Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 25 October 2013

Ethan's Voice - Rachel Carter




Ethan is eleven-years-old and he lives with his mum and dad on a canal boat. He hasn't spoken for some time, around four years, though he can't remember quite when he stopped speaking, or why he did. He is currently schooled at home by his mum, but near the beginning of the story there is talk about him possibly trying to go back to school one day. This is something that terrifies Ethan. He is content learning at home and spending time at the pond. Then one day Ethan meets Polly, who is newly arrived on the canal with her mum Jackie; she is temporarily separated from Polly's father. Polly is missing her dad but despite this she is a happy, friendly and kind girl and proves to be a wonderful influence on Ethan. Together they enjoy various outings around the canal, sharing activities.


Ethan writes down in a notebook what he cannot say out loud so that he can still communicate with Polly. Their connection means though that she understands a lot of what he is feeling and sometimes a nod from him is enough. Polly helps Ethan and with the aid of her friendship and kindness, he starts to recall memories that are painful, and may go towards an understanding of why he stopped speaking. Between them they start to piece together what may have happened in his past that led to his silence.



Ethan's Voice is a well written story of friendship and kindness. A sweet, joyful and believable friendship is formed between Ethan and Polly, and both of these likeable characters came to life for me as I read. Despite Ethan not speaking we still get to know him, and Polly, and I became involved in his tale and felt his story was told clearly, honestly and with sympathy by Rachel Carter. It's an enjoyable, moving tale, an accomplished debut written with warmth. 

With Ethan's story that he himself is writing about a knight, the author creates a clever extra little layer that parallels the main story. The story also looks at how parents try and protect their children and how misunderstandings can inadvertently arise, and though primarily focussed on Ethan and Polly, I got a strong sense of his parents' anxiety and love for him too. I believe this book is aimed at children aged 9 years old and up, and that would seem about right, though I very much enjoyed reading it myself as an adult.

Published by Scholastic

6 comments:

  1. Oh this does sound good and I love the cover. Though it might be aimed at nine (or there about) year olds it does sound like it features some pretty adult situations.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Tracy. Yes the situations are ones that go beyond the age range.

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  2. This sounds lovely Linds, not sure I would have came across it otherwise. Not one for my wishlist but I will definitely keep an eye out for it if it comes my way, thanks for a lovely review.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Lainy :)

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  3. The cover brought me to this post, it's adorable. The book may be written for kids but it sounds like my kind of read!

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    1. It's a really nice cover isn't it. Thanks for commenting Priya :)

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