For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
This book did things to my heart. There were tears, shock, laughter and aww moments that left me happy and yet sad at the same time. It goes through topics such as abuse, loneliness, the feeling of not being enough and having to be perfect is just some. The story focuses on Mallory, a girl who grow up in an abusive foster home along with a boy named Rider until a horrible accident occurs, which ends with them being spilt and Mallory being adopted into a loving home, while Rider disappears into the system. Four years later and Mallory is still feeling the effects of her childhood and deals with her pain by not talking. She decides she wants to go to a public school for her senior year and not just be homeschooled so she can get ready for when she goes to college. On her first day at school she catches a glimpse of someone that reminds her of a certain someone she used to know. During one of her classes she realises that the guy didn’t just look like him, but it was him. She is reunited with Rider, the boy she grow up with, the boy who promised her forever.
This book deals with some really tough issues and it was at times hard to read because this is real life. Not everyone grows up with a loving family, let alone their own family. There are heaps of foster families that take children in and are horrible and I know kids that have been fostered and reading this book made me realise how lucky and how grateful I am to have grown up with my loving family. Mallory was taught while growing up that silence was the key to protection and has problems with letting that go and for that she doesn’t talk much. Her character development was great. She went from a silent girl who agrees to everything and anything to make others happy, to a girl who expresses her opinions and becomes strong enough to speak out. The only thing that really annoyed me about her was that… she always spoke… with gaps… between her words. I know that it was just how she spoke because she wasn’t used to speaking and I liked how when she got angry or passionate about something the gaps would disappear, but it was just really annoying and at times hard to read.
Rider has self esteem issues that he hides behind a wall of negligence towards himself. People would think he isn’t worth it because he is a foster kid from the wrong side of town and he just blows them off saying he doesn’t care, but I could see all of these comments piling up on him because he believed them. He is highly protective of everyone he loves due to the circumstances he grew up with so when Mallory comes back into his life, he is stuck to her like glue. He grew up always protecting her and now that he got her back when he never thought he would, he does everything to make sure she is okay and happy. When they first saw each other and he just pulled her into a hug that lasted like forever I felt so much emotion I nearly cried. It broke my heart when a certain incident happened towards the end of the book and characters starting breaking here and there. I really liked Ainsley’s character, she was the cliche best friend but I loved her and I knew something was up when she said a certain soemthing it made me really sad that I was right. Jayden’s character was just one of those side characters that you can’t not love. He’s messed up with some bad stuff but he is one of the kindest characters that always makes you smile and laugh. I feel like what happened at the end came out of the blue. I thought something like that would happen but it still caught me unaware of what was happening.
This book was a ride to say the least. It had its ups and downs like any book, but the message and story itself was so strong. If your stuck in a tough spot, feel lonely and sad, if you feel like your not going anywhere in life, if your confused or scared don’t worry, because although you feel that way now, although you might think it will always be that way, it won’t last forever.
“None of it happened all at once, but once it happened it couldn’t be undone. And it happened because I was loved.”
“Forever was simply a promise of more.”
“Forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem with forever was that is really didn’t exist.”
“He never ran. He never hid from anything. That had always been me. We had been yin and yang. My cowardice to his bravery. His strength to my weakness. But that wasn’t me anymore. I wasn’t a mouse. I wasn’t a coward. I wasn’t weak.”