Hyperion Paperbacks

April 2007

$7.99 US

272p pb

ISBN: 978-0786837458

fp March 2005

Things Left Unsaid: a novel in poems

Stephanie Hemphill

from the book...

Sarah used to be a good girl. The one who always had her hand raised in class, always obeyed her parents. Until she met Robin.

Once Robin comes into the picture, Sarah's life changes. Her closet begins to fill with black clothes. Good grades become something to be studiously avoided. And maintaining her other friendships doesn't seem so important anymore.

Sarah thinks she knows Robin. But Robin eats danger for breakfast. Robin pushed the limits way too far, and forces Sarah to question everything in her life - everything Sarah thinks she wants.

In stunning verse, this novel slowly reveals the complexities of friendship - the power it has to define, destroy, and eventually heal again.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

Things Left Unsaid is about love, hate, friendships and belonging. Tackling issues most teenagers would experience. It is about the life of a young girl struggling to find herself amidst a sea of expectations.

Sarah was a predictable straight-A student who always did what she was told. She was longing to be someone else. She meets Robin, the ‘bad girl’ of her school, and transforms her image, leaving behind her old self. As Sarah leaves her world behind, she enters a new one with mostly Robin in it. Robin shows Sarah her life which Sarah acquaints herself to very quickly, easing her way down a path of destruction. When Robin attempts suicide, Sarah is left to find herself and rebuild a future, one in which she is in control of.

This novel, written by Stephanie Hemphill, is made entirely of poems. I enjoyed this style greatly and thought it an interesting way of writing. The collection of poems was insightful to the life of the main character and gives the reader a deeper understanding into her feelings. This novel relates to teenage life and I would recommend to this age group.

Stephanie, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

Things Left Unsaid by Unsaid by Stephanie Hemphill is written through a series of poetic verses, narrated by the main character Sarah. It explores teenage issues such as confusion, friendship, love and self-acceptance.

Sarah, a year 11 high school student, lives a predictable life of straight A’s, pretty clothes and early curfews.  Sick and tired of living in a world of high expectations, Sarah Lewis is longing for change, looking for something different and ready to leave her boring identity behind. In this case, this something is Robin. Robin is the school rebellion. She has dyed black hair and wears nothing but black. She smokes, contradicts almost everything and hass characteristics that wouldn’t be approved of by any mother.  With Sarah’s rising lack of respect towards authority she finds Robin perfect for new beginnings. Sarah leaves her past behind and enters a world that revolves only around Robin. She adapts to her new lifestyle very quickly, friendships from the past become unstable and less important. But even with these drastic changes, Sarah doesn’t feel as content as she was longing to be, in fact she finds herself walking in the shadows of Robin. Every decision she makes is only with Robin’s consent and everything she had ever believed in, she begins to doubt.

When an unexpected downfall occurs Robin attempts suicide leaving Sarah with unwanted sympathy from peers, denial and most of all leaving her as an individual who no longer has someone to hide behind. Slowly after soul searching, Sarah finally finds some momentum, with new love blooming and mended friendships from the past. Finally things start to look on the brighter side.

Stephanie Hemphill has created a stimulating read by forming unique characters. Not only has she created such complex characters like Sarah and Robin, but there’s also Amanda - innocent and careless, Gina - confident with hidden insecurities, and Derek - sweet and bland. All these characteristics bring a great sense of diversity to the storyline, which allows the readers to step out of one perspective and discover other characters.

Things Left Unsaid was kept very original by telling it using 1 to 3 page poems instead of chapters. This managed to portray clear messages of the complexities of friendship.  The poems in this story have so much depth that if you open this book anywhere you will find a poem that can stand by itself as well as contribute to the story. Stephanie Hemphill has also given the reader a greater understanding of mistaken identities, which is one of the bigger teenage issues lightly, looked upon. I think teenagers will find this book easy to relate to, as most have been in search of an identity at one stage. 

One of the fascinating things about Things Left Unsaid, is how the plot just hits you without any warning and brings another emotional dimension to the storyline. Even if it is fairly dramatised, it grabs your attention and makes you linger in emotions felt by the characters. The plot is written in such a powerful way that you are swept away into Sarah’s life and experience her difficult times with her. Overall this book is a fantastic read, that you can’t put down. I recommend it to all teenagers. 

Amani, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

Back to verse novels list