Published by Swoon Romance on September 16, 2014
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Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.
Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can't let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm's length.
But by the time Rex's charm wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the "just friends" shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it's the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.
Straight contemporary romances haven’t really been wowing me lately and I was hoping Louder Than Words would change that. While I enjoyed the book and I devoured the story, it just didn’t stand out to me as anything all that special. It’s a fun read but there could have been a lot more to it.
Louder Than Words does not have a promising beginning. It’s cheesy and not the best writing and it doesn’t do a good job showcasing what the book contains. If I had picked this one up at the store and read nothing but the first chapter, I would not have bought it. However, once I got past that, things got better. The writing is really rather juvenile but that does help to speed the story along. However, it doesn’t do justice to the characters or the story. I honestly felt like I could have been reading something written by a student rather than a published work. I was not impressed by that aspect of Louder Than Words.
The characters have a lot of growing up to do when readers first meet them. Ellen and Rex meet during the summer before their senior year of high school but when I was first introduced to them I thought they were much younger. They were both really immature and Ellen was extremely naive. That was something I was able to look past though since I expected them to do some growing throughout the course of the story. Luckily, they did. Ellen has had a rough couple of years and she is rather cynical. She’s unwilling to trust most people and Rex is no exception. In fact, she probably trusts him least of all. He’s new in town and she has no clue what he could possibly see in her. Ellen’s lack of confidence in herself was heartbreaking. She thought very little of herself. The only thing she ever really liked about herself was her intelligence. It’s a strong quality of hers but it’s definitely not all Ellen had going for her. She was also strong, funny, and a tad awkward (which I totally related to.) Rex was a total sweetheart but he was definitely a bit of a player. He knew what he looked like and he was willing to use that to his advantage. Once he saw that his charm and looks weren’t going to work with Ellen though he became a much more honest version of himself. He was quirky, funny, smart, and kind. He appealed to me a lot even with his horrible decision making skills.
The secondary characters didn’t stand out a ton to me but they were not bad. Gracie was annoying and bitchy but I’m pretty sure that was done on purpose. Lizzy was supposedly Ellen’s best friend but she played a very minor role in the story until the very end. She wasn’t present for most of the book and I didn’t care much for her when she was introduced to the story. Robbie, Ellen’s brother and guardian, was a great guy who very obviously cared a ton for his little sister. However, he tended to underestimate her knowledge at times and it got on my nerves a little. Mr. Hamer, the creepy science teacher, came across totally like he was supposed to. He gave me the creeps from the start. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Leanne for most of the book but she ended up being a good person and a good friend to Ellen which I really liked since Ellen did not have enough of those.
There were parts of the story that seemed almost as if they were thrown in as afterthoughts. For the first half of the book the story surrounding Ellen and Mr. Hamer went absolutely nowhere and that bothered me a lot. Then there was a side story about a little boy who was maybe being abused at home. That story didn’t really go anywhere or play any role in the bigger story. There was also the story about Rex and his father that took up maybe a chapter but never really came up again after that. Same with Ellen’s mom and her drug habits. That story was introduced at the beginning, disappeared for most of the book, and then came back again at the end. For someone so affected by her mom, you’d think Ellen would mention it more than she did or even think about it more than she did.
Overall, Louder Than Words is an all-around mediocre read that I found entertaining but none too meaningful. If you’re not looking for a story with any hidden agendas or extensive development, check this one out.
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that’s another bio.)
No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.
In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.
Iris believes in the two-year “fish or cut bait” dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.
$10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Louder Than Words (INT)