Five books with characters who can't talk

Writing a protagonist who can't talk out loud is quite a challenge.

Personally, I talk all the time. I'm a public speaker for my day job, but I have had several bouts of severe laryngitis and have been under severe no speaking orders from the doctor. Even people who interact with you every day react differently when you can't talk. Nowadays, we all have a convenient mobile device on hand to help, but that isn't always the case.

When I wrote "Speechless in Achten Tan" I thought having an MC who can't talk was pretty unique, but lately these books seem to be popping up everywhere.

So I made a list.



1. "Speechless in Achten Tan." By Debbie Iancu-Haddad

My main character Mila can't talk because magic took her voice. Her magic power is connected to her ability to speak, so she's pretty desperate to regain her ability of speech. I had a reviewer mention they were disappointed Mila's condition was reversible, but I never suggested it was permanent. Many other books I've read have MCs who have lost the power of speech for good. And each protagonist deals with it differently.

Mila uses a combination of sign language, tattoos of different words placed strategically on her skin, and even a mind reading potion once or twice (though that comes with some significant downsides).


2. "Every Word You Never Said." By Jordon Greene


This sweet LGBTQ+ story has a nonverbal teen protagonist who lost his voice due to childhood laryngitis. He uses a phone app to communicate and his Siri has a male British accent, because why not?

Skylar refers to his lack of speech as a disability, but he doesn't let it stop him from coping with life and even falling in love.


3. "The trouble with trying to date a murderer." By Jennifer Cody.


This is actually a humorous fantasy book, but I only discovered the fantasy elements about halfway through. It's also M/M romance. The MC lost his voice as a baby when his father cut his vocal cords. Pretty gruesome. He usually communicates with his phone, nonverbal cues and lots of body language.


4. "Locked in Silence". By Sloane Kennedy.

Another M/M romance. The speechless MC lost his ability to speak at 18 due to a neck injury during a car accident. He uses an app to speak. But even with the benefit of modern technology, people aren't always patient enough to wait for him to type out his words. It's not enough that there are technologies to help. It's people and their reactions that are the chief obstacles to overcome.


5. "Skyhunter". Marie Lu.

This character is another fantasy character in a pre-technology world. Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation.

I read this quite a while back, but as far as I understand, the MC is selectively mute because of trauma after losing her home and becoming a fugitive. She communicates with sign language.


Know any other books on this topic? Tell me about them.