Time to Discuss: Whisper If You Have To

Turning-Point-Box-Set-SmallReady to discuss #2 in our 7 set Turning Point YA series?

1. What was your overall impression of the book?

Overall – I liked the book, although it went on a bit long for me. Once Alison’s mom ended up in the hospital and everything started falling into place for Alison, I was ready for the book to wrap up. But for a romance, it was pretty good. 😉

2. What did you think about the characters?

Although I really liked Chad’s character, I didn’t necessarily feel like he was true to a teen guy. He seemed too sensitive and intuitive. Too perfect. Maybe guys really are like that when they find the right girl, but in my experience, the physical wars with the emotional. There was no physical turmoil between these two. It was like an ideal relationship on the page, not a real one. (Which is ok. We all need a goal to live up to.)

And the spiritual maturity of Brooke, Chad, and Kyle surprised me too. I would love to think the majority of church-going teens are like these 3, but I’m not sure. People of any age can be spiritually mature, but these 3 seemed to really have it together.

3. And was it just me?

It took me a long time to be convinced that Chad was a young man of color. There were hints, but I was on the fence about it until quite a ways into the book.

4. What did you think about the POV shifts – the way the story flipped quickly from Alison to Chad?

As for me, I enjoyed it. I thought it did a lot to move the story along and was a nice balance between both characters.

5. What is your feeling on secrets?

Generally, secrets or lies as a plot device don’t work for me. I’m a pretty forthright person, so I get frustrated thinking, “Just tell the truth already!”

Do you think it was reasonable for Alison to hide the fact her brother had committed suicide? And I can see where Chad wouldn’t want people to know his mom was in prison, but news like that tends to travel. Do you think it was reasonable that no one at his school knew about it?

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT? 🙂

Whisper

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4 thoughts on “Time to Discuss: Whisper If You Have To

  1. Yay – yay! I’ve been itching to talk about this one since I finished it Sunday night! 😀

    I really liked the book but I also felt like it took a long time to end. I blew through the first half or 3/4 of the book but then I kept looking at the percentage on the bottom (I was reading the standalone version) and thinking what else is there? To me, the romance lost a lot of steam once they were “together.” I’m a sucker for the beginning stages of romances – where each side is uncertain how the other feels and that part was written perfectly. So once they were past that, the romance part was cute but not so interesting anymore. And the rest of the story slowed to a crawl once they had her mother in the hospital. I liked wrapping up the loose ends but felt like it could have been done quicker.

    I loved the characters – especially Alison at the beginning. Alison reminded me *exactly* of myself as a teen – withdrawn and terrified of showing her true self to anyone. It made me think about how in fiction, we often need big, cataclysmic reasons behind things but in real life it’s often the accumulation of tiny, small things. The only difference I saw between my teen self and her early self was that, even while I was unable to believe I was worthwhile, there was a distant part of me aware how ridiculous I was being, trying to shake myself out of it, to no affect. And I was extremely blessed to run into my own group of “Brookes, Chads, and Kyles” in college and to marry my “Chad.” I also think it’s important to note (the book handled this well) that she found her self-worth through their influence but not through them themselves.

    But Chad was definitely too perfect. I read my husband a couple snippets from the book and he was groaning at the perfectly sensitive guy. Especially when it came to the physical turmoil – I noticed exactly one spot where the book slightly hinted at it for Chad (his eyes straying below her neck for half a second before he corrects his gaze) and I reread it to make sure it really was there at all. Her climbing on his lap in the car surprised me and then even that was treated way more innocently than I think was realistic.

    The spiritual aspect of the book surprised me but I really liked it. It was similar to the warfare from that Entertaining Angels book I reviewed recently, only up a few notches.

    Yes! I was hoping someone else would feel the same way about Chad. And I wonder if it’s because we didn’t get a description of him until pages in? I went back and reread and we had full descriptions of Kyle and Brooke long before we got a hint at Chad (his bouncy afro and then eventually his skin). And then another 10 pages later we finally got a description of Alison. It really irritated me.

    I liked the POV shifts though there were a few times I had to go back to check which POV we were in. I also thought the overall voice of the book was good but there were a lot of times I had to reread to get the tone right since wording was often a little odd. The book also felt a little dated to me – no mention of cell phones until they hiked, he pulled up yahoo to internet search, she called herself square (how many kids nowadays even know that reference?).

    I can definitely understand both of them hiding those facts about themselves. It seemed to me her family had been in dire need of counseling for a long time and had been so busy putting on a happy face for church and work that their grief never really processed. As for Chad, I’m not sure it mentioned where he was living when his mother got arrested. He lived in California with his aunt before coming to live with his grandmother so I can see his peers not knowing unless he told them. Now if it had happened in that town, yes, they all would have known. The part I was a little uncomfortable with was the Morgan parents being okay with her changing at their house all the time. Despite how they may feel about her wardrobe, I would expect them to not support her sneaking around behind her parent’s back like that. Unless they were somehow unaware but I didn’t feel like they were.

    One last thing & I’ll be done with my verbose reply. 😉 I almost hesitate to mention this because it has heavily affected my perception of the story and I hate to affect anyone else’s enjoyment. See – I was happily reading and then we got our first partial description of Chad: “Chad ducked his head, sending his kink-curled dark black-and-bronze afro into his eyes”. I was trying to visualize each character as we got a description so I rack my brain and come up with Corbin Bleu from High School Musical. Ok, that works and I try to keep that in my mind. Then at about 30% through the book it suddenly hits me that Chad plays basketball, is best friends with the other lead player, they are both the most popular guys in school, and he wears t-shirts with wacky sayings (which were referred to constantly). These all exactly match Corbin Bleu’s character in HSM and then the whole book felt like loose High School Musical fanfiction and I couldn’t shake that idea from my head. Even Vanessa, Kyle’s girlfriend, had “deep ebony hair and soft brown skin” like Gabriella Montez from HSM. Even after I finished the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally had to look up the names of the characters in HSM since I couldn’t remember them all and Corbin Bleu’s character was Chad Danforth. No! No no nononono! *headdesk*

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  2. I watched HSM with my oldest daughter. It’s like this generation’s version of Grease. 😉 Anyway, I never made the connection, but now that you point it out, it’s there!

    And the skin color thing really threw me. I started wondering if Kyle and Brooke were dark-skinned as well and I’d just missed it. I’m guessing the author was trying to show how color-blind the protagonist was and withheld that info from the reader to mute their own bias? Perhaps she’ll weigh in and tell us.

    And I agree, Chad is like no other guy I have ever met. He’s like how girls think the perfect guy should be. I wonder if that sets up unrealistic expectations in young readers?

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    1. This generation’s version of Grease but with a better message! 😀 I like fanfiction don’t get me wrong – I just like to know that’s what I’m reading, so my enjoyment of Whisper was tinged by my brain waffling between fanfiction/not.

      Me thinks this perfect guy problem won’t be an issue in It’s Complicated. I started reading it last night to get ahead and I’m definitely noticing more realistic guys in it. Though not so pleasant to read about yet…

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