This book contains sensitive and potentially triggering scenes. Trigger warning for self harm, sexual assault, suicide. These themes run throughout and are very realistic and therefore this book may not be suitable if you’re vulnerable. Please take care if you choose to read this book – take breaks if necessary and look after yourself.
Thank you to Hot Key Books via Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Three teenage girls (Mehreen, Cara, and Olivia) are desperate for their misery to end and in their search for that, come across a website called Memento Mori. They get matched up to end their lives together, and get given tasks to complete before their given suicide date that get increasingly more sinister. Along the way they actually become good friends and realise that perhaps, life won’t always be so bad.
Mehreen is a Muslim teen who feels like no one understands her Chaos, she prays to Allah for something to live for. 10 months ago, Cara got in a car accident that caused her to become a paraplegic and lose her dad at the same time. She lives with the grief and guilt while her mum becomes overly protective of her. Olivia’s parents split, and her mums new boyfriend abuses her and makes her believe no one would believe her so that she doesn’t have the courage to speak up about it.
Cara has a lot of anger, perhaps frustration at herself since she believes it’s her fault the car crashed and her father died. Olivia’s self harm thoughts are very intense and it’s hard to read about. She’s certain that people will think she’s been asking for the sick attention her mums boyfriend gives her, so is shocked when her new friends want to help her. Mehreen gets made fun of for how much her religion means to her, but it’s all that keeps her going (as well as her comics), and can’t believe it when Cara and Liv are respectful of it.
I love that this book focuses on mental health, friendship, and family, and doesn’t contain romance. A part that was so thoughtful in this blossoming friendship was Cara making sure there was Halal food options for Mehreen, she also made sure Mehreen didn’t go without a headscarf on when Mehreen herself wasn’t in a position to be able to sort that, as she knew how important it is to her.
While good friendship was what these girls needed to feel able to tackle their mental health problems (including opening up to their families about how they’re feeling) it’s not always that simple, but this story was so wonderful and refreshing. I was expecting this book to mostly focus on just one of the girls however I thought it was a great balance, even with Olivia’s chapters being in verse (which is something I loved).
My only issue would be the questionable mentions about invisible disabilities, despite all of the other fantastic rep in this book. As far as I can say, All The Things We Never Said is a very accurate take on living with depression and anxiety and how daunting it can be to tell others you’re struggling.