Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams is a novel about sisters; twin sisters to be exact. However, shouldn’t twin sisters be the closest of friends? In this case, Sarah couldn’t be further from Annie in personality. Sarah is quiet, shy , Social anxiety disorder would be how you describe her. She is the girl who has a voice, but only uses it in sign language classes where she can say whatever she wants, but not have to use her voice. Whereas her sister is the flamboyant, beauty queen girl who has been center stage her whole life. But suddenly, Annie, who has always been the center of attention in the family, has changed her look; chopped off her hair, gained a bunch of weight, and is giving up on beauty pageants. Sarah has been left in the dust all the years Annie has been in the limelight, but she knows that something is wrong. Suddenly, Sarah has shifted into being more the big sister in her own way from before. Now she’s the one protecting Annie from vicious bullying in school. But the real question, is why has Annie changed so much, and will Sarah be able to help her out? Will Sarah and Annie become closer as sisters than ever before?
First off, this book is written from both Sarah and Annie’s point of view. Sarah’s is telling the story while Annie is writing poetry that relates to her. The styles compliment each other so well, flipping back and forth in this rhythm that shows the heartache from Annie and the frustration in Sarah. I for one, love books in prose and poetry, a la “What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones. I was immediately drawn into this book because the story is so real. The issues of self image, abuse and secrecy are all explored in this book, along with the special connection sisters have. And it’s not even the bond that some twins have, but sisters have a unique bond that is special and creates a trust that isn’t there with parents.
This novel explores what happens when statutory rape happens and it changes a person. And how does one move on from something like this. For Sarah and Annie, it becomes a bond that brings them even closer together.
I liked that this subject was written about in a simple novel. Simple as in, I finished reading it in less than two days. Sex between an adult and a minor is something that has been in my peripheral due to living in a small town and seeing some of what happens with the high school girls and teachers. Or the other way around. It’s not something that is talked about, but it happens. And it changes a person. I was actually kind of excited to read a book that explores these themes.
I would highly recommend this book to the young adult audience as well as parents. Because it really does happen. I think Carol Lynch Williams did an excellent job with creating a realness in the pages. A marvelous book. Not happy, but marvelous none the less.