Sweet Sound of Silence by Melanie Dawn
Sometimes silence speaks the only truth.
Ryder Hawkley swallows his words the way he swallows his guilt. A life-altering tragedy keeps him locked away in a silent prison—a self-imposed punishment for a horrific mistake. His reputation…
Alexis Honeycutt arrives at college craving one thing—independence. Now, away from home and free from her family’s overprotection, she attends a party with friends that will ultimately change her life. The moment she spots Ryder Hawkley sitting across the room, Alexis is intrigued.
The intensity shimmering from Ryder’s haunting eyes beckons her, but Alexis vows to stay away from him. Only, she can’t seem to get Ryder’s unnervingly quiet stare out of her head.
Ryder is determined to ignore Alexis’s contagious smile the instant she strolls into the room. Despite his efforts, he is drawn to her and finds himself questioning everything he’d been holding on to for the past two years.
Ryder’s story had me choking up and reached a grief-stricken place in my soul that no book has touched for quite some time. Alexis can hear Ryder without his words: through his eyes, expressions, and art work. Ryder’s anxiety driven mutism builds a solidly deep connection between him and Alexis as she listens to him through other means of communication. Alexis doesn’t stop as she proves to Ryder again and again that she’ll be there. I’ve loved this So Much It Hurts series by Melanie because she gives us well-developed, realistic characters that allows us to fully accept and empathize with their experiences. I didn’t want the story to end because although there was minimal dialogue between Alexis and Ryder, what was being spoken was more powerful than the spoken words. Melanie’s words allowed me to feel the emotions with her thorough descriptions. The dance-a-thon was an extremely powerful scene for me as so much was said, while not being “said”. Ryder is growing and making much progress in his grief and determination to help others and Alexis is his strongest supporter. I was longing throughout the entire novel to “hear” Ryder’s voice and this kept me reading…I wanted to claw the words from his tongue myself. I love this series and can’t wait for more. Give Ryder a try and find your next book crush! Rating: 4 stars