August 16, 2015

(Netgalley) ARC Review: Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

Your Voice Is All I HearYour Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier
Rating: /5

*I received digital ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Pub. Date: September 1st, 2015

Get a copy here!

Your Voice is All I Hear is that kind of book that successfully catches my attention at the first sight. Its ear-catching title and intriguing cover do it for me. With title like Your Voice is All I Hear, I have no doubt that many people would get curious the first time they land their eyes on this book. I personally think that the cover is beautiful but at the same time it’s kind of sad. I don’t know, it’s just my first impression about this book before I read the description. Then I read the blurb… and this book broke my heart a little with it. I then realized that this book would definitely make me cry like a hungry baby.

Mental illness has always been my most favorite topic of contemporary novel. It’s just that whenever I meet, read, or watch about people with mental illness I always feel a pang in my heart that telling me I should be more grateful with my life. Unlike any other illness like, say, cancer, mental illness not only flaws people who suffer it emotionally, but also socially. It somehow becomes a label that put those who suffer it to the different side of the road. I witness myself how there are still people out there who tend to have negative judgments toward people with mental illness. If they are put in position to choose whether they prefer to befriend people with cancer or people with mental illness, they would be quick to choose the first one. It’s like as if having a mental illness means they are monsters who will attack just anyone around them; as if they deserve to be ignored of and worst, to be scared of. And the family, as if they deserve to get one sided glance everywhere they go. Reading about them somehow gives way to more insight about the subject for me which exactly what I sought after. I like getting a chance to understand what the very person actually feels, what it feels like for the family… everything about it. I read about schizophrenia before in a story but never as its main topic. So I liked it so much that Your Voice is All I Hear brings up about it A to Z.

I braced myself for the worst, as the prologue brought me to a mysterious and almost-worrying situation where the lead female character had come to a decision of doing something big and most probably hurting. This chapter was kind of reminding me just how depressing this book would be later more.
But it surprised me that I actually really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book a lot. I laughed several times and had to repeatedly check my face expression for any inappropriate grins as the author went on and on with light tone of April, the female lead character. April sounded so silly sometimes that I couldn’t help liking her more and more as pages flipped by.

April is the typical unpopular girl who only has one friend in high school and a bad luck in which that only friend moved to another school making her officially unpopular and alone. She’s also ‘invisible’ which enough to explain just how tragic her high school experience is like. And her socially-awkward attitude just doesn’t help at all to somehow uncover her invisibility a bit. But April is never one for pessimistic. She tries a lot of thing to make things better and easier for her life. And that includes looking up the new students on social media just to make out the probability of her befriending them because it’s just no hope to make friends with her current classmates who know so much already about her amazingly awkward self. So these three ‘victims’ are her last hope to have at least a friend for the rest of school years.

Then we are introduced to Jonah, the male lead character, which makes me feel ten different shades of feeling throughout the book. Jonah as one of the new students turns out to be the most decent candidate to be April’s next best friend. In fact, he turns out to be more. April likes him from the first meet which is really not helping her in acting ‘normal’ in front of him. I laugh a lot reading their every moment that always painted by April’s comical action. The ‘blue drool’ scene totally cracked me up that I forget for a moment that this book is supposed to be depressing and sad. Jonah is all about charming boy. He is so sweet and charming to April which saying a lot that apparently April is not the only one with a crush inside her heart. It doesn’t take long until they begin dating and one sweet moment after another come barreling in to pages of chapters.

And then…

And then everything slowly begins to shift around 30% mark. Twist after twist coming to the frame and things change. Except that April and Jonah’s feeling remains untouched and even stronger. Jonah’s symptoms of Schizophrenia are getting worse day by day. When people around Jonah start to loosen their hold on him, it was only April who stands still holding both his hands tight on hers. I am half amazed and half frustrated on April’s unwavering determination to stay by Jonah’s side. It is one thing when someone you love so bad falls apart, but when they fall apart dragging you down with them it’s really such a complicated circumstance. I am amazed how fifteen years old April bravely facing the situation she is in; how her first reaction to the situation is to tighten her hold on Jonah than to run away. Yet I am frustrated that she starts to speak and act based on feeling than logic that she pushes people away, too. It’s almost feel like her love has shifted to obsession. Almost.

What this book is trying to tell us is that sometimes to save someone we love; we don’t always have to be on their sides. It’s understandable that April wants to stay loyal to Jonah but condition like Jonah’s requires more than just closed people’s support to heal. It’s so sad when April reaches her limit that she realizes just how many pages of her own life has been skipped when she dives into Jonah’s. Her frustration, her crushed feeling, it’s all portrayed very well through April’s ‘voice’ that I could actually feel them. I could feel the ache April feels about Jonah.

What I love the most is the details of Schizophrenia in this book. The character Jonah the author creates successfully delivers the emotion of a schizophrenic for readers to ‘see’. Ms. Scheier vividly describes its symptoms, how it affects not only to people who suffers it but also to people around them, all the way to the best kind of help a schizophrenic needed. And when Ms. Scheier shows us what it feels like to be a schizophrenic through April’s school project, I broke down to tears as I let my heart ached for Jonah and everyone who went through the same situation as his. I have never meet people with schizophrenia before but this book gives such a clear depiction about them that it gives me so much better understanding about this illness and how to treat people who suffer it.

The ending is undeniably sad yet something that I myself would definitely opt for this book if I was the author. Though honestly I wish there is another way to wrap up the story, I think it suits the topic of this book very well. I like to think that there’s a continuation of the story because I sense hope in April’s words in the closing scene.

Your Voice is All I Hear is a book that would make you feel a lot of feels from happy, sad, angry, frustration, hopeful, and breakdown. It would tell you a story about how at fifteen you could be everything not many people could. It would teach you important lessons on how to be socially fair to everyone with no exception. With engaging writing style, this book is recommended to those who want to read a book that could entertain and educate at the same time.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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