I hate when I don’t care for a book with an important topic. I feel like I am letting down the victims by not clicking with a book about their struggle. That is the case for me with The Word for Yes. Acquaintance rape is not a subject to be taken lightly and deserves the utmost respect. With that being said I am critiquing the book and not the subject.
The Word for Yes was a book I was excited to read. It deals with a very serious issue and I was hoping it would be similar to the tone of Thirteen Reasons Why, a richly nuanced book on teen suicide. Sadly The Word for Yes is not great. The issues lie in the characters and writing style. Told in alternating narrators the writing seemed stilted. “She did this and I was there. We picked out clothes here. I was upset about this.” There did not seem to be emotion behind the words. It was all description with no feeling. Each of the three sisters traded off narration but they did not have unique voices. It was as if each person thought and spoke the same way. A book like this, I expect to cry and connect and I never did.
The world building was minimal. You knew they lived in New York City and went to high school and college but that was it. The pacing was fine and made sense, although the ending seemed rushed. The plot seemed great in the synopsis but again, seemed stilted. I expected rich details and flowing plot points, but saw it more as “We did this, it was done.”
I can see Claire Needell growing into a powerful writer if she can meld the emotion with the description. The Word for Yes had the potential to be great but just fell short. I hope Needell continues to write and grow and I would read her next book.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.