• Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
    Bram Stoker Awards®
  • Bronze Medal Winner in Young Adult Fiction
    Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY)
  • Gold Medal Winner in New Adult Fiction
    NYC Big Book Awards
  • Finalist in Young Adult Fiction
    Dante Rossetti Book Awards
  • Quarterfinalist
    ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition


  • Silver Medal Winner: Young Adult Fiction
    Nautilus Book Awards
  • Gold Medal Winner in Young Adult Fiction — Mature Issues
    Moonbeam Children's Book Awards
  • Finalist in Best Juvenile or Young Adult Fiction
    Silver Falchion Award
  • Finalist in Contemporary & Literary Fiction
    Somerset Book Awards
  • Finalist in Young Adult Fiction
    International Book Awards



Compelling, gripping, and evocative, Speak No Evil is a study in personality development, horror, how support systems for teens can either succeed or fail, and the impact a caring adult can have on a teenager's life.

It's an empowering story that embraces abuse, best friends, secrets, and loyalty that will keep not just mature teens but new adults involved until its unexpected, satisfying conclusion.

~D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
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Dark, delicate, and masterfully written, Speak No Evil will make you cringe and cry in equal measure as it pulls your heart through the muck of humanity’s worst evils … Raised in a snake-handling church where indigenous belief systems mix with modern Christianity, Melody Fisher is a half Native American, quarter Scottish, and quarter black orphan. Before her parents’ deaths—one by accident and the other, arguably, by grief—her daddy caught and handled rattlers and other venomous serpents for the church where Melody sang with her parents. Melody’s voice is God’s gift and music is in her soul; she can even charm the snakes her father catches through her songs—a curious and seemingly divine feat considering snakes have no ears (at least not in the traditional sense). But Melody's voice is also her greatest burden, because when she asks her mama about the strange man she saw walking with her along the river, her mama is almost immediately struck down by one of her father's rattlers. From there, tragedy follows in the wake of Melody’s voice until, eventually, she stops speaking altogether … Gardner’s storytelling displays the same sort of sinister charm as she unravels Melody’s past to tell the story of her present. Speak No Evil is at once hypnotic, vaguely sinister, and decidedly beautiful, with sharp, poignant prose that handles the heaviest of issues with grace and delicacy.

~Seven Jane, bestselling author
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“... outstanding ... I had a tear in my eye on more than one occasion. A quite beautiful book I am very happy to champion by buying for my library.”

~Ginger Nuts of Horror
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“... suspense and intrigue ... Melody’s story is grim, but hope is weaved in throughout ... highly emotional.”

~School Library Journal

"Gardner tackles difficult topics, including bullying and abuse of all types, in a way that is both artistic and respectful. Given these weighty and emotional issues, the book is masterfully written in such a way that it is a pleasure to read."

~ BookTrib Review
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“Gardner has created a very powerful novel that depicts the cruelty and injustice of the world while also highlighting the ever-present beauty that few see when struggling with such dark issues.”

~The US Review of Books
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IR Verdict: 4.5 (OUT OF 5) SPEAK NO EVIL is a touching tribute to the power of loving faith and steadfast, patient kindness to heal the damage done by human cruelty and thoughtlessness.”

"WOW! Just WOW! Liana Gardner is a great author telling a story of death, sorrow, and so much more. You will fall in love with Melody....You will feel her sorrow....You will feel her shame.... you will feel everything with this character. A MUST read that will make you sit and think well after you turned the last page."

~Bookworm (bookseller, Washington)
Highly Recommending;
(suggested the title as an IndieNext Submission)

“I read and review lots of books but it’s not long before I forget most of them. Such will never be the case with Speak No Evil. Gardner has chosen to tell this story in a most unusual and powerful way … a very clever way to keep readers in suspense about what really happened. It’s made an indelible impression on me, as I’m sure it will on most readers. There are too many Melody Fisher’s in our homes and schools who lock themselves away in a world where they are both desperate to be heard and afraid to speak up. Though circumstances won’t be identical, Speak No Evil is their story. It’s not my job to tell them that story but to encourage them, and those who care about young people’s mental health, to read this for themselves. I have no doubt they will find this book unforgettable. A brilliant and novel approach to addressing important social issues. Bravo!”

~Viga Boland, Retired high school English teacher and Author of No Tears For My Father

“…a gripping book … Melody’s silence signifies the way some women feel about sharing their stories with other people, and how difficult it is to overcome the desire to retreat. I really enjoyed this book and would urge others to read it; the story of Melody and her bravery will speak to you and stay with you for quite some time.”
~Tracy Young, Bulgarian reviewer

“… alternately beautiful and troubling—and a totally compelling read … Gardner’s characters are finely drawn and credible, and her plot is so relevant considering the thousands of children lost in the foster care system and at the mercy of those charged to care for them … It’s one of those books you want never to end.”

~Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite

“Any victim of abuse or those who blame themselves for events out of their control needs to read this novel … This book should be in every school library and youth centre. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
~Lesley Jones, Readers’ Favorite

Wow. Liana Gardner sure pulls at your heartstrings with Speak No Evil.

Gardner brings you on a journey of recovery through song and memory as Dr Kane, Melody's therapist, uses the one thing that holds Melody together to help her communicate again: music. She anchors each chapter in a song, using the lyrics—beautifully written by Lucas Astor—to bridge Melody's present and her traumatic past. Melody's gift may be the gift of song, but Gardner's true gift is evoking the emotions of a vulnerable young girl and giving her voice through this story.

Melody's story isn't an unfamiliar one. Right from the beginning, I knew why she stabbed Troy. Discounting insanity--and Melody is definitely not insane--there can only be one reason why a young girl would attack a bright, promising young athlete. Only one reason why courts and public opinion would want to side with a promising, white jock against the word of a troubled, mixed-race girl. We've seen it in the news all too often. She must be lying. Gardner holds no punches, describing the things that happened, not in a voyeuristic, pornographic or erotic way, but in Melody's dark memories and trauma—take this as a content/trigger warning.

Yet, in the midst of the darkness, shines a beacon of hope:
It is not your fault.
You are more than your past.
You are stronger than you think you are.
You are a survivor.
We will stand with you.

If these are the words you need to hear, let Gardner whisper it to you again and again through Dr Kane's patience, Rebecca Prescott's persistence, and Quatie Raincrow's love and wisdom.

~Anna Tan, Malaysian author and editor

I found Speak No Evil to be inspiring as much as it was evocative ... This book is truly unlike any other book, let alone YA book, that I have ever read. It's content ringing with truth and hurt - it is an experience to read.
~Celia, Clinical Psychologist

“At first, I was hesitant to read this novel because it is told in retrospect. I generally avoid books in this style because everything is drawn out unnecessarily. This book was different because the two timelines were running parallel to each other with one chapter about the present and one about the past; readers get just enough information to keep them on their toes. The whole process felt believable and helped readers build a connection with Melody during her vulnerable moments. Hearing her express her feelings through lyrics felt more touching and poetic than if she spoke normally. The element of music threads the plot together as Melody recovers from her traumatic experiences. I recommend this novel to people interested in fast-paced, suspenseful, and heartwarming stories.”