Friday, September 19

{Book Tour + Giveaway} Iris St. Clair - Louder Than Words

Hey lovely, lovely people. Today the Louder Than Words book tour stops by at Reading Is Dreaming with Open Eyes. I hope you'll enjoy reading my review and getting to know more about this book and the author. Click here if you'd like to follow the tour. 

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.

First of all I'd like to thank YA Bound Book Tours for letting me read and review this amazing book and for hosting all those wonderful book tours and blitzes and cover reveals. 

Louder Than Words caught me completely off guard. I thought that the romance will be the most important thing and even the other main theme of the book, the teacher, will be swept under it. Well, no. This book was so much more than I expected, it was about friendship, love, family, betrayal, poverty and so much more. I'm glad to had the chance to read it. 

The family had a big role, if not the main one in Louder Than Words. It was amazing to see how Ellen's brother, Robbie put aside what he wanted (like university) to be able to take care of his little sister. The relationship between Robbie and Ellen was the sweetest thing ever. I loved how he didn't just took Ellen to him and considered it a done job but he really cared about her. He took time to listen to Ellen and when she needed him he was there in an instant. 

The mother's alcoholism was well portrayed, in the end she wasn't made to look a monster, she was just a weak women who broke down after her husband died. I loved that in the end she wasn't magically a good mother, no matter that she gave up on alcohol she hadn't done it for her children she did it for a man and this wasn't made to seem like a good decision. 

How the author described poverty was amazing. She showed us how much Ellen and Robbie had to lack throughout their lives and how many times they had to swallow their pride or give up on things they wanted. Still she never made the riches seem like horrible people, it was a simple truth: some get it hard while some get it easy, and on both sides there are good and bad people. 

Mr. H, the teacher who tried to seduce Ellen was a disgusting bastard. I felt so sorry for Ellen because thanks to the fact that she always drew the short straw she didn't believe for a moment that anyone will stand up for her or believe her. Under this topic the author analyzed friendship and showed us how some people can be easily manipulated and/or fooled. 

"Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I looked at him the wrong way, said something more 
suggestive than I'd intended."

Ellen was such a strong heroine so it was horrible to see that she didn't think what happened to her with Mr. H was enough to say something about it but when the same thing happened to others she immediately told everything to the counselor. She stood her ground even when things didn't look too bright and when people at school bullied her. 

Ellen needed time before she could trust in a boy again or let one kiss her without feeling mortified in the end. Sometimes in novels they make it seem like it's easy to move on after something like this happens to you and this always makes me uncomfortable. While I can understand that different people have different ways of dealing with things that hurt them I don't think it's realistic that they would start a relationship right after. I love that St. Clair 'give' Ellen some time before she was able to get into something with a boy again. 

The romance was kind of sweet but that's the part of the novel that I wasn't completely satisfied with. I was expecting something bigger, something adorable but thanks to the fact that I didn't swoon over Rex it left me a bit cold. I still liked Ellen and Rex together, they fit and were such a great match, it was amazing how they slowly opened up to each other.

He smiles. "November girl, eh? Turning eighteen?" He nudges me with his elbow. "Am I hanging out with an older woman?" 

It was such a great thing to see how these lovely characters developed a lot throughout the novel. The author used some character clich├ęs, like Gracie the mean girl who was Rex's girlfriend but she did this oh-so-right. How I hated Gracie! She was such a petty girl, she was a no one, oh and don't forget that she wasn't too bright either. 

"I've always wanted to live in New York City. So much fun stuff to do, and I’ll bet you see a lot of TV stars and models, right?"

Rex wasn't a terrible character or anything like that but he failed to make me love him. He was likable, even a great person but nothing special. However I loved his relationship with his mother, while his mum didn't have a big role it was viewable how they loved each other. 

"Who wouldn't love a boy who enjoys reading, is sweet to kids—including his father’s love child, adores his mother, and is kinder than any other friend I've had these past few months? I love this boy. I absolutely love him."

Ellen's character was really well-made. She was a teenage girl and the author perfectly managed not to make her too childish nor too much of an adult. Another thing I saw in other books was how characters who suffered a lot thought that they are somehow better than those who didn't. Not Ellen though. While there were some people she really didn't like, she didn't think of herself as someone above everyone else. As she said, there are manies who got it harder than she did. She was a very complex character, while she was so sure of herself at many times she lost her courage once in a while too. She had doubts, she doubted herself and her choices like normal people do. All considered she was a very life-like character.

All in all this book is a must read for everyone who wants to read about real life issues.

Favorite character: Robbie
Least favorite: Gracie

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 4.5/5
The characters: 3.5/5
The cover: 3.5/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5

Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that's another bio.) 
No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.
In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.

Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.

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