Reader Reviewed Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Joanne Owen's Pick of the Year 2015 “Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them,” so declares Tess, the troubled heroine of this remarkable novel about alienation, family conflict, the often cruel dynamics of school and, ultimately, the struggle to find one’s place.

Everything changes for Tess when she uncovers an earthshattering family secret. With her whole life pulled apart and seemingly founded on a lie, Tess makes a stand by retreating into selective mutism, thus the voice she’s always used to please others is transformed into a form of rebellion. In place of conversing with people, Tess communicates with the fish-shaped torch she bought when planning to run away. But while Tess withdraws into herself, the outside world becomes increasingly hostile.
Always inimitable and never confined by convention or recourse to cliché, Annabel Pitcher’s protagonists are consistently created with insight and honesty, warts and all, and Silence is Goldfish is an unforgettable novel. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Khadijah Ahmed - 'Silence is Goldfish is a classic tale about the sensitive yet powerful bond between parent and child, and the emotional turbulence that comes with the complexities of this unique relationship.'

  • Rosie Thorogood, age 13 - 'I loved the way this book was written, and loved feeling like I was inside the mind of Tess. The book kept me captured throughout. I enjoyed going through Tess's story, it was wonderful and emotional.

  • Izzy Read, age 15 - 'It has a distinct style, pumped full of emotion and thought that portrays real life to the T.

  • Edel Waugh - 'I think the importance of being open with children stood out in the story. It really was a book that stays with you after you finish reading it. Terrific!'

  • Lucie Harrison - 'I really enjoyed reading Silence is Goldfish because it had an interesting plot and unique characters who were also quite unpredictable. I would recommend it to older readers.'

  • Humaira Kauser, age 18 - 'Annabel Pitcher is one of my favourite authors and I would gladly read anything she writes! Highly engaging and hard to put down.'

  • Maddy Faulkner - 'This novel is both thought provoking and hilarious. Tess is an outstanding example of a central character- kind and thoughtful, yet strong and powerful in every sense. 10/10.'

  • Sophie Bridges, age 13 - 'Silence is Goldfish By Annabel Pitcher is a good book, but the story line is quite confusing' 


Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

The third YA novel from the bestselling and prizewinning author of My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece and Ketchup Clouds, in which Tessie-T discovers she's a Pluto and her parents wanted a Mercury or Venus, at least. She has never really felt she fitted in and after what she read one night on her father's blog she knows for certain that she never will. How she deals with her discovery makes an entirely riveting, heart-breaking story told through Tess's eyes as she tries to find her place in the world.

My name is Tess Turner - at least, that's what I've always been told. I have a voice but it isn't mine. It used to say things so I'd fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn't. It lied. It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren't the lies: it was six hundred and seventeen words of truth that turned my world upside down. Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them. I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.


This amazing story is very well written and easy to read, as always! As with Ketchup Clouds, I would recommend this book to teenagers from about the age of fourteen who are just beginning to experience love, betrayal, recklessness and loneliness. The book immediately feels like a Pitcher novel and her beautiful writing style is what really makes it enjoyable. GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS

This novel is both heart-breaking and hilarious. Tess is a fabulous protagonist, a strong, outgoing girl who tries her hardest to please those around her, yet one who deals with daily bullying on account of her size and unconventional looks. Her journey of self-discovery is incredibly difficult and you cannot help but cheer her on every step of the way. It is exceptionally well written and an absolute joy to read. BOOK TRUST

Strong in substance and originality, Pitcher continues to bring boldness and uniqueness to YA WE LOVE THIS BOOK

More sad, funny and relatable family dynamic storytelling from Annabel Pitcher THE BOOKBAG

About the Author

Annabel Pitcher

Annabel Pitcher studied English at Oxford and has since worked as a script writer and an English teacher. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband. She won a Betty Trask award for her first novel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece .

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Book Info


384 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Annabel Pitcher
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Indigo (an Imprint of Orion Children's) an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

1st October 2015




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