning to speak again. But Silas has found a new interest too – one that’s pulling him away from everything and everyone that was once important to him. Will Rafi be able to find the words to save her brother before it’s too late?
I absolutely, completely, 100% loved reading Louder Than Words. I adored Laura Jarratt’s two other books, Skin Deep and By Any Other Name and so when I saw Louder Than Words in my favourite bookshop, I kind of had a mini freak out – but only the best kind of ‘freak out’. Both of Laura’s other books dealt with some pretty major issues and I was pleased to see that this book was going to tackle another one – this time it would be progressive mutism. I hadn’t heard of this before and I was looking forward to learning more about what that actually meant, and of course, being inside some of the characters heads and seeing how they dealt with this. Like the other books by Laura Jarratt, I fell head over heals for this one as well. Laura’s writing style really appeals to me. I love the way things are described and I was completely emotionally invested in the characters and the storyline in Louder Than Words. I couldn’t have dreamed of having a more satisfying book to read.
This book was definitely very grabbing. From the first page, I was pulled into Rafi’s world and I knew I wouldn’t be able to put this book down until I had read it all. Needless to say, I had finished this book in one sitting. It wasn’t that this book was short page-wise, I just couldn’t put it down! And because this book was so addictive, I finished it with the feeling it was a short book, only because I loved it so much. I would have stayed with this plot and these characters for over a thousand pages if it meant I could spend just a little bit more time with them. I think it’s amazing that an author can have this type of affect over people. I felt as though this book literally was holding onto me and it would have been physically impossible for me to tear my eyes from the pages even if I tried. Which I didn’t. And I wouldn’t. Ever. Because this book is just so fantastic.
I felt like I could really connect to the main character, Rafi. We both share such a huge love for words and writing and poems and everything of the sort. She is an aspiring author and she’s fourteen years old. In some books, I find that the authors try too hard to make their characters sound young and teenager-y and it comes across as fake. However, this was definitely not the case in this book. Rafi thought about things in a sophisticated way, but it never felt too old for her. I felt as though Laura Jarratt got Rafi’s ‘voice’ perfect. I know that Rafi is a progressive mute, but I really felt like I got a good sense of her voice just by being inside her head the whole time. It was really interesting to be able to do that and I enjoyed getting to know Rafi.
Another character I absolutely loved was Josie. She is one of those people that always tries to look on the bright side of things and tries her best to be the person she wants to be, not what other people make her. I loved watching the friendship between her and Rafi grow and it was really beautiful to see Josie help Rafi and support her in her decisions. The interactions between Josie and Rafi were really fun to read and the pair definitely had some great moments together. I had mixed feelings about Silas, which was obvious that the author wanted readers to feel that way. Silas started off as such an amazingly kind and helpful person who was Rafi’s best friend. I loved the way Silas stood up for what he believed in and didn’t let other people put him or those he knew down. He didn’t tolerate nuisance from anyone and I really liked that about him and how utterly supportive he was of Rafi. But then he met Lara. I never quite knew where I stood with Lara. She made me feel uneasy and I hated seeing how obsessed Silas became with her and what affect that had on Rafi.
All the characters in this book were intriguing and enjoyable to get to know.
Another thing I really liked learning about was the reason why Rafi became mute. I found myself being able to relate to her reasons and it was really understandable why she would progress to that stage. Learning about Rafi’s home life was interesting, but also a little saddening. I felt sorry for her because she believed the rest of her family was so special and so talented and so gifted and she didn’t think she fit in with them. As I’m an only child, I don’t understand really what that would be like. To always have pressure placed on you to live up to the expectations of your parents because of how your older siblings acted. But I do understand that from my friends and the small family I have. I get that people always try to make you into the person they want you to be. But if there’s one lesson I took away from the book, it’s this – don’t let other people change you. They’re not the people you have to live with. You’re not stuck with them for the rest of your life, but you are stuck with you. We all try to be the person we have always wanted to be and not change ourselves for anyone. This book had many powerful lessons and I definitely won’t be forgetting them any time soon.
When I picked up this book, never in my wildest dreams did I think this book would also be about protesters and anarchy in a way, but I found myself really liking it. I liked seeing the effects this had not only on the community, but also on the people protesting. It also got quite scary in some points, which was entertaining to read. I was really happy with the ending of this book. I laughed, I cried… this book had me feeling a range of emotions. I couldn’t have wished for a more satisfying read. I’d give Louder Than Words by Laura Jarratt a score of 10 out of 10. I’m dying to read whatever Laura writes next!