The Silenced

The Silenced

by James DeVita


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Marena struggles to remember the past: a time before the Zero Tolerance Party murdered her mother and put her father under house arrest. A time before they installed listening devices in every home and outlawed writing. A time when she was free. But it feels like the only thing the new, repressive government wants is to have Marena forget. When the Minister of Education, Helmsley Greengritch, cracks down on Marena’s youth training facility, she knows she has to fight back. In the spirit of her revolutionary mother, she forms her own resistance group—the White Rose. With nothing but words and a hunger for freedom, Marena fights for what she knows is right, only to discover the ZT Party's horrifying plans for the country. A thrilling story of resistance and the power of art, The Silenced draws upon the true story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose group's resistance to the Nazi party.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571319371
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication date: 08/11/2015
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,151,421
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

James DeVita, an author and actor, has published two award-winning novels for young readers as well as numerous plays. He is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a member of The Dramatists Guild and Actor’s Equity Association. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two children.

Read an Excerpt

The Silenced

Chapter One

Marena hurried down the street, past the long stretch of identical home units, the winter air needling her awake. Outside the open perimeter gate a green YTF bus sat huffing its exhaust into the chilly morning. Marena quickened her pace, trying to zipper her coat between strides. An electric bell buzzed, and the tall gate shuddered, creaked, and began to inch its way closed. She broke into a run, waving her journey permit over her head and shouting at the blank-faced Stof in the guardhouse, "I'm here! I'm here!" He didn't stop the gate. "Hold up. I'm right here!"

The thin doors of the bus closed, and its hulking frame clunked into gear. Marena sprinted the last few steps, scooted sideways through the gate, and held her permit up for the Stof to see.

He stared at her with dead eyes and waved her through.

The bus braked to a stop, the doors flapped open, and Marena climbed up the thick rubber steps. She pressed her hand into the digiprint, which flashed blue. The driver let her pass, and she headed down the aisle.

Sitting in the front seats to her left were a couple of nukes—newly culled kids whose parents had recently been convicted of crimes against the state. Marena knew what a joke the cullings were. All the big legal words—inherited guilt, associative responsibility, the Filial Internment Act—were just a bunch of lies made up by the Zero Tolerance Party. It was how the ZTs made it legal to arrest anyone for anything at all: wrong color, wrong religion, wrong ideas.

There were two nukes this month, and Marena nodded to them as she passed. Afrightened-looking girl, about fourteen, clutching a clear plastic book bag, nodded back. The other, an older boy, looked at Marena quickly and then stared front again. Redheaded, thin and freckled, he looked like he was trying to act cool, but Marena noticed his foot tapping nervously beneath the seat in front of him. She would have liked to sit with them and tell them it really wasn't that bad, that they'd get used to things after a few months; she'd have liked to tell them which students at the youth training facility were safe and which were listeners, or who the nice instructors of public enlightenment were, or how to sneak out after curf and scavenge without getting caught, but she knew she couldn't take the chance. It was so hard to know whom to trust that it was easier not to trust anyone.

Marena continued down the aisle. To her right, the JJ-Girls—Jennifer, Heather, and Michele—stopped comparing the latest jewelry they'd scrounged and looked up. Marena turned her back to Jennifer's whispered insults and walked past her. Behind Jennifer, Franky "Pug-face" Poyer stuck his ugly puss into the aisle. Marena pushed by him and smiled at Dex, who was in the back row, saving her a seat. Dex had been a part of her relocation group after they'd been culled from their homes and assigned to the Spring Valley Re-Dap Community.

Marena flopped beside Dex, barely keeping the required foot of distance between them. They touched hands quickly.

"Hey," Dex whispered, ignoring the no-talking rule. Like ventriloquists, he and almost everyone at the YTF had learned to talk while barely moving their lips.

"Hey," Marena whispered back, staring at the ceiling.

"What's up?"

"Nothing. Just my dad being a jerk again."

The bus pulled away from the compound and gathered speed, skimming silently along what had once been country roads winding through the lush farmland of Spring Valley. The farms were dead now, and the roads were flat black asphalt, cutting straight across the barren fields.

Dex turned to Marena. "You get in okay last night?"

"Yeah. What about you?"


She wriggled out of her coat, leaning into Dex longer than she should have. He pressed back, and she knew he too was enjoying the stolen moment of closeness.

"Wake me when we're there," he whispered.

Marena smiled, wondering if he felt as safe as she did when they were together. She twisted around and looked out the back window, watching the vast tracts of ruined cropland spill out behind the bus. Whatever had once thrived in the rich soil of Spring Valley was long dead. Weeds, wilted dark from the coming cold, blanketed the wasteland, and a black frost glinted under the early-morning sun.

Marena squinted at the odd beauty of it, wondering why the sun would even choose to rise on such a place as this. She tried to count the shadowy lines of old furrows ghosted beneath the weeds, but they flickered by too fast. A tree, overlooked somehow in the ravagings, still stood in one field. Scattered around its trunk lay most of its leaves, blazing in autumn reds and crimson-yellows. They looked almost fake, they were so beautiful, like someone had dumped out a box of paper cutouts. A few early flecks of snow flitted down.

A faint image came to Marena, something she'd seen before. . . . White, something white. Just a glimpse, then gone. A snowman? she thought. No, no, it was moving. Clouds? She turned front, keeping an eye on the bus driver, and slid down in her seat. She snuck her hand into a hidden seam of her coat and eased out a small stapling of scrap paper she'd stolen from art class.

Dex saw the paper and shook his head. He hadn't been sleeping at all.

Marena tapped her eyebrow twice, signaling Dex to keep watch and then leaned over as if to tie her shoe. She slid out the small stub of a pencil she'd hidden in the cuff of her pants and, staying low behind the seat back, started to write, but the image was no longer there. She looked out the window again. Sometimes she had to trick her memories into showing themselves, cold-shoulder them a little.

It came again.

The Silenced. Copyright © by James DeVita. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Silenced 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
storyteller1020 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Provocative book about freedom vs. totalitarianism. It was Pre-Hunger Games and a little less flashy,,.but worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The chilling novel, Silenced, by James Devita, makes you question your true identity and who you really are. Marena, the main character struggles to remember the past, a time when her mother was murdered due to the cruel society. This book is an example of a government- controlled society, possibly trying to represent the future. It's based on real events based on the Hitler's regime and a real group of people who tried to resist the Nazi beliefs. It makes you question yourself and the society we live in, could we see events like this in our future? Marena and her two friends, Dex and Eric, live in a place where the Zero Tolerance Party controls their government and the way the town is run. The Zero Tolerance Party allows nothing. From no dating, no education, no private conversations all the way to no paper or pens. Frequently the ZT's check the homes and do searches to find people that are trying to break the rules, and if found there is a deep consequence. Marena knows about these consequences because of her mother. The women who was murdered, only for standing up for what was right. Marena wants to do the same, her mother would want that and she knows she needs to because everyone else is in the society is afraid to. The consequences may be large, her loved ones tell her not to, but that doesn't stop Marena and The White Rose. I loved this novel because of Marena. She breaks many rules, rebels against her society and gets betrayed by the only ones she thought she loved. But that doesn't stop the strong- willed teenage girl from creating The White Rose, a group that will not be silenced. A group that wants to get the society back to how it needs to be, despite the dangers it could bring for themselves, and their families. Marena, Dex and Eric want to bring their plans to action. Marena's flashbacks of her mother occur more and more often and she knows she needs to bring The White Rose to life. Can Marena stand up for herself? For all the others suffering but to afraid to do something about it? To find these answers you will have to read the action packed, adventurous, and scary and fast- paced story to find out. This book will keep you on your toes, wanting to flip to the next page constantly and quickly, and never wanting to put it down. This book can teach readers to stand up for what they believe is right, and if you want to make a change, you can do it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never been in a situation where my whole life has been monitored by the government in every little thing I do. This goes for whom I talk to, when I watch TV, when I eat, what I eat ext. In the book The Silenced, James Devita brings out a novel that exemplies what its like to not have control of your own thoughts feelings and who you are or what you want to become. Marena is a young teenage girl, who of course is like every teenager who wants to know things about her life and why things have happened or why things have changed in their society. Their society that they live in is controlled by what is called the ZT's. The ZT's monitor every little move that they make so that no one can over rule them or think differently of their government that they are controlling. They drill in kids brains what is the correct way or the right way to think. Their government displays the theme of power over their people and if anyone thinks otherwise or disobeys their demands, they get terminated, which means death. Merena's family has displayed the rebellment against the ZT power before and that led her mother to be terminated and her father to be under house arrest. Of course Merena didn't know why her mother was taken away since she was so young to remember, so Merena goes through days wondering why she doesn't have a mother and why they killed her. As she writes down every little memory that she could remember, she puts the pieces together and discovers that the ZT power took away her mother and killed her for believing in a society that would someday be free from control. Merena takes action and puts herself, along with her two other friends, Dex and Eric, to form a secret rebellion called the White Rose. This leds to so many events that will put you on your toes to an adventure of creating or destroying a powerful society. I enjoyed this book because it really is a roller coaster of suspense that you will never expect to happen. I also related to this book because of Marena being a teenager and seeing what it is like to believe in something so much and doing anything to make it happen. Marena shows this by following her mother in trying to destroy their type of powerful government even if that leds to giving her own life which did come upon on in a point of time in the book. Most importantly this book shows that if you try so hard to get your voice out there to be heard anything is possible. Marena tried so hard to get her voice heard by saying the government they live in is wrong in controlling who we are and what we want to do with their lives. She is only a teenage girl and who would want to listen to her? People did listen because she put her faith into her beliefs and this book exemplified the most important theme, trust, not only in yourself but who you want to become.
RoyalBlue23 More than 1 year ago
It is perhaps one of the best books I have ever come across.The Silenced is definitely challenging and kept me thinking long after I turned the last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
toleranceisthewaytogo24 More than 1 year ago
At the begining of the book it was kind of boring but towards the 5th chapter it started to get really good. I loved how the author James Devita wrote the story with alot of supense(keeping me at the end of my seat and also interested) and romance(keeping me interested and not wanting to put down the book!) When I got at the end of the book I said to myself" This is it?" because the ending just seemed to stop in the middle of nowhere. Although I did like how it ended, I just wished there was more! 1 more thing I'd like to mention was that I liked how James Devita explained how the book was actually based on true events; that was cool! It made me want to go research the event(and I did!)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
In this vision of a government-controlled futuristic world, James DeVita introduces readers to Marena, a teenage girl who is just barely old enough to remember a world without the Zero Tolerance Party, which rules their lives and restricts everything from interactions with the opposite sex to education to reading and writing to private conversations to (it seems sometimes) thoughts.

Marena struggles to remember a time when people could talk to whomever they wanted, say what they wanted, live the way they wanted. As the ZTs took control, Marena's mother was one of a brave few who spoke out against what was happening to their country. And she was murdered for it.

Now, urged on by the memory of her mother, Marena and a couple of like-minded friends begin their own resistance: The White Rose. The White Rose will not be silenced...and the consequences for all of them, for their families, could be deadly. But they could be even worse if the ZTs are allowed uncontrolled power over everything and everyone.

THE SILENCED is an un-put-downable, fast-paced story that, scarily, doesn't seem so far off the mark sometimes, in regard to our country's future. It's definitely something to think about.

Besides raising important questions, this well-written novel is just entertaining. Despite its size (over 500 pages), the action moves fast enough to capture even some reluctant readers' attention. James DeVita is a talented voice in young adult literature, and I'll certainly be looking up his previous novel, BLUE, and waiting eagerly for whatever he writes next!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it leaves you thinkinking that it could really happen, what if? would you be brave or stand on the side lines and do what your told? i thought it looked to long but when i picked it up i could not stop, but it really would be a good book for anyone that likes to read future books that leave you wanting more and the question what if this happens?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book for teens and adults. While it is a fictional depiction of a futuristic society, it is based on real events that took place during Hitler's regime - a real group of young people who tried to resist the Nazi beliefs. You will be sucked into the world of Marena and her family and the injustice that they all deal with on a daily basis. I found myself gasping out loud and occasionally, crying. For a first novel, DeVita has really brought his characters to life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book. The characters are interesting and you want to find out more about them throughout the book. The ending is very suspenseful and I had a hard time putting it down. I usually like reading non fiction books but I really enjoyed this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a good book to read if you like asking yourself 'who am I?' The author did a good job with characterization. The characters were so good that I wanted to jump into the book to defend them, especially Marena and Dex.