Talk Review

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About the Book

Fans of Speak by Laure Halse Anderson and Identical by Ellen Hopkins will love Talk.

Donoghue’s young adult book reaches new heights in this portrait of sexual abuse, violent alcoholism, and devastating realizations.

Sometimes the past just won’t let go. You wake up and everything has changed. Your whole world is turned upside down. And you know that things will never be the same. Four lives, two different roads, two destinations: a psychiatric hospital or the morgue.

The Hales are an all American middle-class family on the outside. But behind their masquerade, each member of the family has their own dark secrets.

For Susie, she’s the oldest and the most responsible, the voice of reason in the family, and maintained the facade of happiness. But dig a little deeper and find a girl still scared, looking for her father’s love, and substituting it with sex and alcohol.

For Mary, she is the youngest and suffered the most from their painful childhood, can only find peace through cutting and is in a constant battle with her parents, her sister and her life.

George Hale is a charming man, who chose to live an unconventional life and stubbornly forced those ideals on his family. He drank. He would pick fights. He would disappear for days on end only to return and uproot them from their life and they would find some new place to live with the police right on their heels.

Susie and Mary. They are half of the Hales All American Family. But what lies beneath their wholesome family facade? Each sister hides their own dark secret, being sexually abused by George, their own father.

Vivid, haunting, and authentic this portrayal of abuse and self-harm, Donoghue manages to show the horror and the guilt of sexual abuse in a realistic yet appropriate way. With authentic and well-developed characters, Talk will be one of the most suspenseful books you read this year with a powerful shocking ending.

Gemma Donoghue is the author of the bestseller Young Adult book Delicate, Fragile and Good Enough.


This is one of those achingly honest books. The narrator tells everything just as it is and doesn’t hold back. And boy, do things look perpetually grim. Even when things start to look up we are instantly thrown right back down to the reality of the situation. And as you are reading this book it raises the question on what would you do when your own worst nightmare was the person meant to protect you from harm?

Talk goes deep and covers many topics that often get unceremoniously swept under the rug: alcoholism, abuse, homelessness, self-harm, and rape. And I think that Donoghue was so successful in opening a conversation on these topics because of how the book was written. Susie was our narrator and, like I mentioned before, she just told it as it is. Of course there were moments when her facade cracked, but for the most part her ability to calmly tell the story and give as much detail as possible is what made the story so haunting and realistic.

And haunting this story is, because it shoves these topics in your face and doesn’t give you a chance to look away. And what I liked best about this book is that it was honest. It was honest about what it was and what it talked about. Even if the characters within are anything but honest. It’s an odd combination, but one that works.

About the Author

Gemma Donoghue is a first-time self-publishing author, and a lover of anything that involves horror, mystery, and romance.

*I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest review*

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