(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Except for a shared birthday, fraternal twins Sarah and Annie have little in common. Where Annie is friendly and popular, Sarah is crippled by social anxiety. Annie craves attention, while Sarah shies away from it. Annie lives for beauty pageants, Sarah prefers reading and playing her violin. Annie is the one who shines; it's her around which the family—and the world—has always seemed to revolve. Sarah accepted her second-tier status long ago.
Then, for no apparent reason, Annie changes. She gorges herself, resulting in massive weight gain; cuts her hair; and starts acting differently. Frustrated, the girls' mother harangues Annie constantly, begging her to lose the extra pounds. And that's not the only flak she's getting because of her strange transformation. As Annie's brightness fades, Sarah suddenly finds herself in the spotlight—somewhere she doesn't belong and doesn't want to be. Besides, she's got her own problems. Her boyfriend has just broken up with her. She's devastated by the break, concerned about her sister, and worried that her whole life is crumbling to pieces around her. How can she reach Annie, the girl who should be her BFF but isn't? Will helping her twin bring things back to normal? Is that what Sarah wants? Or is it time to get real, no matter what the cost?
Although Carol Lynch Williams is a must-read author for me, I don't adore every one of her books. Some (The Chosen One; Signed, Skye Harper) I do, some I don't. Never Said belongs in the latter category. Although I enjoyed its format (Annie's sections are in verse; Sarah's are in prose), I just didn't connect all that well with this story. It's affecting, yes, but it also comes off as heavy-handed and depressing. Plus, the characters just lack something, especially the girls' parents, who seem unrealistically cold and over-the-top. In the end, I found Never Said compelling enough to finish (it's a quick, well-written read), but not to earn my undying adoration.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for references to disturbing subjects (sexual abuse, rape, etc.)
To the FTC, with love: Another library