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Silent to the Bone [Mass Market Paperback]

E. L. Konigsburg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan 2004
A powerful and suspenseful novel from an award-winning author. Something happened on Wednesday, 25 November, 2.43 p.m. to cause Branwell Zamborska to become mute. All anyone knows is that he called the emergency services because his baby sister, Nikki, had stopped breathing, and from then he has been unable to speak. The au pair reveals that Branwell had dropped Nikki and shaken her. Branwell is sent to a Juvenile behavioural centre, and his friend Connor begins the long process of communicating with him. So begins a complex, emotionally-tense tale of adolescent confusion and suspense.;From the brilliant Newbery Medal-winning author of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" and "The View from Saturday".;A gripping read for older readers growing in confidence.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689867158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689867156
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 10.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,928,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

E. L. Konigsburg made a remarkable debut in children's books by winning the Newbery Award for her second book, "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler". In 1999 she received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband in Jacksonville, Florida. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
It is easy to pinpoint the minute when my friend Branwell began his silence. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story of boy trapped in silence. 22 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Branwell has not spoken since dialling 911 (same as 999 in UK) the day his baby half-sister was taken to the hospital in a coma. His friend Connor, trying to find out what happened on that day, follows silent hints from Branwell, now in a juvenile detention center, that lead him from person to person (Branwell's grandparents, Connor's own older half-sister who used to babysit Branwell, the au pair, among others) to discover what happened in Branwell's life not only that day but over the previous summer and fall.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 17 Mar 2009
By J.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a pure pleasure to read. I love all of the other books I have read by E L Konigsburg and this is no exception. Her style of writing is like being hugged by an old friend - I can thoroughly recommend it!
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  181 reviews
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new kind of Konigsburg 2 Nov 2000
By Ivy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
E.L. Konigsburg's writing has been migrating in style and subject matter; her latest work. Silent to the Bone, is ample proof of that. It's also proof that she can write anything she wants to. It is an excellent and intense book that explores family, friendship, love, and lies with Konigsburg's accustomed skill and intelligence.
The main character and narrator is Connor. Branwell, Connor's best friend, has been accused of seriously injuring his baby sister Nikki, and has been unable to speak since she was hurt. Connor visits Branwell in the detention center, where he realizes that he must first learn to communicate with his friend and then learn what really happened to Nikki. Connor is a very intelligent kid, but still real and fully-fleshed. In fact, the main characters of this book - Connor, Branwell, the au pair, and Connor's sister - are all very well developed, as are the relationships between them.
Although the subject is rather grim, the book itself is not. The primary focus is actually Connor's detective work, the ways in which he goes about discovering what happened both in Branwell's house and in Branwell's head. The plot is gripping and believeable, and the truths - about Branwell's sister, but many others as well - unfold naturally, without calling attention to themselves. Although Konigsburg rarely makes blatent statements about emotions or complex relationships - people mostly don't, after all - she makes everything clear to the reader. The family relationships, for example, are for the most part background, but so perfectly drawn that they are easy to see and understand.
Although it's very different from her early works, like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Silent to the Bone is every bit as good. It's certainly better than The View from Saturday, which was a Newbery book. I would suggest that it is more of a YA book, for a slightly older audience than the age range suggests. A nine-year-old could read and enjoy this, but he'd have to be a fairly mature one.
SIAS: Average boy uses wits, compassion, and help from sister to uncover the truth, protect the helpless, and save the day. (Ands: 2, cliches: 3, ranking: ?)
(And a side note: *what* is with Konigsburg's obsession with the word epiphany?)
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moms perspective 23 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I would reccommend this book for ages 12 and up, not 9-12 as your reading level suggests. I enjoyed the interesting word games, strong characterizations & insight into young minds but found the plot slightly contrived. Never-the-less the book held my attention from beginning to end. SIAS: Coming-of age book, dealing with mature subject matter including, teen angst, loss and denial. The book will explain!!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Marvelous 15 Jun 2001
By Oddsfish - Published on Amazon.com
Silent to the Bone is an amazing children's book. Only E.L. Konigsburg could have written it because almost no other author has such an understanding of young people. No other author could have given the reader such insight to the character's lives. Silent to the Bone is mostly about these insights. The plot follows Connor and Branwell, two thirteen-year-olds. Branwell has been accused of shaking and dropping the baby, but has become mute after whatever it was that happenned. Connor doesn't think that Branwell committed the crime; so he takes it upon himself to get Branwell to speak. To do this, though, means Connor (with his sister's help) must begin to peal back the layers of Branwell's life. He must learn exactly why Branwell became silent. He must learn about the tension and stress in the family's like (all the while, learning about his own family). Connor must try to piece together what happened at Branwell's home the months preceeding the accident as well as the day of the accident. The end result is almost a detective novel, but one with psychological insights. Silent to the Bone is a novel which will make a person think. Some of the themes may be too mature for younger readers, but young adults and older readers will gain from this novel and will certainly be fascinated and entertained by it.
*Also, I would like to warn anyone who's not read the book to not read the "eleven-year-old from New York"'s (April 10, 2001) review. It gives away all of the ending to this very suspenceful story.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Appropriate 10 Feb 2004
By "mmkrista" - Published on Amazon.com
My son brought this book home the school library and the title caught my interest. When I picked it up and started to read I got interested in the story line but by 1/4 though the book I could tell it was not appopriate for my 9 year old. This has sexual content between a 13 year old boy and an older au pair. It also discusses the allegation that the 13 year old was sexually interested in his baby sister. I looked this book up on amazon to read reviews and was surprised to see so many positive ones. I want to give a warning to parents that while it might be okay for older children it should not be read by children younger than middle school and might need some explanations or open discussion if your older child chooses to read this book.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but best for age 12 and up 26 Feb 2003
By A 10-year old's mom - Published on Amazon.com
I checked this book out of the library for my 10-yr old son when he was home ill. I started reading it aloud to him. It is well written and engages you from the start. HOWEVER, I'm glad that I read ahead. Though not the main focus of the story, there are MATURE themes in this book. You might choose to wait until your child has learned about the birds and bees before letting him or her read this book alone. Otherwise, be prepared to explain what Viagra is and why two older characters were in a bedroom with their clothes off. It might be appropriate to read it together and discuss some of the feelings that the boy experiences.
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