The Things I Didn't Say, by Kylie Fornasier

I hate the label Selective Mutism – as if I choose not to speak, like a kid who refuses to eat broccoli. I’ve used up every dandelion wish since I was ten wishing for the power to speak whenever I want to. I’m starting to wonder if there are enough dandelions.

Piper Rhodes doesn’t talk to strangers. But far from this being a sign of following parental rules, her silence seems inexplicable. She can talk at home, and to people she knows well, but at school and in the community, words fail her. This causes lots of problems, but as she starts at a new school for her final year of schooling, Piper is never more aware of just how problematic it can be. Teachers think she’s being rude, and making friends is difficult. Then there’s West: the school captain, soccer-star, boy who has it all. He seems intent of getting to know her, even if it means writing notes.

Selective Mutism is a difficult condition to live with and for other people to comprehend. Even the name is problematic, as Piper complains, implying a ‘selection’ or choice being made. The Things I Didn’t Say is a wonderful exploration of the challenges it holds for one teen character, at the same time as being just a great read about friendship, peer pressure, and parental expectation. Piper has changed schools by choice after losing her best friend following a drunken party, and at the new school finds both new friends and new enemies. West, who appears to have it all, also has struggles, particularly with meeting the expectations his parents have of him. Their seemingly unlikely relationship blossoms through notes and text messages, but is threatened by people around them.

An excellent young adult read.

The Things I Didn’t Say, by Kylie Fornasier
Penguin, 2016
ISBN 9780143573630

The Ugg Boot War, by Kylie Fornasier

I would need a book the size of the Yellow Pages to list all the embarrassing things about my dad. The most embarrassing thing of all is his ugg boots. he wears them all the time, even in public, even in summer, even with shorts.

Jake has a problem – two problems actually, and both of them are on the ends of Dad’s legs. Dad seems permanently attached to his ugg boots. He wears them everywhere, all year round. They are old and stained, but Dad doesn’t care. He says they’re his pride and joy. Jake cares, though. He worries what people might think, and tries desperately to find a way to get Dad and his ugg boots separated – for good.

The Ugg Boot War is a humorous, easy to read story about ugg boots and family. The resolution is both satisfying and fun, and the story is complemented with colour illustrations, by Tom Jellett, bringing the action to life.

Part of Omnibus Books’ fantastic Mates series, The Ugg Boot War is a fabulous Aussie tale for beginning readers.


The Ugg Boot War (Mates)

The Ugg Boot War, by Kylie Fornasier & Tom Jellett
Omnibus Books, 2014
ISBN 9781862919990

Available from good bookstores and online.