If you’re looking for an easy read, The Quiet You Carry isn’t one of them. But there just might be a light on the end of the tunnel for our main character.
Victoria is doing her best to take care of her dad after her mother died, it was amongst her last wishes, and while Victoria is trying hard, it’s not easy. He’s remarried and has a step-daughter, Sarah. They aren’t the closest, but at least they don’t fight. While her new step-mother isn’t mean, she also doesn’t pay much attention to Victoria, leaving her feeling left out with all the attention she pays to her daughter Sarah.
But after the awful incident, Victoria finds herself in foster care. The author is careful not to tell us what has happened at first, but we know it’s bad as Victoria is having nightmares. Living in a foster home is hard, her foster mother Connie is impossible, demanding what Victoria seems is too much. The girls rotate chores, need to succumb to bag inspections, and they can’t have anything of a social life. Victoria feels like she’s just another paycheck to Connie. All the while, Connie lavishes attention on her biological daughter.
As we start to learn Victoria’s secret, we see the extent of heartbreak she has suffered. She has made two good friends in her new school, Christina and Kale, and I think because of their persistence in supporting her, she slowly starts to break down her walls. She learns that it’s okay to talk about what has happened to her, and there are actually adults around her that truly care about her.
I think Barthelmess has done a good job portraying foster care in this situation, and while there are homes out there that are much worse, I think the reader finds them thankful that it was Connie that Victoria ended up with. Kids in foster care are scared and embarrassed at their situation, so they feel it’s something they need to hide. Again, something else that Kale and Christina helped Victoria with. This story is filled with heartbreak, but then so much good arises from it, it’s well worth the read.