Every Word You Never Said: Silence Speaks Loudest


“I’ve just always liked to write. As for specifically the Noahverse? It would be growing up in a fundamentalist religious home (a cult) and how it hurt me and wanting to write stories that expose that and give hope.” – Jordon Greene.

This was Greene’s explanation for writing Every Word You Never Said as it offers a glimpse into the heartfelt origins of the story that inspired him to write the book, which I asked him about on Instagram during a Q&A. Greene’s personal journey adds depth to the storytelling, emphasizing the importance of addressing difficult topics with understanding and resilience.

Every Word You Never Said by Jordon Greene is a touching tale about two high school students, Skylar and Jacob. Jacob’s rebellious streak, which includes painting his nails, playing in a punk band, and being openly gay, clashes with his dad’s traditional views. Skylar faces bullying and hate for wearing skirts and being mute. When their paths intertwine, merging their two worlds into one, a heartwarming journey unfolds, filled with understanding, friendship, and romance. However, when Jacob’s father mandates a new dress code at school amid his campaign for town congressman, it ignites a division in Jacob and Skylar’s relationship, ultimately causing it to slowly unravel. While on Instagram, I discovered the book under the trend of #Bookstagram. The cover instantly drew me in, featuring two young men embracing, and the description hinted at this book being a clear representation of queer fiction. However, what truly sparked my excitement was the discovery of the hidden artwork beneath the book jacket. It unveiled Skylar and Jacob, radiating warmth and joy as they stood side by side, their smiles infectious and their demeanor exuding undeniable charm. Their presence in the artwork painted a picture of endearing affection and genuine happiness, capturing a moment of pure sweetness that filled me with delight. It showed the care put into every detail of the book. The visual allure left me eager to delve into the heartfelt narrative within, curious to witness how it might unravel. What distinguishes this book is that, while women authors write many queer fiction works, Every Word You Never Said presents a refreshing perspective from a male author.

Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. The story kept me hooked, always wanting to know what would happen next to the characters. The author skillfully introduces the characters, navigates the drama typical of high school settings, and crafts a heartwarming relationship between Skylar and Jacob. Their ability to create adorable romantic scenarios between characters is particularly noteworthy and greatly appreciated by readers like me. What truly resonated with me were the deeply relatable struggles faced by Skylar and Jacob. Skylar’s battle with anxiety and self-doubt, compounded by his fear of abandonment, struck a chord, while Jacob’s constant clashes with his religious father over his sexuality painted a poignant picture of resilience in the face of adversity. Greene’s storytelling skillfully captures realism in his narrative. He adeptly portrays characters that resonate with the reader, evoking a sense of familiarity and prompting reflection on the challenges experienced by LGBTQIA+ individuals and those with disabilities.

What’s important is that Greene fearlessly delves into crucial topics that demand attention in today’s society. Greene boldly navigates complex themes, challenging traditional notions of gendered clothing and addressing issues of sexuality, religion, politics, and homophobia along the way. Instead of dividing the story into chapters, it’s split into Skylar’s and Jacob’s points of view, so we get to read what is going on in their minds and what they are facing at that moment. In a crucial scene from Skylar’s perspective, he faces his bully, Blake, while wearing a skirt at school. Skylar’s intense emotions are vividly portrayed as he expresses his frustration: “hates every fucking syllable, every exaggerated word every second his mouth moves” (Greene 66). This powerful moment signifies a significant shift in the story’s direction, adding depth and intensity to the plot.

This marks the turning point in the story, where Skylar is coerced by the school into wearing pants. It’s a moment that exposes the true nature of both his teachers and classmates, leaving him feeling disillusioned and mistreated. Fortunately, his friends, especially Jacob, rally around him, providing a source of support and solidarity. It’s a poignant scene that resonates with the unfair treatment Skylar endures throughout his POV, evoking a sense of frustration and empathy within me.

The evolution of Jacob and Skylar’s relationship, transitioning from friends to partners, feels authentic and resonant. Greene carefully navigates through each conflicting action within the narrative, providing a nuanced exploration of Jacob and Skylar’s dynamic. However, one aspect I wish Greene had delved into more deeply is Jacob’s backstory. While we learn a great deal about Skylar throughout the story, there’s a sense of longing to uncover more about Jacob’s past experiences and how they shape his character.

Additionally, while various characters are introduced throughout the story, some of them seem to fade away without much development or impact on the plot. Take, for instance, Skylar’s newfound friends from his first week at school, Imani and Seth. They’re portrayed as compelling characters, yet their backgrounds and personalities remain somewhat elusive, with only sporadic details offered throughout the narrative. Furthermore, the development of their relationship feels rushed, particularly towards the story’s conclusion. Despite hints suggesting a burgeoning romantic connection between them, the progression of their bond lacks the depth and exploration it deserves, leaving readers longing for a more nuanced portrayal of their feelings and interactions.  Nevertheless, the authenticity of Jacob and Skylar’s connection remains a highlight, making the book a compelling read overall.

After letting Every Word You Never Said sit on my shelf for a few months, I finally picked it up, and I’m glad I did. It’s the first book I’ve read in a while, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about it—it’s a perfect YA read. Filled with romance, drama, and a refreshing dose of realism, this book tackles important topics like sexuality, homophobia, and religion with grace and sensitivity. Jordon Greene has penned numerous other books apart from this one, and if you’re intrigued, I’d recommend checking them out on his website, JordonGreene.com. There’s a wealth of material waiting to be explored, offering a diverse range of stories and themes for readers to enjoy. 

Every Word You Never Said can be found at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, Bookshop, Blackwell, Indigo, Booktopia, Scribd (Audio), iTunes (Audio), Kobo (Audio), Spotify (Audiobook), Waterstones, Target, and Walmart.