The Word for Yes by Claire Needell | ARC Review

February 12, 2016 | Posted by Gaby in Book Reviews | 7 Comments

The Word for Yes by Claire Needell | ARC ReviewThe Word for Yes
by Claire Needell
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 16, 2016 by HarperTeen
Pages: 208
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
2 Stars
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

After their parents’ divorce, Jan, Erika, and Melanie have to get used to the new world order: a father who’s moved to another continent and a mother who throws herself into moving on. Jan, off at her first semester of college, has plenty to worry about, including an outspoken roommate who’s kind of “out there” and an increasingly depressed and troubled long-distance boyfriend. Her younger sisters, left at home in New York City, and dealing with all the pressures of life in high school, aren’t exactly close. Erika is serious and feels awkward and uncomfortable in crowds, though her beauty tends to attract attention. Melanie is socially savvy and just wants to go out—to concerts, to parties, wherever—with her friends. The gap between all three girls widens as each day passes.
Then, at a party full of blurred lines and blurred memories, everything changes. Starting that night, where there should be words, there is only angry, scared silence.
And in the aftermath, Jan, Erika, and Melanie will have to work hard to reconnect and help one another heal.
At once touching and raw, Claire Needell’s first novel is an honest look at the love and conflicts among sisters and friends, and how these relationships can hold us together—and tear us apart.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In The Word for Yes we follow the story of three sisters named Erika, Jan and Melanie. Their family is going through a rough time because of the divorce of their parents. On top of that Jan is leaving for college, leaving her other 2 sisters in their home with their mom who is having trouble dealing with the divorce. Then one of the sisters gets raped at a party and the family has to find a way to reconnect, make amends and deal with all that is happening in their life.

I am very sad to say that I did not like this book. When I read the premise of the book I was very excited and had high expectations for this book but unfortunately I was utterly disappointed. This book is what I would consider wasted potential and I don’t mean to be offensive but I don’t think there’s another way to put it.

I truly appreciate the intention of the author in writing about date rape. But it was developed so poorly throughout the story. Now this topic is one that for me is very important and I believe more people should read and informe themselves about what is rape and the many ways that it happens. So to see this topic be handled so lightly annoys me a little. And I know for certain that this was not the intention of the author because Claire Needell is a very passionate person when it comes to the topic of rape and if you want to check out more of her articles and writings of this topic and many others (click here ) but  the truth is that they way this book was written it leaves the reader feeling like she was just breezing through the problem.

I believe that the problem previously mentioned has to do with the fact that this book had so many topics and so many perspectives for such a short book. This book is merely 208 pages and in it the author talks about rape, divorce, first year of college, love and dysfunctional family, just to mention a few. And the main problem here is that the book touched so many topics but didn’t go into depth for any of them. I believe that if the author decided to concentrate on just a few of these instead of all of them the book would be a lot better. And not only that; but we also get a lot of point of view switching. I believe we get 4 point of views if am not mistaken, which if you asked me is a lot for a 200 page book. I honestly didn’t like any of the point of views, just like I didn’t like the characters. I found the switching confusing and at times unnecessary.

Now before I end this review I want to talk a little about the characters. If you have read my previous reviews and stuff you may know that to me the characters are a fundamental part of the book and that is one of the reasons why I didn’t like this one. The characters for this book I found them to be very unlikeable and very bland. I didn’t like the personality of any of the main characters. I only liked Jan’s roommate. I also hated that the rape victim was so unaffected by the rape. She didn’t quite deal with it. And not only her, I felt like none  of the conflicts of the book we’re resolved. So there was no organized and developing plot line.

Honestly I could talk more but I’m going to stop right there cause I feel like I covered the major problems I had with this book. Honestly this was my experience so if you guys want to give it a try, go ahead but I personally wouldn’t recommend this book.

About Claire Needell

Claire Needell is a graduate of Brown’s MFA Program, a middle school teacher, and the author of two books of poetry. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Review.

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7 responses to “The Word for Yes by Claire Needell | ARC Review

  1. This sounded like a very interesting story and at one time I was thinking of requesting it but I waited for your verdict and I don’t know where (or maybe we talked about it) but somewhere I read you didn’t like it. It really sounds like it could have potential and maybe if it had been developed more, it would have been good. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one, hun. Great review!

  2. Oy. This does not sound good. Sadly, I have heard similar things. I’d hoped it’d be good too, because of how important the subject matter is. But I agree with you- it sounds like WAY too many things are shoved into a VERY short book. I feel like you can’t even cover the rape topic fully in 208 pages, let alone all the other stuff! And not having characters you like and connect with doesn’t bode well either. So sad. Thanks for the fabulous review though- this one is getting firmly crossed off my TBR!

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