Every time I start a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, I think, it seriously can’t be as good as the last one. I mean, how can an author consistently write brilliant, emotional, moving stories? Is it even possible? But you know what, I read them, and they turn out to be good one straight after the other. Brave Girl, Quiet Girl was no exception. I cried. Multiple times.
This book was just so touching. And it dealt with such big topics. Mostly prejudice, but also just plain human decency, empathy and the fear of opening up and being let down.
There is so much love in Brave Girl, Quiet Girl. But it’s a fearful love – it’s the love of people who have been burnt and are afraid to trust again. People who would rather suffer physically than open themselves up for the possibility of being abandoned and hurt again. It is heart-breaking to witness it, but it also shakes your world to see them learn to trust again.
These are all reasons I am recommending you this book. But I will try to go into more detail!
Check out on Goodreads
★★★★★ 5 stars
How I read this:
free review copy from NetGalley
Something terrible happens to a mother and her toddler is lost. This child is found – by another child, well, a teen – only marginally less helpless than the first one. And while the police look for the missing toddler, we get to see a lot of things happen.
The personal drama of a parent whose child is their whole world. The development of a frayed, broken relationship that happens when people are exposed to sudden emotional, world-shattering trauma. The strenght a person can have, when it comes to protecting someone weaker than themselves. And also the callousness, judgemental attitudes of the world – yet weirdly, alongside kindness and hope. But that is not all… Because the end of one story prompts the unraveling of another one…
Brave Girl, Quiet Girl is written in typical Catherine Ryan Hyde fashion and it exposes the worst, as well as the best of humanity and human relationships. And that is why it’s an absolute must-read.Every time I start a book by @cryanhyde, I think, it seriously can’t be as good as the last one. But it always is!! Brave Girl, Quiet Girl was no exception – 5 stars: Click To Tweet
Real Problems Marginalized Young People Face That Need To Be Talked About More
Other than what I’ve already said in the blurb above, its really, really hard to tell you any more about this book without really spoiling it for you. And I mean, even one of the biggest topics, as it kind of comes as a twist later on in the book. Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books tend to be like that a lot. It’s a great thing when youre reading it, but its pretty hard to write a convincing review!
Just let me tell you that its about a lot of very big problems a very young, very vulnerable group of marginalized people face daily. Teens who are made homeless because of prejudice – teens who nobody will believe, because if you don’t have a home, you clearly had to do something to “deserve” it. The story deals with a lot of different prejudice, and the way people deal with it when they experience this prejudice. As always, Catherine Ryan Hyde tackles big, painful and very relevant problems.
A black and white photo of a young woman, sitting on a stone pillar, overlooking the sea, her backpack behind her (Image by SnapwireSnaps from Pixabay)
What’s also interesting about Brave Girl, Quiet Girl is that you don’t really know what the book is about.
When you start reading, you think you know –
It’s kind of a little bit like two books? The first half is about a big event and its aftermath, but the second part turns the tables around – and the helper needs to be helped. We start looking at completely different problems than in the first half, and at least I totally didn’t see it coming. As always, Catherine Ryan Hyde keeps me on my toes when reading her books.Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by @cryanhyde tackles some very serious problems of young marginalized people in a very heartfelt way. 100% recommended reading: Click To Tweet
I believe I must’ve said this in another review of her book before, but this will have to be all I say on the large and important topics front. Because I seriously just don’t want to give you spoilers!
But anyway, you won’t have to wait long until you find out. Brave Girl, Quiet Girl is a very fast and riveting read!
It was an evening and a half read for me, and it was so tense, I just couldn’t pull myself away. I am not kidding, I even made salad while reading. With a knife. (I do not recommend this. Fingers suffered. Thankfully, not very badly.) If you’re like me at all, you won’t be able to unglue yourself from the book either.I read Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by @cryanhyde while making a salad (and not looking at the knife...) because I couldn't pull myself away. (Kids, don't do this.) Read the book though! It was unforgettable: Click To Tweet
Amazing, Realistic, Not-Sugar-Coated Human Relationships
And as usual, Catherine Ryan Hyde astonishes me with her ability to write amazing human relationships. Because in a book with people who need saving from their tough situation (not giving you any more for fear of spoilers), you would think it would be just a big heroic story of “hug and be happy”. Right? But it’s not.
We expect big problems to be solved in sweeping heroic gestures – an orphan child being taken into a new home, a missing child being found – things like that – we expect people in these stories to be heroic, because they always are. I expected it too, but I should have known better.
Because Catherine Ryan Hyde writes realistic, human characters – not archetypal heroes. Her characters hurt and fear, they fumble and they make mistakes.
They don’t “get saved and thank their savior profusely” – instead, they ask the real questions. They’re like real people would be – they’re not from a sweet Disney story. This is something I really loved about Brave Girl, Quiet Girl.@cryanhyde always writes realistic, believable characters – not archetypal heroes. Her characters hurt and fear, they fumble and they make mistakes. This is what I loved most about Brave Girl, Quiet Girl: Click To Tweet
Brave Girl, Quiet Girl Is All Women
And finally, I really loved all the ways women’s relationships were explored in Brave Girl, Quiet Girl. The book is mostly only about women – mothers, daughters, big sisters who are not actually your sisters, but more like role models or the hand that pulls you up when you’re down. The men are just a fleeting addition to the play – and we need books like that.
There are a few core relationships among the women in this book and their dynamics are so different – they open up different aspects of the way women give each other strength and define each other’s worlds. A frayed mother and daugher’s relationship and how it holds up in the wake of a tragedy, an older role-model, as a mentor or protector in a tough situation (this one is explored from a few angles in the book, actually.) A sister or companion who is caring for you not just because you need it, but because she needs to be caring for you at the moment for the sake of her own self just as much.
I could go on, but it’s pointless to try to put it into words, when Catherine Ryan Hyde already does it so much better. Like I said before, she is a master at writing realistic human relationships, and Brave Girl, Quiet Girl is a perfect example of this.
What can I say, apart from that Catherine Ryan Hyde won my heart with Brave Girl, Quiet Girl again? I’m glad she’s written so many books. I know I still have a cache of guaranteed good reads like this one!
I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion.
Have you read anything by Catherine Ryan Hyde already?
If you have, what did you think of her choice of topics and the human relationships she writes? Did the books touch your heart just as much they did for me?
I’m Evelina and I blog about books that made an impression on me. I love middle grade, women’s, scifi and some literary too.