Rummanah Aasi
A Silent Voice is a very short manga series that is complete with seven volumes.  The series gives us a glimpse of what bullying is like in Japanese schools. If you enjoy books that tackle difficult subjects along with slice of life moments that are not too long, I suggest picking up this series.

Description: Shoya is a bully. When Shoko, a girl who can’t hear, enters his elementary school class, she becomes their favorite target, and Shoya and his friends goad each other into devising new tortures for her. But the children’s cruelty goes too far. Shoko is forced to leave the school, and Shoya ends up shouldering all the blame. Six years later, the two meet again. Can Shoya make up for his past mistakes, or is it too late?

Review: A Silent Voice takes an interesting look at bullying and its consequences. Nishimiya Shouko is a new transferee and a deaf student to the middle school. She is the target of relentless bullying by one of her classmates Ishida Shouya. Shouko's bullying escalates rapidly from name calling to physical violence. It got so bad that Shouko transferred to another school. Shouya then became the bully target of his own classmates. He lost all of his friends and was simply isolated. Now a few years later, Shouko and Shouya's paths have rejoined once again. Shouya has realized what harm he has done and is now on the mission for repentance and forgiveness.
  I loved the overall message of the manga in which friendship, unconditional love, understanding, and empathy are explored, however, there is a lot of things that are underdeveloped. For example Shouko doesn't emote her emotions at all. At times she is unrealistic, blaming herself for the bullying that is done to her and then in a short amount of time develops a crush on Shouya which left a bad taste in my mouth. Shouya is a hard person to like. He was so despicable and unlovable in the beginning volumes that I found it hard to embrace him though he does seem to grow. It is not clear why Shouya turned into a bully, was he insecure or was it a result of how he was raised?
  After finishing the series, I still had a lot of questions that were left unanswered such as the absence of Shouya's father, Shouya's sister who seems to have a revolving door of guys coming in and going, and what happens to Shouko in the future. I also can't really make out Naoka Ueno's and Miki Kawai's roles either.
  There are great moments in the series in which we get to step inside Shouko's shoes and see her world through her eyes. Despite my issues with this series, I do think it has a valuable message and would recommend it to my teens. I think it will provoke interesting discussions among readers.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, scenes of violence and bullying, and allusions to sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this series try: El Deafo by Cece Bell
1 Response
  1. Oh this one sounds perfect for some littles I know. I'll have to check this out. Might go on the holiday gift list. :)

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