Children's Books, LGBTQ+

The Whispers by Greg Howard | Review | Booksmagick

What’s it about?

Ever since Riley’s mum went missing, he has been trying to cope. The detective in charge is a right tool and Riley decides he wants to go look for his mum on his own. Clinging to the legend, that The Whispers – tiny forest creatures – would know if only they were given a proper tribute Riley formulates a plan to get his mother back. At his side, Tucker, the most loyal dog a boy could wish for.

What I think about it

Click image to be redirected to publisher!

Even though I finished the book a while ago, it took me some time to think about the book, the story, the characters and the message it was trying to convey. It was a very emotional read, at the end of which I cried for several reasons.

Riley has never given up on finding his mother and throughout the book he tries to talk to his father and older brother about her but both refuse to talk about her and Riley is left alone with his thoughts and Tucker. And what does a little boy do when he is left alone with his thoughts? He starts imagining.

The book touches upon a lot of important topics and only after I read the notes by the author at the back I realised how close to heart he must carry a lot of these topics. Greg Howard grew up a gay boy in a very conservative household and lost his mother at a very young age. I have a feeling that The Whispers is both fiction and autobiography which makes it even more emotional to read.

Even though Gary’s technically only half black and his skin is only part the way black, he says he feels allthe way black on the insde, and since I can’t see what his insides look like, who am I to disagree?

p. 45

Riley, too is a gay kid and he wishes, his secret crush, Dylan would like him back. Dylan, however, has problems on his own to deal with and over the course of the book the reader learns more about his character. While reading I had a melancholy feeling throughout; the book didn’t start off on a positive note to begin with but the writing style, the story and Riley’s thoughts increased that feeling.

What I really liked was how bibliophilic the book was. The writing style was careful and measured, full of big words but never over the top or forced. Riley has a thing for words and works daily to improve his vocabulary and the reader learns with him and even little old me got to learn some new words. 🙂 I could relate to Riley a lot, he seems like the kind of kid I used to be. Now, I can’t get too much into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything but let me just say I really loved this book!


Melancholy story with a main character that has too much time on his hands and starts his own inestigation to find his missing mother. Beautiful, bibliophilic and careful writing style that drew me right into the atmosphere of the story. Realistic, relatable characters and an ending I had suspected but it still hit me like a brick.


  • Author: Greg Howard
  • Pages: 229
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • Release Date: January, 17, 2019
  • ISBN: 978-0-241-36708-7

1 thought on “The Whispers by Greg Howard | Review | Booksmagick”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s