February 14, 2000
The Silent, by Rebecca Kenney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's hard to find a book written specifically for teens that I approve of enough to let my own girls read it, but this one has certainly made the list. The writing was relevant, the themes were real, the characters were inspiring.
In this story, a teen girl is asked to help out when violent threats are sent to her high school. She begins to pay attention to the people around her, doing a sort of undercover investigation to aid the police in finding who sent these threats.
Nikki has real issues to deal with that don't all get worked out in a perfect way. The themes of parental separation, friendships, apathy, depression, dating, and Christian witnessing are all handled well, not only showing how these things often surface in a high schooler's life, but also appropriate ways to handle them.
I was particularly impressed with the running theme of compassion. As Nikki gets more and more involved in the case, she has to consciously choose to engage in other people's lives. She realizes that it is easier to harden herself to others' pain, or just ignore it altogether, and she must decide if getting to know people is worth the pain she feels.