Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Expected Publication: September 1st 2015

Synopsis:

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.


Your Voice is All I Hear
Add to Goodreads

My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary (Mental Illness), Young-Adult

ARC Page Count: 336

Format: e-book


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley! This did not affect my review in any way. Any of the quotes used are from an uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final copy.

Hello, today I have for you an ARC review on Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier! This book is a contemporary novel that covers mental illness (schizophrenia). I honestly haven’t read many books of this topic, one of the reasons why this book caught my eye, especially after reading (and enjoying) Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, the one book of schizophrenia I’ve read recently. This book turned out to be way different than what I expected—way different than Made You Up (in case some of you were wondering), generally in a good way. If you’re into mental illness in YA (and by mental illness, I mean, a true, realistic portrayal of it), I urge you to pick up this book.  The schizophrenia was shown for what it really was, not sugarcoated, and it was clear the author did her research, which is fantastic. My main problem with this book, however, was the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of the main character. Actually, I wasn’t a fan of almost all of the characters in here. The secondary characters came off as stereotypical and the main character herself was a bit too bland and needy for my taste. But by the end of the novel, I was able to look past all that to say that I still enjoyed this book.

Plot

My feelings on the plot varied throughout the story. At the start the plot generally annoyed me, mainly because the characters all got on my nerves and I couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t like April much (she was extremely judgmental, and quite naive, which just didn’t work out with me), and it definitely didn’t help when she went ahead and instantly fell in love with the new guy in her class. I’m not completely against insta-love, I know it can definitely work for the better at times, but this book was definitely not one of those times. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Luckily, as I continued through the story, the plot got better, in that we started to get introduced to the symptoms of schizophrenia. I started to look past the characters into seeing more of the schizophrenia’s effects, and it was truly heart-wrenching seeing the denial the characters went through, seeing the tougher, grittier side of schizophrenia, which, trust me, isn’t pretty.

Near the end of the novel (maybe after 60 or 70% read) I really started to get emotionally attached to everything. The feels! There starts to have so much going on, and my emotions just kind of all explode all over the place. I absolutely loved that! I would even go as far as to say that this almost got me to shed a tear, which doesn’t often happen. Although the plot isn’t the best right from the get-go, it’s definitely drama and emotion-packed!

Characters

“I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him away and thrown away the key.”

I wasn’t a big fan of April, I’ll admit that. For a good part of the book I found her to be bland, selfish, naive and even a bit needy as well. It just wasn’t my favorite combo, but I will admit that in some ways you can consider her to be a realistic portrayal of how a lot of people would act in her shoes. And perhaps for some of you April will be a great protagonist, but for me, she just wasn’t the best. However, that being said, once I got near the middle-ish and the end, I started to really care for her. What she went through, must’ve been torturous, and my heart honestly hurt for her by the end. So, I guess these two opposing sentiments kind of just cancel eachother out, and to put it simply; she was an okay protagonist. Her character is pretty easy to sympathize with, even if she wasn’t the most likable person at the start. I ended up genuinely rooting for her, which is great.

Jonah, April’s love interest, is the one suffering from schizophrenia. He is definitely my favorite character in the book, it didn’t take me long ’till I fell under his spell and was rooting for him completely. We don’t see right away the effects of the schizophrenia; we get the time to get to know him, see what he’s like. Which, ultimately, meant that my heart broke even harder when we start seeing the symptoms, because I had already grown attached to him. It was so heartbreaking to see how damaging the effects of schizophrenia can be, although I praise Leah Scheier for doing such a wonderful job on it. There was no sugar-coating, and although seeing it through April’s eyes didn’t allow for us to see what Jonah himself was thinking, it was clear how much he was struggling. Honestly, I’m rendered speechless just thinking about it all, because my words cannot do justice to express how heart-wrenching it was, reading what Jonah went through.

Writing Style

The writing is very pleasant, it had a conversational style to it, with a more serious mood underlying it. The pacing was relatively fast (to reflect the nature of schizophrenia, I suppose, what with its unpredictability, etc.) It really suited the story and was intriguing to read. The story is written from the first-person perspective of April, which, I suppose is fitting and also did its part to have me sympathize with her character.

Overall…

I really enjoyed this novel, despite not being a fan of April for a good chunk of the first half of the novel. April, really is what prevented me from rating this book higher, but overall I consider this to be a heart-wrenching novel that you should definitely not miss if you’re looking for a well-written portrayal of schizophrenia. The plot had me absolutely all over the place in the end; my emotions ranged from despairing to desperate and so much more. I loved Jonah so much, and I praise Leah Scheier for being able to bring out such strong responses from me (and other readers, I’m sure). The ending was lovely, in a kind of heartbreaking and bittersweet way. I’m not usually a big fan of open endings (as there is in this book) and wasn’t a big fan of this one at first, but overall, I found it to be quite fitting for the story. All in all, Your Voice is All I Hear is an emotional read that is not afraid to show the true effects of schizophrenia—and how it can change the lives of so many in the matter of seconds. A wonderful story!

What you do think of this book? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments below!


Hungry? Well don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to gobble this up when it releases tomorrow! 😉

Analee 10

Advertisements

What Makes a Good Love Triangle? | Book Snacks Babbles

Hello and welcome to the first, official Book Snacks Babbles discussion post! I’m so excited to finally have started this new feature here on Book Snacks.

(Although, you can check out the first unofficial BSB post here.) I was planning on starting off this series waaaay earlier (the start of this month, actually) but after continuous changing of discussion topics, it took me quite some time!

Nonetheless, today I have a question that has been festering in my mind for quite some time: What makes a good love triangle? I know there are plenty of readers out there who say they’re sick of love triangles, but really, I think it would be more accurate to say ‘sick of *bad* love triangles’. Because when love triangles are written well, they can be entertaining and even advantageous to a story. So what are the things that makes a good, quality love triangle? Only one way to find out...Get comfy, and let’s babble!

Book Snacks Babbles Header


I’m going to start this off by saying: I don’t hate love triangles (although I think most of you must’ve guessed or realized that by now). I actually enjoy them, to be honest. But if they’re written well. The sad part is that they usually aren’t, which is one of the main reasons for the hatred against them from other readers. But there are so many ways authors can make quality love triangles, so many things I wish were in books more often. That’s what I’m going to share today. I don’t claim to be an expert on writing though, these are just personal thoughts and observations, on what should be done to make a quality love triangle:

  • Make the love interests appealing, interesting and unique.

    If you’re going to have a heroine (or hero, but I’ll be going with heroine for the sake of examples) torn between two guys, make it easy for the reader to see why she’s torn between them. And I’m not talking about simply “who’s the hotter one” kind of things. I want to be able to root for one (or both!) of the love interests based on who they are and how they act together with the heroine. I want to see valid reasons for why the heroine is struggling, and one of the first steps to that is to have love interests who I can root for; love interests who are appealing and interesting. (And swoon-worthy, of course.) What do they like to do? What are they like? Focus on the tiny things; that’s how we get to know the love interests the most.
    Examples: Will from The Infernal Devices, Chaol from Throne of Glass, Dorian from Throne of Glass, etc.

  • The love triangle should be more than just choosing between the two love interests.

    As in, make sure the main character’s choice is not just a decision between Hot Guy #1 and Hot Guy #2. Doing this not only does nothing to set the love triangle apart from all the other ones out there, it also adds no depth to the characters and basically only proves that the main character is shallow. Although these can sometimes turn out to be fun to read about, to get a unique love triangle it’s better to go the road-less travelled, am I right? Have the main character be conflicted between one guy who reflects who she herself is, and one who brings out the best in her. Make it a choice for the main character, of who she thinks is best for her, in terms of personality, in terms of what she wants her future to be like. There are just so many questions to be considered! Just make it a true choice, not a beauty pageant of superficiality.
    Example: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • Make sure there’s not too much competition between the love interests.

    Some competition is bound to be there, and it can be entertaining to read about (depending on the situation), but since we see it so often in YA, it’s rare that the average YA reader will be over the moon about an overdose of testosterone over a girl. XD A little competition is fine, but if you’re to the point where Guy #1 is about to punch Guy #2 because he was hanging out with the Heroine (who isn’t even Guy #1’s girlfriend)…It gets to be a bit too much, if you know what I mean.
    Note: An interesting way I’ve seen this be controlled in other books is making the love interests have a close-knit relationship with eachother. (Like in The Infernal Devices, how Jem and Will are parabatai, more close to eachother than even a sibling connection.) There are of course many ways to handle the competition side of the love triangle, this is just one way that I found I really liked. 

  • Get rid of over-excessive angst.

    I’m not saying that the choice should be easy to make, that the main character hardly has to think about who she wants; naturally some confusion, sadness and heartbreak is expected. But I personally do not always enjoy a book where 80, or 90% of the story the main character is in constant angst over who she wants to date when there is (usually) much more going on to think about. Unfortunately this is pretty common in YA, so it would be really great to see a healthier and better way of handling things.

  • Don’t use a love triangle as an excuse to create unnecessary conflict.

    One of the worst things is when a love triangle creates superficial conflict; usually frustrating tension that was caused by a misunderstanding that really does nothing for the plot and is mostly a filler. (Example: guy #1 caught girl hugging/talking to guy #2 and got jealous. Trust me, I’ve actually seen this one before.)  Of course, there may be times where the conflict created by the love triangle is required, for perhaps a character’s development or whatnot. And that’s fine, but it’s just important to make sure not to overstep the lines to the point the love triangle just becomes an empty plot device.


So that’s some of my most important ideas on how to make a quality love triangle. After all, it’s all about how the love triangle is written, that determines its value, no? What do you think? Join in the discussion!

  • Do you like love triangles, as I do, if they’re well-written?
  • What are some of the things you think makes a good love triangle?
  • Do you think love triangles are bad, period? Why?
  • Which love triangles from books did you like? Which ones did you dislike?

There’s no right or wrong opinion here, I’d love to know your thoughts on love triangles and what you think makes them well-written. Let me know in the comments below!

Until our next babbling discussion,

Analee 10