The summer between their sophomore and junior years, Nadio starting doing things that didn't interest Noelle, like running, and Keeley took a trip to England and came back a different person. At least, that's how Noelle feels. She can't quite put her finger on it, but something about Keeley has changed beyond the obvious (like her attitude and her attire) - something Keeley doesn't want to talk about. While silence pushes the girls apart, Keeley and Nadio are drawn together. They keep their developing romance a secret from Noelle. Their happy little triangle is no longer equilateral. Lonely and lost, Noelle seeks attention from Parker, a dangerous and alluring boy covered in tattoos and tension, and Jessica, a party girl with a car.
This is What I Want to Tell You is an affecting story about relationships - how they change as people drift apart or come back together, and how the people we love reflect who we are and shape our shapes and our movement. It's also a very quick read. Nadio and Noelle narrate the book in alternating chapters. Most of the passages I marked were Noelle's. Some examples:
When I met Parker I thought I could make him fill in all those spaces and gaps that my brother and Keeley left behind, even though the shapes were all wrong. - Page 7
Why don't people ever see the way other kinds of love can wreck you? What about the way being left out of love can wreck you? - Page 148
There's a certain strength in being alone. - Page 221
These are Noelle's thoughts, the things she can't bring herself to say.
Now here's Nadio, looking at his sister:
She looked suddenly like every year of our life. She was three and six and eight and eleven and scared somewhere and looking up at me, wordlessly begging me to help her across the river or bear the first day of school. She'd stopped asking for these things with her eyes a long time ago, but there it was again. - Page 199
Nadio has an absolutely beautiful passage about what makes a family that I'd quote here if it didn't come so late in the story. I have been very careful to not give away too much in this review, plus I'm aware that lines from the advance copy could be changed or cut prior to publication, so I won't quote that passage here and now. I will say this: You'll know it when you read it, and you'll nod in affirmation.
Keeley is vital to this story. I wanted so much to see her art, and I listened to every single word she said to either twin. At one point, she tells Noelle:
Everything is gonna change, but we always have each other. The history of each other. That's who we are. - Page 207
This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone will be published by Flux in March 2009.
Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens
Booklist: Multiple Narrators
Booklist: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Person
Poetry Friday: The Foresters by Alfred, Lord Tennyson - a piece which is significant to Noelle