Sound is an abstract concept for most people. We spend our lives blocking out the static in order to focus on what we believe is important. But what if, when the clarity fades into silence, it's the obscure background noise that you would give anything to hold on to?
I've always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn't a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.
You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.
They both happened anyway.
Now, I'm on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career.
Fighting the impending silence.
Fighting for her.
Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.
I think that's the sound I'll miss the most.
Each book in this series can be read as a standalone.
Review by Amanda
Fighting Silence is book number 1 in Aly Martinez’ new On The Ropes series. It can be read as a Standalone, but I would HIGHLY recommend reading her Wrecked and Ruined Series first, as some of the characters do make an appearance. Aly is one of those authors that when I find out a book is releasing, I don’t even need to read they synopsis to know that I want to read it.
Eliza is 13 years old and practically invisible. She has no friends, her parents show no interest in her. The only happiness she finds is hiding out in an abandoned apartment building drawing. She disappears here on a regular basis to her happy place.
Until one night, her peaceful place is disturbed. The enigmatic Till Page comes crawling through the window in tears. Although Eliza knows him, he doesn’t initially recognise her. The two strike up an unlikely friendship – both are dealing with family’s that don’t see them or necessarily want them. Although, Till’s situation is a bit different to Eliza’s; he is almost raising his two younger brothers and trying to keep a roof over their head to avoid social services separating them. The apartment is a place for them to be themselves without judgement, a fantastical place where outside influences cannot hurt them. They become firm and fast friends; best friends – to the point where they see each other almost every day. They share their lives, but it never crosses over the boundary to anything romantic.
As the years pass, Eliza and Till escape to the fantasy world they have built in that old abandoned apartment. Together, they forge a future they can live with, as opposed to the reality they want to escape.
As they grow up the issues that they face become more palpable, Till is failing out of school to the point that he does not graduate with Eliza. He is struggling to keep the roof over his family’s head. He loves Eliza, but he knows he cannot offer her what she needs. He is also terrified that another man will come and sweep her off her feet. Things come to a head the night of Eliza’s graduation. She tells Till that she has found herself an apartment close to the University. Till is devastated, but won’t let it show. He wants Eliza to have all the finer things in life – things he knows he will never be able to give her. After this last night together, Till walks away from Eliza, finally freeing her of him, or so he thinks.
Eliza lives through every ounce of Till’s pain – whether it be him and his problems with his hearing, his suffering to keep his family together, or his inability to claim the reality. She loves Till and he loves her, but the cards do seemed undeniably stacked against them. Till has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is working two jobs, looking after his brothers, training as a boxer and trying to lookout for Eliza. He sees Eliza as his fantasy and he cannot imagine that in the real world she would want someone like him.
“Why exactly is the flowerbed under my window purgatory?” I asked as he lazily moved over a few inches. Using a finger, he pointed over his head to my window. “Heaven.” Then he motioned to everything in front of us. “Hell.” And finally he pointed to the dirt where he was sitting. “Purgatory.” - Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez
“Not fair? Oh, so now, we’re talking about fair? Well, let me tell you how fucking not fair this is to me. I fell in love with a man whose fantasy is crawling through my window to escape reality. All the while, my fantasy is walking out that door to navigate reality by his side. I’m pretty sure that is the definition of not fair.” – Eliza, Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez
“And then I ended it. I rushed forward, and with both hands, I shoved Till as hard as I possibly could. Catching him off guard, I sent him stumbling out the door. He stood dazed and in shock. His mouth hung open as his eyes blinked rapidly. It was physically painful for me to witness, but it had to be done. “The fantasy’s over. Let me know when you’re ready to use the door.” With one swift push, I slammed the door on my relationship with Till Page” – Fighting Silence, Aly Martinez
The only words I have to describe this book is EPIC! The journey of these two characters traverses ages, spaces and heartbreaks that will leave you feeling devastated and broken. I loved every single word I read, I wish I could express succinctly how perfect this book was. Aly is one of those authors that when I find out a book is releasing, I don’t even need to read they synopsis to know that I want to read it. She has a way of putting words together that makes your heart feel like it is not only breaking in your chest and then once again being put back together. Aly Martinez you are a masterful magician of words and I loved every page.
The character of Till is simply unlike any other male character you have read. He is doing his best to overcome the hardship of his life. He takes his role as older brother seriously. He wants his brothers to fare better than he has. He forgoes many things so that he can provide for his brother, but perhaps his biggest sacrifice is giving up Eliza. He is a strong character with a heart of gold. He loves unconditionally and will quite literally give the shirt off his back to those he loves. Although, he has no role models worth mentioning, his word is his bond and throughout the book we see him grow into this amazing man.
Eliza, my dear sweet Eliza. She is softly spoken, sweet and gentle. That is of course until she meets the force that is Till Page. She gives as good as she gets, and she makes sure he knows exactly how she feels. I feel that too often these days, we view women as weak for being honest about their feelings and emotions. Eliza is not scared of facing her feelings head on, and I loved that about her. I loved how she loved Till. She also took on the role as surrogate for Till’s brothers. She loved them and they loved her – one big, happy family.
The secondary characters of Finn and Quarry (Till’s brothers) were also a beautiful add in to this book. They were funny, quirky – I loved them! They remind me of the younger siblings we all have. They fight, they argue, but most importantly they love one another and would do anything to protect each other.
I cannot say too much more about the story without giving away major plot spoilers, but the things that Till and Eliza go through will have you in tears and then grinning from ear to ear. Aly Martinez seems to have a knack for making us expect the unexpected. She leads us down a long and winding path of love, angst, heartache, pain and hilarity.
This book gets 5 AMAZING stars from me. I FREAKING LOVED EVERY PAGE! The only thing I wish is that the book had been neverending. Aly Martinez, you are beyond ridiculously talented, and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I love the Page brothers.
Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five- including a set of twins. Currently living in Chicago, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.
After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.