The Whispers by Greg Howard

The Whispers

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared a few months ago, and Riley is determined to crack the case. He even meets ...

Details The Whispers

TitleThe Whispers
Release DateJan 15th, 2019
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Lgbt, Fantasy, Young Adult, Glbt, Queer

Reviews The Whispers

  • Neville Longbottom
    The Whispers is an absolutely gorgeous middle grade novel about Riley, an eleven year old boy whose mother has gone missing. Riley believes that the key to finding her lies with The Whispers, wish granting fairies from the stories she used to tell him. Riley’s also struggling with his dad seeming like he doesn’t want him around anymore, bullies at school, and having a crush on an older boy. Greg Howard’s writing here is so beautiful. All of...
  • Harker
    CW: bullying, anti-gay terminology/homophobia, child abuse, animal death, talk about segregation behaviorRiley has a strong belief in the Whispers: fairies that will grant you your heart's desire if you offer a tribute. He needs to believe in them because his mama has been missing for months now and if he doesn't believe...what then?Greg Howard's middle grade debut novel was a well written, heart breaking example of how sometimes the belief we ho...
  • Melissa Chambers
    The Whispers is a sweet and tender story that takes place in small town South Carolina. While the plot is rich and layered, you'll find yourself getting lost in the everyday-ness of life in the country with gems like Riley's grandma's 5-4-3-2-1 fruit salad, "country neighbors", and the Pentecostal Corn Choir. You are guaranteed to be transported to another world with this very special, very extraordinary story about a boy who's navigating a diffi...
  • Sarah Nelson
    Such a sweet story about growing up, finding yourself, and forgiveness. Fair warning, get the tissues ready. I was not prepared for the emotions.Thank you to the publisher for providing this book through Netgalley and putting me on the blog tour. Read my full review at
  • Adam Sass
    This story is not just a wonderful, sweet, moody mystery, it's also one of the rarest examples I've ever read of taking the point of view of a gay person at the moment they're starting to understand who they are. At 11 years old, Riley is dealing with not just the sudden disappearance of his mother, but also the guilt that his "condition" may be responsible. It's full of wonderful, charming voice and remarkable insights into grief and early gay c...
  • Jenni Frencham
    Howard, Greg. The Whispers. G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR, 2019.Riley believes in the old tales of the Whispers, forest creatures who can grant wishes if you bring them tribute. He also thinks they know what happened to his mama and how he can take care of what he refers to as his "other problem," aka his crush on an older boy. But he's having difficulty convincing anyone else that the Whispers are real.This is a whimsical story of a boy who still belie...
  • Craig
    It took me a little bit to get into the book, mostly because the setting was very rural American, something I'm not particularly knowledgeable about, and haven't read a lot of. Once I adjusted to the setting and language of the book though, I was utterly drawn in.Initially I was a bit undecided on how I felt about the author clearly putting vocabulary in with explanations to encourage children to learn; on one hand it was clevely woven into the s...
  • Briana
    Source: e-ARC from publisher
  • Sammy E. T.
    I will defintly give it a try.
  • Tracey
    I'll admit to shedding a few tears on this one--only a few, though, because I was reading it in a coffee shop. I put it on my magical reality shelf, though by the end, you'll have to decide on how much--and what kind--of magic.
  • Jessica Calla
    This was a beautifully written, middle grade novel that made me smile throughout, but sob cry at the end. Riley is determined to solve the mystery surrounding his beloved mother’s disappearance, and turns to the Whispers for help. Mr. Howard takes the reader along with Riley through every step on his journey and shows us Riley’s Southern roots, his family, and his friends all through a perfectly written, middle grade voice. My heart is full a...
  • James Brandon
    A beautiful MG novel about magic and grief and self-discovery for all ages. It’s a page-turning journey I couldn’t put down, a thrill-ride to the soul. Gorgeously written, full of depth and wit, I easily saw myself scattered in bits of Riley through the pages. This is a story I wish I had in middle school, the hardest years of my life. I undoubtedly would have been spared some of the pain and replaced it with some of this magic.
  • Bryant
    I received an advance copy of this book and I wasn't sure I'd be able to get into since it's middle grade. I absolutely loved Social Intercourse, primarily because Greg didn't hold anything back making it as realistic as possible. Obviously I wasn't expecting the same kinda content in this book. Something else I didn't expect was it making me cry at work. Yup. That's a thing that happened. This book is about as close to perfect as you can get. I ...
  • Laura Sibson
    So grateful to have read an ARC of this middle-grade novel, which will be released January 2019. Greg Howard creates a setting so lush that I felt as though I were in the magical woods of South Carolina with Riley, his dog Tucker and Riley's friends. Riley is a believable 11-year old boy who worries about his family, wants to find his lost mother and isn't always perfect to his best friend. He's also struggling with guilt that the fact that he's ...
  • Beck
    This was such a sad story, about a boy called Riley who, being unable to accepts his mothers passing, creates a fantasy that she has been taken by a Hobgoblin and the Whispers can help him find her. This was a well written story that moved between fantasy and real life.The reason I have given this book three stars - Rileys homosexuality is called a "condition" and experiences homophobia from not only the kids at school but also the adults from th...
  • Tory
    SPOILERSI really hate unreliable narrators.
  • Thompson McLeod
    Heartfelt, beautiful, mesmerizing and a tale that will captivate readers!The Whispers is this year's must read for young readers, teachers, parents, everyone! It is that middle grade book readers will remember long after finishing it.Riley is ten when his mother disappears. He misses her and sees her influence everywhere he looks. He tries to find her in the whispered voices he hears at twilight. He prays that the voices can tell him where she's ...
  • Heather Hughes
    I’d like to thank Penguin Random House for including me in the blog tour for Greg’s new release. My review is completely honest.Riley is a little boy that believes in magic, especially the Whispers. They are fairies that will grant wishes, just as long as you leave tributes. Naturally, as a young boy, he has a lot of wishes. What he wants is his mom back. She’s been gone for too long and he believes they are the only ones that can help him....
  • WhatBookNext .com
    Riley loves his faithful old dog Tucker, his favourite TV show, Criminal Investigation Division: Chicago, and most of all his Mama. Mama laughs with him, shows him all the wonder in the world, and teaches him a new word every day.But Tucker has been off his food lately, and the local Police have been interrogating Riley. His Mama is gone. Riley’s dad hardly speaks to him anymore, and his big brother Danny is all teen anger and grunts. Riley bel...
  • Bridgette
    2.5ish starsThe jacket blurb is not really what this book is about, nor is the cover artwork. I thought it was going to be a portal fantasy, but it's definitely not. It's not even a fantasy, more like fabulism/magical realism. The pacing was slow and off in many parts for me and there were a few passages that I did not see the need for at all (like him noticing the commercial for Viagra on his grandparent's TV--it doesn't call it Viagra, it calls...
  • Laura Gardner
    The Whispers is about a boy named Riley who wants to find the mythical creatures known as the Whispers so he can wish for his missing mother to return home. Riley is an anxious, sad boy with two conditions he keeps secret -- he wets the bed every night and he identifies as gay and was caught by his mother kissing a boy months prior. Riley's father is distant, his grandparents are bereft with the loss of their daughter and his brother is mean. Ril...
  • Piper Mejia
    It is difficult for anyone, let alone children, to talk about loss. It is an emotion we hold close so that we can keep going day after day. In Greg Howard’s novel The Whispers, eleven-year-old Riley’s life is already difficult before his mother disappears; he is being bullied at school and has a crush on an older boy. Unable to talk to his father, and feeling let down by the police, Riley decides to go in search of the magical fairies his mot...
  • Czechgirl
    I thought this book was going to be magical realism. That is how well Howard set the book up for the reader. Character development is the strongest element of this book. You will hold on to Riley for days. To me, the book is very Newbery worthy, but I’m not seeing a lot of “talk” about the book. This is not right. The book is going on my favorites list. A book like this doesn’t come around but once in a while.
  • Courtney
    This was a beautifully written middle grade novel about discovering yourself, facing hard truths and overcoming grief. I won’t lie I did shed a few tears towards the end, but managed reign it in. The mystery of Riley’s mothers disappearance had me guessing the entire time and was completely compelling.
  • Dave Baker
    Wow one if the most outstanding books I have ever read. As a middle school principal, I witnessed many children go through traumatic experiences. This book affirms that it is okay for them to feel whatever they are feeling. And it is up to us, the adults in their lives, to be there for them while they are feeling.
  • Yapha
    I really wanted to like this book. It deals with some very important topics. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get past all of the southern euphemisms. I hope that it will reach it's intended audience. ARC provided by publisher
  • Juliana B.
    The Whispers was overall a good book even though it was a bit slow paced at times. The story behind the whispers is pretty cool. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes books in the fantasy genre.
  • Tim Matheney
    Very touching. The references to life in the South resonated with my memories of my mother and grandmother who were born in Tennessee. The book should definitely appear on the list of best YA books of 2019.
  • Abby
  • Jodi Henry
    This book is beautifully written, heartbreaking and hopeful. And I think everyone should read it.