I have been obsessed with Ruta Sepetys' work since I read "Between Shades of Grey" the first time (I have lost how many times I have read it at this point). When I had heard that she was coming out with a new book, I was of course over the moon. I was excited to see what new part of history she would lead me to uncover. Like her other books, I did not know much about the history of the time, in this case, Franco's dictatorship and was curious to experience the lives of people who lived under his rule. Sepetys' characters have always stood out to me in their innate ability to make you feel as they do. This lead me to an interesting experience with "The Fountains of Silence". Her other books have started with a sense of hope, a hope to be rescued, a hope that everything will be okay. This carried me through the book and caused me to devour them as I wanted to see the characters get the happy endings that they truly desired. In "The Fountains of Silence", there was no hope in the beginning. You could feel the characters' fear for their lives and it made it impeccably hard to read. Her other books I devoured in under a day but this one I kept finding myself putting it down again and again because it was hard to push through that fear. In the end, there is that hope that everything will be okay, but it is weakened by the pain that was felt before. It felt like that happiness could be taken away again at any moment.
Now, why do I give 5 stars to a book that caused me grief? For that exact reason. I read to feel, to empathize. That grief just goes to show how talented Sepetys is a storyteller. She has never held anything back in her stories and I respect her for that. I can't wait to read her next story but for the moment, I will just have to re-read the ones that I have now.