Book Review: Circle of Silence

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Author: Carol M. Tanzman
ISBN: 9781921796852
RRP: $19.99

Circle of Silence arrived on my desk a while back and I fell in love with the blurb on the back as well as the cover. It drew me in with the promise of suspense and a mystery to unravel. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t drop everything and devour the book as I would have liked so I placed it in the pile, knowing that its time would come, and this week I was finally able to pick it up.

I would have loved to sit and devour Circle of Silence in a sitting but it’s been an extremely hectic week in my house this week preparing for a family holiday, making reading the top of my wish list but the bottom of the priority list. I plodded through the book, never wanting to put it down but knowing that I had to. Today was the big drive so I spent 13 hours in the car and less than half of that driving so it was the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in Washington Irving High, providing the children stayed nice and quiet – which they did.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the book.

Circle of Silence is actually the second in the WiHi series according to Goodreads, of which I was unaware until I finished the book. This may be the second in a series but it is a fantastic stand alone that loses nothing if you haven’t read its predecessor, Dancergirl.

circle of silence

Circle of Silence is a contemporary young adult story that addresses some very important issues faced by young people and the tribulations of high school.

Valerie Gaines is a senior at Washington Irving High and has just been voted producer of a Campus News crew and this is her story, told in the first person.

Interspersed throughout her narrative are short journal entries by the antagonist of the story. These journal entries increase the ingtrigue, raising more questions and leaving you wondering where it will all end.

This is a book that grabbed me, I spent the entire time trying to piece together the clues and come up with the answers. At times I was close but there were twists that I had no idea about at all.

WiHi seems to be quite the typical high school, the characters are believable and realistic though some less well fleshed than others. We get to know Valerie quite well, her hopes and dreams, her heartbreak and her hectic family life but the rest of the Campus News crew is more of a need to know basis and that worked because it helped to build the intrigue, the vague character background meant that the group of pranksters that surfaced at WiHi really could have been anyone.

Val and her Campus News crew start to follow the story of ‘MP’, the prankster/s creating a buzz at WiHi. The pranks fast escalate to a level where people are in danger and Val is threatened if she doesn’t drop the story, but it’s a story that could be huge if they manage to crack it.

The team risk more than they anticipated in pursuit of the ‘MP’ story, a story which ends up being about much more than the pranksters. Adolescence is a very turbulent time, as we all know, and it can be even more difficult to navigate when you feel totally alone and invisible. These two emotions make it simple for someone to come along and play to those vulnerabilities. Circle of Silence tells exactly this story and reminds us that we are not alone, there is always someone else suffering with loneliness and often that can be avoided with a little bit of effort.

I loved this book, the intrigue kept me guessing while the story was easy to believe and the ending, well the ending almost brought a tear.

This was my introduction to Carol M. Tanzman but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her work.

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