Book Reviews

Review: The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

The Quiet You Carry is an intense story about abuse, family, and speaking up.


Victoria Parker knew her dad’s behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won’t stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can’t stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won’t leave you alone?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: incest, rape, sexual assault

The beginning of The Quiet You Carry is intense, it just about broke my heart. We walk in on Victoria being taken from her house and while we don’t exactly know why, the truth isn’t far from what we might expect. But it’s such an emotionally brutal scene where Victoria is metaphorically stripped away from everything – her family, her home, her lifelines. It’s a difficult story, about loving people around us, the emotional (and physical) manipulation of abuse and having to come to terms with their actions. At the same time, its about the foster care system and trusting people again.

Victoria is determined in a way I don’t know if I could be. But she doesn’t have any choice. With everything ripped away from her, she doesn’t have any options but to try to survive. To get used to this foster home, her new school, and her lingering questions and fears regarding her family. At the same time, faced with her imminent graduation from high school, it’s also terrifying for her to realize without her father’s support she won’t be able to attend the school she had planned for.

Abuse and emotional manipulation

When authority figures, when your abuser, tries to change the narrative Victoria questions her feelings, the events that lead up to her being kicked out of her house. This part of the story was incredibly difficult to read. Victoria’s narration is so vulnerable and heart breaking. The way she’s still trying to put together how she feels, not to mention her worries for her stepsister. Watching everything unfold, the memories of the past, was sad – seeing the cracks and gaping holes in these relationships.


Victoria’s whole life is completely upended, struggling with the quiet inside of her that she carries in silence. And The Quiet You Carry is a book about opening up and giving those feelings a voice, letting others see us. While The Quiet You Carry is certainly a difficult and emotionally intense book, I think the book does a fabulous job of portraying Victoria’s character and her own journey.

Find The Quiet You Carry on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.



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