It is after 1am and I’ve been reading for hours. I am full of nerves and anxiety because I move back to school in the morning for my junior year. I don’t know why, but I always get really antsy before things like this. So of course I read to distract myself. And now that the book is over, I can blog about it! I could always start another book after this, but I should probably attempt to sleep. I don’t want to fall asleep while decorating my room tomorrow… (Well, technically today I guess, since it’s after midnight…)
Title: Your Voice is All I Hear
Author: Leah Scheier
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: September 2015
Rating: 4 stars
“I know my way around the mental hospital.”
*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
April Wesley was not looking forward to her sophomore year of high school. Her best friend Kristin just transferred to the fancy-shmancy private school down the road, meaning April would have to face Fallstaff High all alone. Or so she thought. New-kid-on-the-block Jonah shows up and shocks the entire class by passing up a seat behind Ms. Popular — and instead, sits in front of April. Jonah takes April’s breath away and she can’t believe her luck when the two become fast friends and eventually start dating. But after they share their first kiss, April begins to notice that something isn’t quite right with Jonah. While Jonah begins to slip into a deep depression, haunted by a tragic past and something else inside his head, April struggles to remain a loyal girlfriend. After Jonah is admitted to the mental ward, everybody keeps telling April to move on. But how do you move on from the one you love? How do you abandon someone when they need you most? April won’t budge. She’s sticking with Jonah not matter the cost. But is that enough to save him?
Mental illness is not an easy topic and is typically not discussed too widely in Young Adult literature. Your Voice is All I Hear tackles the difficult topics of schizophrenia, depression, suicide, and teenage heartbreak. Scheier certainly did her research — she spun an interesting, heartbreaking story while sticking to the facts and actually bringing more awareness to such a complex, confusing illness. Jonah’s character was not only tragic, but quite believable.
April was a great narrator. She was very stubborn and it was incredibly endearing how dedicated she was to Jonah, even when everybody around her was telling her it was okay to let Jonah go. I’m not sure I would have been as strong as she was through the whole thing. I probably would have been a mess. I was a mess reading this, actually. Sure, my emotions are all whack because of my nerves for move-in, but this novel actually made me cry. Not just tear up, but like, full-on cry. I couldn’t read because my vision was swimming in tears. Pathetic, I know, but wow, what a tough subject to read about.
I was dead-set on a 3.5 star rating for most of the novel. The characters were interesting, the story was good, it just seemed a little slow for me. I’m saying that a lot lately, aren’t I…… Sorry, but I mean it. However, with a third of the novel left, everything got really emotional, kind of suspenseful, and just downright sad. The ending definitely seemed like a scene from my life a couple years ago and I actually read Jonah’s name as one of my ex’s names. It was a very shudder-worthy moment. Okay. Yeah. Let’s move on.
So I decided on a 4 star rating due to how much this story made me cry. If words on paper (or a screen) can make me cry, well, then the author has done something right. Not only did the novel distract me from my worrying for a few hours, but it entertained me as well. The content was a little heavy, but it made for a great, emotional read. I’m glad there are YA’s out there tackling difficult subjects like schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
*I read and reviewed and ARC edition of the novel – if anything is misquoted in comparison to the published version, please let me know.