Title: Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell
Author: Liane Shaw
Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult
Publisher: Second Story Press
Publication: April 5th 2016
I received an eARC from the publisher through Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Sixteen-year-old Frederick has a lot of rules for himself. Like if someone calls him Freddy he doesn’t have to respond; he only wears shirts with buttons and he hates getting dirty. His odd behavior makes him an easy target for the “Despisers” at school, but he’s gotten used to eating lunch alone in the Reject Room.
Angel, in tenth grade but already at her sixth school, has always had a hard time making friends because her family moves around so much. Frederick is different from the other kids she’s met – he’s annoyingly smart, but refreshingly honest – and since he’s never had a real friend before, she decides to teach him all her rules of friendship.
But after Angel makes a rash decision and disappears, Frederick is called in for questioning by the police and is torn between telling the truth and keeping his friend’s secret. Her warning to him – don’t tell, don’t tell, don’t tell – might have done more harm than good.
I found this book on Netgalley and it seemed different from the normal contemporaries that I read, so I made my chose and dived in.
The first half of the book is written from the protagonist Frederick and I immediately noticed that he is very different from other boys. For example, he lives on a fixed structure, he wears only shirts with buttons, he always counts the buttons of his blouses, he does everything with left first and he is terrified of germs. I was a few pages in, and my suspicion was confirmerd: Frederick has Asperges. I absolutely like the idea of Liane to write a story a story through the mind of a person with Asperges, but I must admit that it was incredibly annoying to read. It just didn’t read fluently and I’m terribly annoyed about that.
The second half of the book is written from Angel, a teenage girl who always gets bullied because she is fat. After I was halfway through the book and began to read from Angels POV, it immediately was so much better to read from her perspective. I know it sounds a bit mean, but reading from Frederick’s mind was a disaster in my opinion. But because of the variety, you can really see the difference in the characters – the difference between someone with Asperges and someone who does not – and that’s the only good thing about this book, because the story and the plot was much to be desired.
The story was very strange. I didn’t really understand Angel’s idea and I didn’t understand why Frederick reacted that way. I actually can’t tell you anything more about that, because I don’t think the story added much value.
I also found the flashbacks quite annoying to read. They were all over the place, written between the present and I had to reread them several times to finally understand. I was not really keen on this.
Depsite the plot of this story and sometimes the writing style of Liane, I still think this book has some potential. The idea behind Don’t Tell Don’t Tell Don’t Tell is very unique. I give it three stars.