Sometimes silence is all you can count on.
Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can't be taken back. Five tally marks isn't so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at night when sleep is far away.
But now months have passed, and Elise isn't sure she could speak even if she wanted to—not to keep her only friend, Mel, from drifting further away—or to ask if anyone else has seen her English teacher's stuffed raven come to life. Then, the discovery of a shocking family secret helps Elise realize that her silence might just be the key to unlocking everything she's ever hoped for...
Available now in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook formats!
2019 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts (Children's Literature Assembly of NCTE)
2019 Lone Star Reading List (Texas Library Association)
"Powerful and poetic." —John David Anderson, author of Posted
"A striking, masterfully-voiced debut with the haunting force of myth." —Julie Berry, Printz Honor author of The Passion of Dolssa
"Tender and truthful." —Patricia Forde, author of The List
"A compassionate portrait of selective mutism." —Sally J. Pla, author of The Someday Birds
"A must-read." —Wesley King, author of OCDaniel
"It's easy to root for Elise, an empathetic narrator." —Booklist
"...a thoughtful book... Middle school students and staff would benefit from reading Elise's story." —School Library Connection
"Give this to readers interested in the ways that anxiety can shape lives and also how young people can healthily negotiate it." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A gripping debut novel." —Carol Weston, author of Speed of Life