Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher
Published October 2015 by Hachette
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: My name is Tess Turner - at least, that's what I've always been told.I have a voice but it isn't mine. It used to say things so I'd fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn't. It lied.It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren't the lies: it was six hundred and seventeen words of truth that turned my world upside down.Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them.I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.
Silence is Goldfish, Annabel Pitcher's third novel, is set in Manchester, England. Tess Turner is fifteen and lives with her mum and dad. Four years ago she realised that she wasn't living up to her parents' expectations, particularly her father's, and she made a promise to herself that she would try harder. She pretends to have different friends, friends they'd like more than her real friend, Isabel. She does the extra-curricular activities she's forced into, even signing up for a local play because her dad, Jack, loves acting and is still trying to make it. But after discovering that not only is Jack not her biological father but that he was disgusted by her when she was born, she decides to stop talking. She then attempts to run away to London and head to the fertility authority to find out who her real dad is. On the way she stops to buy supplies and picks up a torch in the shape of a goldfish. She doesn't end up running away, but she keeps the torch and is surprised when it starts talking, so she names him Mr Goldfish and carries him with her.
It was so easy to get pulled into Tess's world, unlike everyone around her, the reader knows exactly why she stops talking, and it was easy to empathise with her situation. She believes her father hates her and she doesn't know how to deal with the information. She retreats into her own world, something she finds comfortable. She's sick of trying to be someone she's not, sick of feeling unwanted. She becomes obsessed with the idea of finding her biological father and fixates on a new teacher at school, absolutely sure he's the one, despite the objections of Mr Goldfish (on the subject of Mr Goldfish, I could not stop imagining him as the goldfish from the episode of Scrubs where the janitor hears a goldfish talking to him, if you've seen the show you'll know what I mean!)
The rest of the characters were also well thought out and believable. It was hard to like Jack at first, he really is demanding, judgemental, and bossy, but as we learn more about his childhood and his fear of failure, his behaviour, while unacceptable, is understandable. I adored Isabel and Henry too.
The ending was resolved well, I couldn't wait for someone to step in and help Tess out, and for the family to finally talk about their situation. It left me hopeful that Tess could go on and cope living in a world she doesn't quite feel a part of.
Silence is Goldfish is a beautiful story and one I'd recommend for teens and adults.
Thank you to Hachette for my review copy.
Illustrator: Leo Nickolls
I love this cover, the greeny blue colour and the school of fish, plus Mr Goldfish down on his own.
I started with 2 coats of Butter London Slapper.
I sponged on some blue, L.A Colors Sea Siren, and some light green, China Glaze Def Defying and Sinful Colors Pistache.
I used a fine brush and acrylic paint for the fish and the bubbles.