Published February 2020

Meet Sam and Willa.

Sam is used to being what everyone needs him to be. So when his family falls apart and he has to change middle schools, he keeps his feelings buried. Willa, an isolated 7th grader who doesn’t speak, captures his attention just by being herself. The two unlikely friends challenge each other to speak up in a story about the true power of friendship and what can happen when we believe in the importance of what we have to say.

Unspoken mixes traditional narrative with text messages and poems for a unique and modern look at communication in its varied forms.

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Sam is a new student at Brooks Middle School after a family crisis forces an abrupt change in his living situation. As he navigates his first weeks of school and his current family circumstances, he crosses paths with Willa, a silent but tenacious classmate who faces her own challenges with a former friend and the social expectations of school.

With alternating points of view told through prose, poems, and text messages over the course of 7th grade, Sam’s and Willa’s stories merge together as their friendship develops and each is presented with an opportunity to express themselves in ways they never expected. Will they rise to the challenge?



Themes addressed in this book include friendship, tenacity, self-expression, family, alcoholism, selective mutism, dyslexia, middle school, acceptance of differences, and empathy.