Thanks to TBR and Beyond for having me on this tour!
Quiet No More by Nikki Barthelmess
Synopsis: College freshman Victoria Parker is trying to move on with her life after surviving sexual assault by her father and six months in foster care. She’s focusing on the positives–attending college, living on her own, repairing old relationships and making new ones, and getting involved with an abuse survivors activist group on campus. But everything’s thrown into disarray when a strange woman shows up, claiming to be Victoria’s aunt and asking Victoria to lie about what happened to her. With her father’s sentencing in a few months, she’s nervous about having to share the truth of what happened with a judge. She’s not even sure if she has the strength to go through with it. But when her fellow club members begin pressuring her to speak out, Victoria has to decide how to share her story while remaining true to herself.
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Series: The Quiet You Carry #2
Links: Amazon/Book Depository/Goodreads
1) What do you like about being an author?
Being an author is my dream job! When things were tough for me as a kid, I escaped in the pages of a book. Through reading, I could experience adventures and learn about the
kind of person I wanted to be. And writing is something I’ve always loved to do. More than that, though, I feel like I need to write. I make sense of the world around me by telling stories.
I also love being a part of the book community. The people who are involved in the world of children’s books, such as bloggers, booksellers, librarians, teachers, other authors, and the professionals who work in publishing, are some of the kindest, most creative people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Connecting with them online (and, before the pandemic, at events and conferences) brings me so much happiness. It’s a joy and a privilege to get to do what I do.
2) What do you want readers to take from your novel?
I hope readers recognize hope can be found after suffering but that the path to healing can be messy. I don’t think people necessarily “get over” traumatic experiences like being abused. I think we just learn to live with what happened. Painful experiences stay with us and shape the people we become. That truth can be debilitating, but it can also be empowering. We can move forward, grow, and even help others who have suffered, if that’s what we decide to do. If we let it, true beauty can come out of the darkest periods of our lives.
3) Being a survivor is really messy and that there is no one way to do things, how did you put that in your novel?
I spent six years in foster care because it wasn’t safe for me at home. The way I viewed some of the things that happened to me as a kid changed as I got older. Although I gained perspective, it proved difficult to untangle some of what I’d been taught to believe and my feelings for loved ones with what I knew wasn’t right. Similarly, in Quiet No More, Victoria knows what happened to her is wrong, but she still loves her dad. She pities him once she learns of some of the ways he suffered as a kid and how he’s also suffering behind bars. Many assault survivors care deeply for their abusers, particularly if they were hurt by a family member or a romantic partner. They might have been treated terribly but still don’t want to hurt their loved ones.
These situations can be very complicated in real life, so I wanted to reflect that in the story for Victoria. Ultimately, she has to decide how best to move forward, if and how she wants to share her story with the judge sentencing her father. Victoria has to decide what justice looks like to her but also who she is writing her victim impact statement for— her father (to help him get a lighter sentence), her stepsister (who Victoria’s father also abused), her friends (who she’s in a club with that aims to prevent sexual harassment and assault) or herself. That decision will change everything for Victoria.
4) Without any spoilers, What was your favorite part?
It’s difficult to explain without context, but my favorite part involves a character yelling at someone for being a troll and brandishing a foam finger.
5) What inspired you to write this series?
When I first started writing fiction, I had no desire to write a story about someone in the system. It seemed too difficult, too painful. But I also knew about the massive uphill battle foster kids have to climb. Not only do most have psychological wounds related to being abused and lacking a family support system, but we also fight against negative stereotypes about us, based on what people see in the news, TV, movies, and—you guessed it—books. I realized it’s important for people from marginalized communities to see ourselves represented in fiction. If you don’t see that good things can happen for someone like you, in life or in stories, how do you know what’s possible? So, I wanted to create the book I wish I had to read as a kid. Victoria’s story is about her struggles but also her resilience and healing. Ultimately, The Quiet You Carry and Quiet No More are about hope.
6) Describe the book in 5 words
Survivor struggles with sharing story
Thanks so much, Lori, for having me on The Reading Fairy!
About the Author:
Bio: Nikki Barthelmess is an author of young adult books, including THE QUIET YOU CARRY (out now!), QUIET NO MORE (Flux, fall 2020), and EVERYTHING WITHIN AND IN BETWEEN (HarperChildren’s, fall 2021). Nikki entered foster care in Nevada at twelve and spent the next six years living in six different towns. During this time, Nikki found solace in books, her journal, and the teachers who encouraged her as a writer. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Nikki lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, daughter, and pride-and-joy Corgi pup.
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Have you read The Quiet You Carry? Want to read this book? What do you think of this book? Tell me in the comments!
About the Blogger:
Lori is an advocate for all things diverse to help those who are in the margins. She loves reading, but music holds a dear place in her heart. She is a teenager in high school, a feminist, and is in the LGBTQ+ community. Uses she/her or they/them pronouns 🌈