Thanks to Lizzie from #RedDoorPress for providing the e-arc. This does not in any way influence my rating. All opinions expressed are my own.
All The Words Unspoken by Serena Kaur was a great book for me to have picked up for the #AsianReadathon . Apart from the obvious Asian rep (Indian, to be specific) the book also focuses on various other important issues.
The main message I seemed to get from the novel was that we cannot depend on others to heal us or make us whole. Rather, we need to fall back upon ourselves to work on our growth and development. Yes, external forces such as family and friends are there to support us (or not), but the ultimate determiner is we ourselves. We cannot let others determine our worth!
Characters and their portrayal
When it comes to the characters, their arc was a bit disjointed – especially that of Aryan, I feel. We get a slight glimpse of him towards the beginning and then only towards the end, are we bombarded with his POVs. As such, it was kind of difficult for me to retain the fact that this is the same guy. When the story started I genuinely thought it was Maansi’s story but as it progressed, of course, it wasn’t just hers alone. Yet I do think the story focused more on Aryan and less so on Maansi.
Perhaps if the author had decided to reveal Aryan’s POVs a litter sooner, the story would have gone way more smoothly.
I also feel that it was a bildungsroman or a coming-of-age story for the two main characters who underwent growth and changed from who they were in the beginning. It is also a story of sexual awakening in a manner, and the author pulled off that aspect really well. And in this regard, I can definitely consider this book along the same shelf as CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.
Themes, and an Indian expatriate community
The themes covered were sexuality, homophobia, family, marriage as an institution, societal norms, etc. I do think the idea was a great one and the author did well by mixing all of these together especially in the Indian expatriate community, where, you could say, culture, religion, etc. play a big role in all the decisions the characters make. The way the author has weaved in the different nuances of human behavior, based on and affected by, external forces, events, experiences, and memory, added a great flavor to the narrative as well.
I rated the book 3.75/5 stars!