So powerful you're going to want to know more.


Daniel Matheson (18) is the son of a wealthy American oil executive and a Spanish mother. He is an aspiring photographer hoping to become a photojournalist, but his hopes are weighed down by the expectations of his family. His family has come to Madrid (the home of his Spanish mother) because his father has business meetings with Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

While in Spain, Daniel is using his photography skills to learn about his mother's birthland, but also to win a scholarship to pay for going to journalism school. At the hotel that his family is staying at, Daniel meets Ana Torres Moreno, who lives in a 1-room apartment with her sister, brother-in-law, and her baby niece. As Daniel explores more of Spain and the two become closer and discover the cruelty Franco exacted on his people. When Ana is fired from her job, accused of stealing, Daniel tries to help her, but she tells him to return to the United States. Reluctantly he does, but it is not forever. He returns eighteen years later to reconnect with Ana. Is it too late?

BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
The Fountains of Silence weaves together the stories of the different characters so that they neatly come together in an overarching narrative. The book is divided into two parts: the first and longer one taking place in the 1950s; and the second shorter one focusing on the characters about 20 years later.

The plot is intriguing, held my attention, and kept me wanting to learn more. The characters and their relationships were truly the backbones of this novel. The struggles that Ana’s family went through were heart-wrenching and revealed so much about the harm that Franco caused during his reign. I also appreciated the use of historical documents and references throughout because they grounded the story in the reality of Spain’s history. 

The Fountain of Silence is a good choice for readers looking for a slower-paced, dramatic novel with a unique setting and rich story. I recommend this book to readers 13 and older, especially those who are fans of Ruta Sepetys’ writing style. Fountains is a solid pick for those interested in historical fiction, especially when it involves romance. The gripping story and format also make it a good way to learn more about the tumultuous history of Spain.

I suggest borrowing this book from a library instead of buying it since the structure of the book may not be suitable for everyone. Because of the constant switches in the perspectives of each main character, the story can be hard to follow at times and may discourage some readers.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Gripping and made "real" with documents scattered throughout. Ruta Septys fans will not be disappointed, and other readers may just have found their new favorite author.

Content Awareness Factors:

Franco's rule was violent, and that is described in the story. He took children, telling the biological parents they died but then selling them to families for adoption. This theme may disturb some readers.

Type of Book:
This is a historical fiction novel set in Spain in the 1950s, with a "fast forward" to the 1970s in Texas.
Educational Themes:

The documents add more "history" to the "fiction," which will leave readers fascinated and wanting to learn more. There are exceptional resources on the author's website, including information about how the book came to be and videos of other stories from people who lived under Franco's rule.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
14 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. The multi-perspective storytelling isn't for everyone, so get it from the library to see if it works for you.

Title The Fountains of Silence
Author Ruta Sepetys
Publisher Philomel Books, Imprint Penguin Young Readers Group © 2019
ISBN 9780399160318
Material Hard Cover
Cost $18.99
Genres Historical Fiction, Europe | European People, Romance
be the star you are
Reminder: Cover images, and links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.

You May Also Like...

Check out these books you may also like


Karen Cushman
HMH Books for Young Readers © 2016


Author Monica Hesse
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers © 2020
ISBN 9780316490573


Tosca Lee
Howard Books © 2016


Author Julie Berry
Publisher Viking Children's Books, a Penguin Random House Company © 2019
ISBN 9780451469939


Anne O'Brien Carelli
Yellow Jacket, Imprint Bonnier Publishing USA © 2018


Elizabeth Wein
Disney-Hyperion, Disney Book Group © 2012
be the star you are Cybils


Author William Kent Krueger
Publisher Atria Books, Imprint Simon & Schuster © 2019
ISBN 9781476749297