Silent to the Bone

Author: E.L. Konigsburg

Publisher: New: York Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2000
pages: 261

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Topics: abuse, trauma, family, divorce, mystery
Media Type: Book

Interest Level:
Grade level: 5-Adult

Reader's annotation: When Branwell’s baby sister has trouble breathing due to mistreatment he loses his ability to speak. While being held in a juvenile detention center, his best friend has to figure out a way to communicate and find out what really happened.

Summary: The story opens with the 911 call when Branwell’s baby sister clearly is seriously injured and he can’t speak. We know pretty quickly that Branwell is being wrongly accused and suspect that something he knew or saw is what is keeping him mute. It is now up to his best friend Connor to find out through a bit of detective work what actually happened that is keeping his friend from speaking. This involves renewing his relationship with his older half sister and throughout the process Connor too benefits from the experience. This is a story about families and relationships as well as loyalties and growing up.

Evaluation: The way the story slowly unfolds and the sense of mystery that the author captures in her writing style keeps the reader’s attention right to the end. Issues of divorce and remarriage, sexual attraction and shame will attract the teen reader.

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I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.