They were a happy family, or so Jamie Anderson thought. She and her husband, Mike, have three children: Sam, 8; Emily, 6: and Eloise, 3. Mike’s teenage son Henry is the result of a previous relationship with Christie Simmons. They are co-parenting, and the family seems successfully blended.

But something happens that tilts their world on end. A shooting at police headquarters leaves Mike’s friend and partner seriously injured, and Mike reeling from the after-effects that resemble a kind of PTSD. Which suddenly becomes a factor when another shooting takes place….and Mike has inadvertently killed a teenaged boy.

Alternately narrated from the perspectives of Jamie, Christie, and Lou, Jamie’s younger sister, the story unfolds over a summer in crisis, and each character is facing some kind of turning point. With Jamie, will it be her marriage that is lost in the aftermath? Will Christie turn the situation into something more, something that could bring her and Mike back together? And how will Lou find her own place within the family?

Set in the Washington, D.C. area, primarily in Virginia, the characters in Things You Won’t Say: A Novel reveal the very human failings that everyone encounters, especially in moments of crisis. I enjoyed watching each of them struggle with the everyday issues, while managing to find ways to do the right thing. I felt frustrated by each of them at one time or another, as they failed to share their thoughts and feelings, complicating everything that was happening. The ending felt very satisfying, however, as answers came at just the right moment to save them all. 5 stars.

A copy of this novel was received from NetGalley as an e-Arc.


  1. I’ve only read The Best of Us, it was just ok but I’m happy to try Sarah Pekkanen again with this one. Thanks for wonderful review!


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