In The Silences by Rachel Gold

My new favorite queer YA novel.

What was the book about?

In the Silences is a phenomenal coming of age novel from the perspective of a 14/15 year old who is just trying to figure everything out (the way all 14/15 year olds are). Kaz Adams is a white teenager who is falling for their best friend/neighbor Aisha, who is black. This novel explores their relationship but also their inner worlds as they move from middle school into high school. The story is told from Kaz’s point of view, and takes the reader on a truly educational and at times deeply moving journey through life’s lessons on gender identity, racism, and the harsh realities of systemic injustice towards the “other” as Kaz themselves learns what it means to be an ally and also what it means to have one. 

Featured Tropes: Coming of age

Book Strengths:
This book is incredibly well-written. I am not always a fan of YA (it’s not the first genre I pick up), but I want everyone I know to read this one. Gold brings what is clearly extremely thorough research to a story that doesn’t feel overly educational, letting the characters’ journeys and central relationship shine through. While this novel addresses some very serious topics, it ends on a hopeful/optimistic note. The central relationship is sweet and develops beautifully, and the peripheral relationships are quite enjoyable too (I particularly enjoyed Milo and Mr. Warren). 

Book Weaknesses: 
I cannot even come up with a single weakness here. 

Character Chemistry:
Kaz and Aisha’s relationship is a joy to read. The chemistry is written perfectly – both characters have a great growth arc that nicely coincides with their relationship to each other. 

Heat Rating: 
If this was a “sweetness” scale, I’d give it 5 stars (flowers?). It’s a YA novel that centers around young teens though, so the heat rating would probably be 1 flame.

Wrap up:
Overall, In the Silences is a YA novel about young people coming into their own queerness in a world where systemic racism and prejudice are alive and well. Kaz and Aisha will stick with me for a long time. Go out and read this one!

Star Rating: 5

Would you like grab a copy?

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