The Sharp Edge of Silence by Cameron Kelly Rosenblum

The Sharp Edge of Silence

I picked up The Sharp Edge of Silence because of the main plot—a rape at a private high school. As my debut novel, Lipstick Covered Magnet, tackled rape, acceptance, and healing, I knew this book would be for me.

The novel follows three narrators: Q(Quinn), Charlotte, and Max. They each hold a vital piece to the puzzle and offer varying perspectives on the culture (and secret organization) of Lycroft Phelps. As someone who has struggled with sexual harassment and assault, Q's journey and rage sat with me in a way only I believe a fellow victim can understand. Q's story was raw, painful, and honest about living with trauma, and I believe Rosenblum did a phenomenal job conveying the struggles of living through sexual assault and how—until you've healed—your body no longer feels like yours.

While Q's narrative was compelling and important, Charlotte's and Max's felt bloated. I enjoyed their commentary on jock culture and the secretive nature of Slycroft but ultimately felt their sections lagged and only offered something of real importance near the latter quarter of the novel. I also didn't need 20+ pages of Max rowing with the crew. After a while, I began glazing over those scenes.

Overall, I loved Q's plot—from depression to rage to eventual acceptance and healing. I just felt it would have been more poignant and rich without so much commentary from Charlotte and Max.

I recommend this novel to anyone interested in YA novels that tackle sexual assault, healing past traumas, or toxic sexual expectations.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quill Tree Books for the ARC.*

Mayflies by Andrew O'Hagan

Courtesy of Faber

Mayflies offers a nostalgic look at friendship and the memories we hold onto well into adulthood.

Though I enjoyed the setting of the first half of the novel and felt the dynamic between friends was realistic, I ultimately found I didn’t feel an emotional pull toward anyone — especially Tully. As the book centers around Tully specifically, this meant I didn’t care much about the latter half of the novel and was mostly waiting for compelling character arcs that never came. It seemed that, apart from what little was offered in the first half of the book, I knew nothing about Tully and found myself waiting for the book to reach its conclusion.

Overall, I thought the prose was fun and the setting interesting. I just didn’t care about the characters because they weren’t fleshed out enough.