Eleven-year-old Riley knows a thing or two about wishes. Ever since his mom disappeared, all he's been doing is wishing: wishing for her return, wishing he'd stop wetting the bed and wishing his dad would love him again.
Finally, with the police investigation stalled and worried his mother might soon be out of time, Riley is desperate for answers. So, he turns to the Whispers, mythical wood creatures who will grant your heart’s desires if you bring them tribute. It's a story his mother used to tell him every night. He never really believed they were real until one day he hears them call to him, telling him his mother is near.
Riley is determined to find the Whispers and ask for the one thing he wants the most: his mother's return--no matter the cost--especially since he thinks a secret he’s been holding close is the reason she's gone. This is his chance to make things right. Along with his best friend, his loyal dog and a neighbor boy with secrets of his own, Riley ventures deep into the dark woods--where all sorts of dangers lurk--to find the Whispers and, he hopes, his mother. But what he finds will change everything for Riley forever.
Greg Howard stuns in this heartrending, mesmerizing debut about love, magic and what it means to believe in the impossible.
Praise for The Whispers:
“This taut, moving tale delves beyond loss into issues of sexuality, conformity and self-acceptance…a masterful exploration into the power of storytelling but also its dangers, including self-denial and escapism.” —The New York Times Book Review
“With sensitivity and skill, Howard handles themes of sexual identify, self-worth, loss and friendship.” —The Washington Post
"Howard’s personal story helps create a fictional narrative both realistic and relevant, while also calling on the fantastical magic of the imagination…. A tale of family, friendship and loss, filled with magic and heart." —The Associated Press
"A dreamy novel recalling Bridge to Terabithia." —Entertainment Weekly
"A heartbreaking, beguiling debut… This poignant journey through the badlands of grief is crammed with tenderness, wit and warmth." —The Guardian
★ "This is a story of a boy coming to grips with heartbreak and trying to understand why he is the way he is, who must learn to discern what is real, and who discovers redemption." —School Library Connection, starred review
"A beautiful, heart-expanding journey into the wilds of grief and back out again. This gorgeous book will give readers’ hearts a hug that’s filled with hope and possibility."—Donna Gephart, author of In Your Shoes and Lily and Dunkin
"A moving, thoughtful examination of trauma, grief, and the power of imagination." —Teen Librarian Toolbox
"A beautiful, heartfelt book about love and loss and friendship. It feels real and true and resonant. Bravo, Greg Howard!" —Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
"The Whispers needs to be on every reading list of kids who loved Bridge to Terabithia and Counting by 7s." —B&N Kids Blog
"A realistic tale of coming to terms and coming-of-age, of friendship and loss, with a touch of magic and humor."—Kirkus
"We’re predicting this emotional story will be an award winner." —Parents Magazine
"A touching story of grief and healing." —Booklist
"This touching, often wry novel offers a memorable psychological puzzle and explores grief and acceptance." —Publishers Weekly
"[Riley’s] a thoroughly sympathetic [narrator], and it’s easy to root for his eventual understanding of the truth—and of his own blamelessness." —Horn Book Magazine
"…an inspired and sensitive portrait of childhood traumatic grief." —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Riley’s voice is so wise and funny and compelling that readers—especially but not exclusively young ones—will gladly follow him on the kind of harrowing, hilarious journey that shows us we can survive the heartbreak and the beauty the world has in store for us." —Sam J. Miller, author of The Art of Starving and Blackfish City
"A thrill ride to the soul. Gorgeously written, full of depth and wit." —James Brandon, author of Ziggy, Stardust and Me