Book Review: Shut Up by Anne Tibbets

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.

Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.

Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.

Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

Release Date: April 15, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing
Source: Review copy from author

What a great surprise!  I enjoyed this book so much!  It was a fast, engrossing read.  Sometimes it felt middle-grade to me (easily done since the main narrator is only twelve years old), but then the subject matter made it more of a young adult level.

Shut Up invoked a lot of emotions in me.  I was so sad for Mary, mad at her family, and scared of how the book would conclude.  Being a new mom, I can't even imagine treating my daughter the way Mary's mother treats her.  By no fault of her own, Mary is the black sheep of the family.  She's going through that awkward phase where everything she does seems to turn out wrong.  Instead of having a family who supports her and builds up her fragile self-esteem, she is either victimized, abused or outright ignored by every person in her family. 

Shut Up alternates between present day and the past.  In the present day, Mary is running away from home.  The beginning of each chapter gives a short passage of the events comprising Mary's escape, then the bulk of the chapter takes the reader back to the past events, all of which culminated in her decision to leave home.

I was expecting and quite afraid that there would be a Thirteen Reasons Why kind of ending, and was so happy that Tibbets did not wrap the story up with that kind of ending.  My one complaint is that the ending did feel a little 'pat' to me.  It was just a little too neat.

I liked so many things about Shut Up.  I liked the alternating dual narratives between Mary and her older brother Paul.  It was enlightening to see Mary's treatment from someone else's eyes, as well as understand how Paul felt about everything.  I loved Mary's strength and inner resolve.  I loved it when her parents finally saw the light, and took steps towards positive change.  This book read quickly and the pace was great.

I recommend Shut Up for fans of YA, contemporary fiction, and especially to parents of teens and pre-teens.  It would be a great book to read with your child and then discuss the powerful lesson together.



  1. Wow. Sounds good. Different. Great find.

  2. I haven't heard of that book before, thanks for sharing! I'm going to check it out, because it sounds great :)


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