Sixteen-year-old Frederick has a lot of rules for himself. Like if someone calls him Freddy he doesn’t have to respond; he only wears shirts with buttons and he hates getting dirty. His odd behavior makes him an easy target for the “Despisers” at school, but he’s gotten used to eating lunch alone in the Reject Room.
Angel, in tenth grade but already at her sixth school, has always had a hard time making friends because her family moves around so much. Frederick is different from the other kids she’s met - he’s annoyingly smart, but refreshingly honest - and since he’s never had a real friend before, she decides to teach him all her rules of friendship.
But after Angel makes a rash decision and disappears, Frederick is called in for questioning by the police and is torn between telling the truth and keeping his friend’s secret. Her warning to him - don’t tell, don’t tell, don’t tell - might have done more harm than good.
Both [Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell and Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry] are heavily character-driven, focusing on teens and the friendships they make, and both see their protagonists drawn into tenuous, even dangerous, situations. But the real commonality is the message: the peril of labelling and trying to make everyone fit one definition of normal. These two books evocatively give middle-schoolers and young adults the opportunity to open their minds to other possibilities.
Liane Shaw shines a spotlight on what living with Asperger's looks and feels like.... While this book tackles a number of teen issues including sexual assault and bullying, the story of Frederick and Angel is ultimately one of acceptance, a universal theme to which all students will be able to relate to.
A consistently compelling novel by an imaginative and skilled storyteller, 'Don't Tell, Don't Tell, Don't Tell' is an especially recommended addition to high school and community library YA Fiction collections.
Shaw has ably captured two distinct voices... Despite [Frederick and Angel's] occasional irritation with each other, the two develop a genuine friendship that meets each one's separate needs and plays to each one's strengths. This could encourage a more sensitive approach to outsiders in school environments—or just shed light on the sometimes complicated dynamics of friendship.
A character-driven novel, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell is a compelling read because of Frederick and Angel’s unique sense of companionship, and their ability to be just what the other needs.
It was a fascinating look into someone else’s mind, and Frederick’s way of thinking gave me things to think about. The end. It was amazing.
Frederick’s character is developed with maximum attention to the nuances of Asperger’s Syndrome, and he is both likeable and complex.
This compelling read explores the nuances of Asperger’s Syndrome through 16-year-old Frederick, whose odd behaviour makes him an easy target and renders him friendless at high school.
Shaw does an excellent job of giving us two lost and somewhat lonely individuals who benefit from their unusual companionship.... [Frederick and Angel] provide much-needed balance for each other and, in doing so, rewrite some of the rules around friendship, normality and acceptance.