Book Title: All The Things We Never Said
Author: Yasmin Rahman
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Trigger warning: Anxiety, depression, self harm, sexual assault, rape, disabilities, suicide
Synopsis ‘All The Things We Never Said’ is told from the perpective of three teenage girls who have all gone through widely different circumstances but ultimately their anxiety, depression or their ‘chaos’ as they call it seem unbearable so they sign up for a website that assigns them suicide partners and a date of termination.The website then sets them certain tasks to do leading to that date of termination. As they carry out these tasks together, they realise they don’t want to go ahead with the plan.
My thoughts: There’s so many things that this book did really well. I really appreciated that it shed light on mental health in Muslim households without having a cliché or overdone Muslim character. I also really loved how through the writing style, you could really get a feel for how someone with those certain mental disorders thinks. Rahman used a completely different style for each narrator, utilising different fonts and sometimes writing in prose to portray what these thoughts might look like. Having the story be told from three points of view highlighted how mental disorders can manifest in all kinds of people.
The dialogue was a tad juvenile at times but I had no problem with that because it fit the characters’ ages. There’s one part I had an issue with though. In one chapter, Cara makes a mocking comment about invisible disabilities. Here’s the thing, I understand that this is Cara’s character. She’s a teenage girl, a wheelchair user and she carries a lot of anger. But I felt like we already knew all of that about her without that unnecessary comment. There wasn’t even a rebuttal from another character or somewhere in the book where she realises she was wrong. It just got me thinking how a teenager with an invisible disability would feel if they were to read that, especially given that it’s supposed to be a book about inclusivity and acceptance. It just didn’t sit right with me.
After giving a warning of that, I’d recommend this book as I believe it sheds light on various really important topics. It was also well-written and I easily got into it, finishing it in just two sittings.