The Things We Don't Say

Young Adult - Romance
474 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

A love story blossoms between Lilia Bennett-Parker and Mathew Campbell in Roberta Carr’s The Things We Don’t Say. In the first book, The Bennett Women, we witnessed how they grew up together and how they dealt with their feelings for each other. Now Lilia is a cellist attending graduate school in Boston, while Matt is based in Pennsylvania where he has started a company dealing with educational software. A study about a relationship that goes beyond co-presence, it is a story explored through challenges for the long-distance parties: Lilia is being seduced by an acclaimed pianist and composer. Matt’s business partner, passionate over chasing money, wants a chunk of the online gaming market. Matt also has to contend with his older brother who moves back while recovering from drug addiction. The question of whether or not their long-distance romantic relationship will survive as they deal with personal challenges is what makes turning the pages worthwhile.

One noticeable purpose of Roberta Carr in writing this book is to explore what little is known about long-distance relationships. In the case of the two protagonists, their respective success encompasses the continuance of the relationship. This is where she puts in considerable conflicts to challenge their convictions about the nature of their communication and proximity. This is intensified by the presence of strong supporting characters that inhabit their separate worlds. The Things We Don’t Say is beautifully written. It gives a sense of empowerment by conveying the mettle of love in repudiating temptations. Subplot threadings that are resolved without much complexity may elicit mixed reactions, but the solid characterization is what makes this book relatable to readers.

K.C. Finn

The Things We Don't Say is a work of fiction in the romance, interpersonal drama, and slice of life sub-genres, and was penned by author Roberta R. Carr. Written for the New Adult readership as young people go out and start their lives, we follow the path of a couple; Lilia Bennett-Parker and Matt Campbell. When Lilia is offered an unmissable opportunity to play her cello in a prestigious symphony orchestra, she leaps at it, but the distance puts a strain on her and Matt’s relationship. As Matt finds himself trapped in a direction he doesn’t want to head in, questions about what they both really want out of life come to a head. What results is an emotive drama about trying to have it all, and what really matters at the end of the day.

Author Roberta R. Carr has crafted a beautiful novel with many twisting plot lines and different characters entering the drama, so readers who enjoy a lot of interpersonal and emotive scene-play will be certain to find it on every page. This makes for an immersive read with fast pacing, taking you through some very deep emotional turmoil and heart-breaking scenes. Mei Lei was one of my favorite characters by far, but everyone’s story in this novel has a knock-on effect on one another’s, and this drama twists up into a literal storm as it reaches its emotive crescendo. Overall, I would definitely recommend The Things We Don't Say for its atmospheric and emotive prose: a highly compelling read.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Things We Don't Say by Roberta R. Carr is a YA Romance. Lilia Bennet-Parker loves her cello and she loves Matt Campbell but she’s not ready to give one up and settle down with the other just yet. She gets an offer she cannot refuse; the chance to join a symphony orchestra but it means moving 3000 miles away. She leaves Matt behind in Pennsylvania and moves to California, making new friends quickly. Matt is starting to feel trapped where he is, with his family responsibilities, and not happy with how his business is going. He and Lilia talk by text, by video call, but things are getting awkward and both consider calling it a day on their relationship. A hurricane strands Matt while Lilia has to decide whether to do a huge favor for a friend and both need to make a decision. They must choose the lives that they want but do those lives include each other?

The Things We Don’t Say by Roberta R. Carr is an enjoyable story. Both of the main characters have a story of their own to tell which weave intricately together. The plot is steady with well-developed characters and, in places, it’s a bumpy ride. This is the perfect blend of romance and heartbreak, a story of maintaining long-distance relationships, living a dream, and making difficult choices. The story plays out smoothly, taking turns you may not expect but keeping you hooked. Every chapter ends in a way that makes you want to keep reading, to see what happens and how the story ends. This is a great read to while away a few hours curled up in an armchair, losing yourself in someone else’s world.