"Everything about Jonah is unexpected. On the first day of school, he sits next to April, when he could have chosen to sit with the popular girl. He turns down an invitation to join the school team and declares he'd rather paint. He encourages April to develop her musical talent and shrugs off the bullies that torment them.
April isn't surprised to find herself falling for Jonah. The unexpected part is when he falls for her too.
But the giddy happiness of their first romance begins to fade when Jonah's unpredictability begins to take a darker turn. April understands that her boyfriend is haunted by a painful memory, but his sudden mood swings worry her. She can't explain his growing fear of cellphones, electric keyboards, and of sounds that no one else can hear. Still, no matter what happens, April is sure that she'll always stand by him.
Until Jonah finally breaks and is committed to a psychiatric ward.
Until schizophrenia changes everything.
Though everyone urges her to let him go, April stays true to Jonah. But as the boy she adores begins to disappear in front of her, she has to face her worst fear: that her love may not be enough to save him."
NetGalley. Thanks for a copy.
Please note that there are some spoilers in this review.
Schizophrenia is never an easy disease. It eats away the mind, and it is simply horrifying. It is like a parasite, eating people (their souls) from inside out. From the brief Internet search, it seems Leah Scheier portrays schizophrenia well, but I'm not an expert on it. Mental illness is never an easy topic, and those who wish to stay away may stay away from this book. (There is also a suicide attempt. Trigger warnings.) However, as stated by one of the characters, ignorance is never good.
Your Voice Is All I Hear is a standalone. It is a very emotional and frightening tale, and there isn't much hope. Think this book as The Fault In Our Stars, but with even more sadness and actual insanity and great, great amounts of pain. The Fault In Our Stars times infinity makes up this story. Unlike The Fault In Our Stars, where Gus dies, Jonah is torn away piece by piece. Schizophrenia is eating him up from the inside and killing all of the good and beautiful parts, which is perhaps a fate way, way worse than Gus' death from cancer.
Never read this book with a sad song. Even without music, Leah Scheier's writing is perfect and it will make readers cry at the most poignant moments. There is something incredibly sad about the heart wrenching conflict, and even worse is that, there isn't anything April can do about schizophrenia. The plot starts off beautifully, singing of hope and young love and a strong beginning, but it takes a terrifying and dark turn into sadness, pain, and even more pain. There is beauty in this book, but there is also a lot of dark clouds.
April is the sole narrator of Your Voice Is All I Hear, and she remains one of the most faithful and amazing characters in this book. Fifteen years old, she is dedicated to her insane boyfriend though she most certainly has her breaking points. Her character development really comes around when Jonah is committed to the psychiatric ward, and she starts questioning everything about her and Jonah. Her journey to understanding and letting go is one of the most beautiful paths I'd ever seen.
In conclusion, Your Voice Is All I Hear will make John Green proud (or jealous). April is an amazing character with an excellent and astounding self-journey. Jonah is much more painful to watch, as he slowly unravels himself to an unknown stranger and loses himself. This standalone is sad, dark, and completely hard to read. Readers, expect a lot of tears.
Rating: Five out of Five