Maybelline may not fit the perfect model of a Chinese Taiwanese American daughter with her hoodies and desire to become a writer, or agree with her parents about a lot of things, but the one person she has always been able to count on to support her is her big brother. Then one day Danny isn’t there anymore, and the family is forced to deal with the aftermath of his suicide. With adults fearful for their kids after the fifth teen suicide in their community, tensions are high and now Maybelline is not only dealing with the loss of her brother but the vocal and racist accusations of many in the community.
Joanna Ho set herself a high bar with her debut novel, The Silence That Binds Us. The book is powerfully written with a story that pulls the reader in. It tackles so many topics head on that our society often remains silent on. The characters grow and development as their strength and courage bring them toa central point.
To date, The Silence that Binds Us is probably the top 2022 YA novel I have read, and I have definite plans to use this as selection for the teen book discussion group I run. It’s beautiful and sad while being simultaneously empowering and offering the reader hope.
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.