More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Information

Goodreads: More Than We Can Tell
Series: Letters to the Lost #2 (actually a standalone companion book)
Source: Library
Published: March 2018

Summary

Eighteen-year-old Rev Fletcher was doing fine until his abusive stepfather contacted him for the first time in years.  Just as Emma Blue was doing fine coding her own video game until a ticked off player starts sending her obscene threats.  A chance meeting between the two opens up the potential of finding healing through sharing.  But first both of them will need to learn to trust.

Star Divider

Review

“We all push sometimes, just to make sure someone is on the other side, pushing back.”

More Than We Can Tell is the type of book that has readers sobbing the entire time.  Rev Fletcher and Emma Blue each have their problems.  Rev’s is that his abusive father has made contact for the first time in years–and Rev is afraid both that his father will show up and that he might have inherited his father’s violent tendencies.  Emma, meanwhile, is struggling to handle online harassment from a gamer in an RPG she coded–without telling her parents, who remain distant on the one hand and overly critical on the other.  Both Rev and Emma feel a little broken—and their stories are about to break your heart.

More Than We Can Tell feels like a poignant, real story, one where both protagonists have loving support systems, but ones they are hesitant to use.  Rev’s family would never reject him, but his critical view of himself makes him unable to confront his fears by speaking them aloud.  Emma’s family, meanwhile, is not very good at communicating with each other.  So she keeps her silence out of the belief that her parents either will not care about her problems or will try to solve them by shutting down her one love–gaming.  Many stories confront readers with a dilemma: why didn’t the characters just say something?  Why didn’t they go to an adult?  Why are they so stupid?  Just so we can have a story?  More Than We Can Tell illustrates precisely how some teens might shut down their support systems.  It is an empathetic depiction of how hurt sometimes works.

Entwined with all the pain, however, there is plenty of light.  There is Rev’s wonderful, loving family; his best friend who stands by him no matter what; and Rev’s own kindness and generosity.  There is Emma’s best friend and her friendly dog.  And, of course, there is the sweet romance blossoming between Rev and Emma.  With each other, they feel they can be themselves.  They begin to open up about their pasts, their fears, their worries.  And the opening they give each other means they can start mending their other relationships.

More Than We Can Tell is not a standard contemporary YA romance.  It is not afraid to look into the dark places, nor does it take readers on a predictable journey from first meeting to blown-up misunderstanding to final kiss.  Rather, it makes its characters grow in all their relationships as they try to patch up their various wounds.  It will make you cry, but not in a bad way.

4 stars

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