“Sid is 16 and lives with his foster parents on an island off the west coast of Canada. He’s a bit compulsive and somewhat of a loner but he helps out around the house, is sympathetic to other children and loves to draw. He is mature beyond his years and shows amazing patience with the scared little girl Fariza who is a new member of the foster home. Chloe is flirty, fun, quirky and Sid’s one good friend. There are hints of an attraction on Sid’s part but that is never pursued in the book; it’s enough that they are there for one another.
When a man shows up claiming to be a good friend of Sid’s absentee birth mother and asking for help, Sid is conflicted. His mother abandoned him at age two and he has never heard from her since. He owes her nothing but he learns he has a half brother who may need him, and a grandmother who is anxious to meet him. Sid debates helping, but his inherent kindness and commitment to helping out wins and he agrees to travel to another island to search for his missing half brother and connect with his grandmother. He learns his mother is bipolar and has run away so he may not need to confront her at all. In fact he has no interest in meeting her – he has wonderful foster parents who have nurtured him and love him.
The adults in the story are remarkably likeable – the foster parents, the grandmother, and Sid’s mother’s friend. They are compassionate and individualistic – not stereotypical. Even Sid’s mother who abandoned her baby has redeeming qualities although she’s not a prominent character. The one character who creates the most tension is Wain, Sid’s brother. He’s annoying and clearly troubled. Even Sid begins to lose patience with Wain, but the boy begins to show some progress as the book ends on a hopeful note.
As a person who grew up in a house where foster children came and went, I am pleased that the book paints a positive picture of foster care. There are many wonderful foster parents who really try to provide a loving and stable environment for children in need. The book’s story is engaging and one can’t help but like Sid and the characters in the book. Harvey’s story flows smoothly and has interesting descriptive touches. The optimism of the book is refreshing and uplifting.
“Three Little Words was a very easy and quick read for me, which was a refreshing change from some of the books I'd been reading recently. I enjoyed my time reading it.
The book itself didn't go into as much depth with the characters as I would have liked, so I would say the book was good, not great. I like to know more about the characters, and I felt like some of them were left hanging. For example, Amie and Enid seemed integral to at least part of the story, and then they were barely mentioned later. It seemed like Chloe and Sid had something going on, but it really wasn't dealt with. Perhaps the latter is because the back of the ARC has it marked as 12+, but I'd expect a book dealing with a kid who is 16 to have more of a romantic relationship in it. Sure, it was nice that there wasn't really a love story to color the whole novel, but I would have liked to know if Sid was seeing more in Chloe than just his best friend. Speaking of Sid, I felt like I was left wondering if he'd ever forge a relationship with Devi, and that was a little disappointing. Fariza was my favorite character in the novel. I felt like her development paralleled Sid's, but in a subtle way. Harvey didn't beat the reader over the head with that parallel, which of course I appreciated.
I really liked the way that the author integrated the title into the text itself. There was not just one time when "three little words" were significant to the plot, and I felt that allowed even a younger reader to really "get" why the author called the novel Three Little Words.
Overall, the reading itself was pleasurable, and I wouldn't avoid recommending the novel to some young readers. A few older high school students might be a little disappointed, but younger high schoolers would probably have an enjoyable time reading the novel. I am glad to have read it.”