Sarah's Stars

Andrew Clements. No Talking
Simon & Schuster  $19.99  ISBN 978-1-4169-0983-5  146 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 15

“It’s okay if you don’t want to,” Dave said. “It was just an idea. I mean, I can see why you’d be afraid, since you’re a girl and all. And since you have to talk every other second. No problem. Sorry I interrupted you. Just keep talking to your friends there. You were talking about something important, weren’t you? That special sweater, right? Go ahead, talk. You girls go on and talk and talk and talk all you want to.”

The fifth grade students at Laketon Elementary have a nickname amongst the teachers there: the Unshushables. As in they talk a lot. A lot. And the chattiest boy and the gabbiest girl out of all of them (for boys and girls would never talk to each other) are Dave and Lynsey. Dave and Lynsey are also partners for their Socials project. Which is where Dave first hears about Gandhi, who went whole days without saying a single word. Soon, Dave has an idea—no, a challenge—for himself and for Lynsey and for all of the Unshushables… No talking…

When I first realized that I was about to read an Andrew Clements book, I was overjoyed. I have read several other titles by Clements, and thoroughly enjoyed his honest, witty style. I was, however, disappointed by No Talking; for me, it fell below Clements’ standards. Though usually spunky, compelling and heartfelt, I found Clements’ new book stagnant and clichéd. It was okay, don’t get me wrong, but the usually brilliant characters were bland, the zany plot twists left me indifferent, and I just felt like the author was trying too hard. The conclusion of the novel lacked both care and flair, and there seemed to be few genuinely dramatic or intriguing segments throughout.

No Talking is aimed at kids in grades three to seven, and perhaps is more suitable for the younger age group. Although a perfectly acceptable story, this reviewer doesn’t place it in her MUST READ pile, and passes it by for something more substantial by Andrew Clements. Andrew Clements has written more than fifty children’s books, the most popular being Frindle.

No Talking earns three stars.


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