Silenced by Simon Packham

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for the 2013 Leeds Book Awards, 11-14 Category

A Review by Katy Poulter, aged 12

There was a very deep yet brilliant storyline behind this book including a subject that is usually avoided and I think that this is tackled extremely well. I really liked the idea that it was being written to Declan, the deceased best friend, and I could really imagine in my head what Ariel’s little eco- settlement and the scenery around it looked like, which for me is a sign that a book is really well written. I felt really sorry for Chris as he was going through an extremely difficult time and you could tell he was stressed and finding things really hard without his voice and his best friend. I was disappointed by the ending as I thought it all ended too quickly and it felt like it was building up to something but then when you got to the end, it all kind of ended happily ever after and so I felt a bit let down . I would have liked something exciting to happen at the end which would mean that the brilliant build-up would have paid off and it could have maybe left it open to a sequel, if the author wanted to write one because an exciting event at the end of one book makes it easier to write a second.

Katy Poulter is a member of the Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel but she has reviewed this novel in the first instance for the Leeds Book Award as it is one of the 2013 shortlisted titles. The organisers have kindly agreed to let us also make use of Katy's review.


Silenced by Simon Packham

Chris needs to talk, but he can’t. He lost the power of speech completely when his best friend, Declan, died in a car crash. As months pass, school friends give up on him and only eco-freak Ariel and a suspiciously friendly new boy, Will, are left. While Will encourages increasingly dangerous ways for Chris to forget Declan, Ariel realises her silent friend is hiding something. But what is Chris’s terrifying secret? And will he find his voice before it’s too late?

Fact File

Shortlisted for the 2013 Leeds Book Award. For further information on the Award click here.

Shortlisted titles are:

9-11 category shortlist - Rachel Billington's Poppy's Hero - Charlotte Haptie's Granny Grabbers' Whizz Bang World - Conrad Mason's The Demon's Watch - William Osborne's Hitler's Angel - Michelle Paver's Gods and Warriors - Marcus Sedgwick's Fright Forest.

11-14 category shortlist - Kerry Drewery's A Brighter Fear - Caroline Green's Cracks - Mark Lowery's Socks are not Enough - Simon Packham's Silenced - Laura Powell's Burn Mark - Mark Walden's Earthfall.

14-16 category shortlist - Phil Earle's Saving Daisy - Sarah Hammond's The Night Sky in my Head - Sam Hawksmoor's The Repossession - Edward Hogan's Daylight Saving - David Massey's Torn - Teri Terry's Slated.

The winners will be announced on 21st May 2013 for the 9-11 category and on 23rd May 2013 for the 11-14 and 14-16 categories.

About the Author

Simon Packham

A Q&A with Simon..

What inspires your writing? A need to try and make some sense of the world. My children.

What has been the most exciting moment of your career so far? Seeing my first review in The Observer (totally unexpected – and good by the way), and having my work translated into other languages.

How did you first become an author? I’d taken a break from acting to be a ‘househusband’ and look after our two small children. I’d always written since I was about 9 years old (plays to begin with), but it really helped me stay sane amidst all the nappy changing. My first adult novel The Opposite Bastard (about an out of work actor who is forced to become carer for a teenage quadriplegic at Oxford University) was published by Macmillan New Writing. I started writing for a younger audience in an effort to entertain my son (then about 12 now 18). I hoped I could interest him in something that didn’t involve teenage spies or wizards.

What are you reading right now? Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon and before that Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner.

What was your earliest career aspiration? I always wanted to be an actor, and that’s what I did for the first twenty years of my working life. Specialising in small, but mainly insignificant characters in West-End shows, I still had a great time and got to work with
some amazing people. (Dame Judi Dench, Omar Sharif, Frank Finlay, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Ann Aston off the Golden Shot etc...)

What advice would you give to budding writers? Don’t let your inner critic put you off before you’ve even started. There’s no such thing as a bad idea – it’s all in the way you tackle it.

What was your favourite childhood book? I loved William books by Richmal Crompton and Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking.

Where is your favourite place to write? I used to write in the bedroom, but then we had a loft conversion so now I’ve got my own room. I still can’t decide if I’m more productive when I face the window.

How do you read- print, digitally or both? I’ve got a Kindle, which I find brilliant for editing my own work and reading non-fiction, but I still prefer reading novels in the old fashioned way.

Who do you most admire? Peter Tatchell – teachers in state schools.

Are there any books you wish you had written? American Pyscho (Bret Easton Ellis) and Vile Bodies (Evelyn Waugh)

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Book Info


192 pages
Interest Age: From 13


Simon Packham
More books by Simon Packham

Author's Website


Piccadilly Press Ltd an imprint of Templar Publishing

Publication date

12th June 2012




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