Just Don’t Mention It
Written by Estelle Maskame
Published by Ink Road Press
Publication date: 21st June 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
Tyler Bruce – hell raiser and bad boy – tells his story in his own words.
Alternating between past and present, Just Don’t Mention It is narrated from Tyler’s perspective. We see his life as a twelve-year-old boy suffering physical abuse at the hands of his dad. We see him as the daredevil seventeen-year-old we first met in Did I Mention I Love You?, the stepbrother who falls head over heels for Eden.
In these parallel timelines we finally understand the enigmatic Tyler’s complex story and his innermost thoughts – on his dad, his mom, on Tiffani and Eden – all the things Eden wasn’t witness to. And, crucially, the reader gains heartbreaking insight into why Tyler becomes the self-obsessed, angry and unhappy guy we encounter in DIMILY.
This utterly addictive rollercoaster of a novel gives voice to one of the most adored characters in Estelle Maskame’s extraordinary international bestseller, Did I Mention I Love You?
Jamie’s eating his cereal with his mouth open, purposely crunching it loudly in my ear. Mom’s turned her attention to the TV mounted up on the wall, messing around with the remote as she tries to get the news on, and when she does, she lowers the volume and watches the screen out of the corner of her eye as she spreads Chase’s toast. He grins when she sets the plate down in front of him, and they all seem to be satisfied, just like they always are.
I feel so far away from them. And I know truly that I’m right here beside them, but sometimes it feels like I’m not really. Everything is just so numb, so empty. I’ve grown so used to tuning everything out that I can’t remember how to tune back in. I feel lost halfway between being here and being elsewhere.
The truth is, I don’t really know where I am. I’m just somewhere.
Cover: I like the composite of pictures on the cover – it looks like something you would find on Instagram. I’m not entirely sure what expression the guy on the front is going for through…
First impressions: The summary for this seemed interesting, but I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t understand it fully without having read the original trilogy. While I’m sure those who have read the first set of books will have a deeper understanding, not having read it didn’t affect my understanding in the slightest. Within just a few sentences I was drawn completely into Tyler’s world and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen to him.
The story is told in alternating chapters – one set several years before where we see Tyler changing due to his relationship with his Dad breaking down, and present-day where he first meets Eden (and, as far as I know, in the time where the original trilogy is set). I fund this really effective, because Tyler doesn’t come cross well in the later chapters because he has created a facade to hide behind and it’s not very pretty. The flashback chapters allowed us to see who he is behind that facade and the person he would be if not for building up walls to protect himself.
No matter how many nights I spend trying to figure these things out, I am still no closer to finding the answers.
I just wish I knew where I was headed. I’m too scared to think about my future, because I’m terrified I don’t have one.
What I liked: The alternate chapter format which allowed us to see Tyler developing and changing – if I had just met to present-day Tyler I wouldn’t have liked him at all! – but he has reasons for being the way he is. I thought that the depiction of abuse was heartbreaking, but realistic. I can see this being popular with fans of the original trilogy because Tyler as a child is endearing whereas the teenager is quite unlikeable at first.
Even better if: Well, I now need to read the original trilogy!
How you could use it in your classroom: There is swearing and reference to drinking, sex and drugs so I can’t imagine many schools being happy about this being used in the classroom. If recommending to a young person, I would recommend pre-reading. I think this would be a great addition to any young-adult library as it deals with a number of issues that teens might face.
(Thank you to Ink Road Press and Estelle Maskame for my review copy!)
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