When we first meet Rob in ‘A Song Only I Can Hear’, he is shy, uncertain of himself, and in the throes of first love. He has a few significant people in his life, but not many friends. And a bully lingers at school.
Fortunately, he has a fun, if quirky, family – one which many readers will relate to. Then again, how much help is a fat, balding dad with bad dance moves, and a mum who always sides with the school when things go awry? Even his grandfather, who swears like a trooper, doesn’t seem to understand him. So apart from his friend Andrew, how much help is anyone?
Initially, Rob’s main concern is to win the heart of Destry, but how can he do it? Suggestions come his way in a series of mysterious text challenges from someone anonymous (not surprising since he only has about 4 contacts on his phone).
As the texts come in, Rob grows a little with each challenge, while curious to find out who they are from.
Though Rob’s decisions aren’t always perfect or met with the desired result or applause (with some comical episodes), it is mostly fun experiencing his journey. There are also moments to reflect on – and tears to shed, and as Jonsberg brings this tale to an end, have your tissues handy.
While the anonymous texter challenges Rob to take action, a twist in the story also challenges the reader and what they believe, in a moving and surprising novel about family, love and identity. You might, like me, think you need to reread it at the end.
How well do we know those around us?
What things do they struggle with?
How often do we judge others we don’t really know?
What more should we try to know about our own families?
See more about the Indie Awards for 2019 here.