Cover Image: Silent Journey

Silent Journey

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Member Reviews

A coming of age YA novel about Scott who lost his hearing in the accident that claimed his mothers life. I found it a little slow to begin with but actually really enjoyed the story and the characters in the end.
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This book was an interesting perspective on being deaf. I found it fascinating to see how perceptive Scott was about what people were saying and thinking. As he unraveled the mystery of his family and his own past, it was interesting to see things becoming clearer to him. This would be good for children who find themselves in less-than-ideal circumstances, as it will help them to see that they are not alone.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
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Scott lost his hearing in the accident which killed his mother, a few years ago. One summer, he is sent to stay with his grandmother while his dad works abroad. Scott adopts a stray dog and makes friends with a girl who lives nearby.

Although the storyline is ok, the characters are somewhat two dimensional and their relationships are superficial. There is a big family secret which could have been explored in an interesting way but instead it just felt like a clunky add-on which doesn’t really add anything to the story.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is my maiden voyage in NetGalley reviewing, and I am excited!

"Silent Journey" is a young adult novel about a 13 year-old boy who is hearing impaired.  .  Scot has been deaf since the fiery accident that killed his mother.  "He didn't remember much, just flames, heat, shadows, and loneliness.  But that was seven years ago when he was six.  Since then, Scot had endured a world of silence..  The doctors told him there was nothing physically wrong with him...."  (Page 5)

At the beginning of the novel, he and his dad drive from Fort Worth, Texas to Chelsey, Kansas.  Before that, they have lived with an aunt, then his maternal grandparents and then a cousin.  Scot feels alone and like an "outsider."  The author does a wonderful job of describing Scot's feelings.  I immediately liked him and rooted for him to be successful in finding his place in the world.  My heart went out to him, and I wanted to give him the love he was seeking.

In Chelsey, Scot and his dad are moving in with his maternal grandmother, a woman with great presence who commanded everyone and everything in her household.  Scot's dad referred to her as the "matriarch".  Scot wasn't sure what that meant.  He thought his dad said "May-tree-ark," and always called her The Ark.

Scot finds a fast friend in Chelsey, happily.  A German shepherd dog named Runt was abandoned by his owner who moved to Alaska.  The former owner was a truck driver, and Runt absolutely loves to ride in trucks.  This will be problematic for Scot during the course of the book.  Runt and Scot are everything to each other and find themselves in many adventures.

The book is chock full of adventure, including gymnastics competitions, moving to California, and flying in gliders.  I loved the friendship between the boy and his dog.  Spoiler Alert:  the dog does die in the end.  The plot resolves itself, and Scot changes and matures within the story.  Illustrations depicting key events in the book add to the story. I recommend this for middle school boys.
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This was a really good book that I think middle school children would enjoy. But I hated the ending. Thank you Red Chair Press via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Silent Journey follows Scott, a hearing impaired adolescent,  as he navigates his new rules and realities after being sent to live with his Grandmother. Along the way he befriends and adopts a dog and the two of them end up on an unexpected adventure  in search of family and belonging.  The story was an accessible read and comes from a good place with good intentions. Having said that, there were dated and cringe-worthy references to the protagonist's hearing impairment as "being handicapped".  As a literacy educator who is always looking for novels with underrepresented protagonists, I was initially excited to read this, and am grateful to NetGalley for an ARC.. While Scott does have hearing loss, the story is less about his hearing loss and more about finding family. I do think that this is a good thing, but I was personally hoping for a little more representation of Deaf culture and its respective nuances to be woven throughout the story. Despite this, the story does have heart and is an engaging read.
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First sentence: Scott Schroeder yanked a can out of the drink machine in front of the gas station. As he fumbled with his change from the slot, a coin fell out of his hand and rolled out into the drive. He stepped to it and bent over to pick it up. A sudden bump from behind sent him sprawling.

Premise/plot: Scott stars in Watson's coming of age novel, Silent Journey. Scott, our hero, is deaf; trauma "caused" his deafness; there is no physical reason. He loves, loves, loves gymnastics. He misses his father like crazy when he is away. He is shipped from one relative to another to another to another. His best companion is a dog.

My thoughts: Silent Journey is a busy, busy, busy book in terms of plot. I feel like the author ends up juggling five or six balls instead of just three.

I did like Scott, for the most part. I liked seeing Scott make friends (some human, one dog). I liked seeing Scott do gymnastics, something he loves. I thought Scott's loneliness resonated which I suppose was a good thing.

What I didn't like, what I in fact absolutely HATED was the "need" to "fix" Scott's deafness and thereby make for a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE ENDING when it comes to the pet dog. (Not to mention the uncle).

Another thing that confused me a good deal was the story line about his paternity. (Was his uncle his father? Is his father his uncle?) I thought this added a busy-layer to the story that was more distracting than not. I wasn't confused by the storytelling to be clear.
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A young boy, rendered deaf by a fiery accident, learns to deal with transitions in his life with the help of his uncle and a faithful  dog-friend.  I would call this a  “gentle read”, perfect for younger middle -grade readers who are transitioning into chapter books.

**Thank you, Netgalley, for honoring my request for the this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.**
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This book had some unique moments in dealing with Scott's deafness, and it did a good job with character and relationship building. However, the overall story line was too predictable and some of the minor plot points either felt forced or unresolved. 
"I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
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As a teacher, I was really excited for this book.  I always begin the year teaching respect for others and accepting each other's differences.  (We have many special needs children in our building.)  This book sounded like a great introduction to our school year and acceptance lesson.

The beginning was a little slow.  Once Scott's situation improved, I was hooked.  Life was going well for him.  I was   enjoying this book.  All of a sudden, there were two major disappointments.  Right at the end!  Really?  

I wished the story had a happy ending.  How it ended, made me furious!!

I will not be able to read this to my class!  My hopes for this book, we're dashed!!
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Brilliant read. Had me hooked for couple of nights. Great storyline and great characters. Just goes to show how exciting life can be if you are deaf . Well done
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