I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
on September 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mental Illness, YA Romance, Young Adult
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.Amazon •
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.
Mature-Content Rating: Violence, Language, Sexual Content, Trigger Warnings
“No one believes me when I tell them that Jonah was the best boyfriend in the world. They think I’m painting too rosy of a picture, considering what happened later. They insist that there must have been some signs, something wrong, some clue where this was headed. They want to hear symptoms. But I can only tell them how I felt with him.”
April just lost her only friend, Kristin, when she transferred to a private school. That’s a big deal for April who is a social disaster and always relied on Kris for social situations. Enter: Jonah, the new guy who breaks through the social barriers and has the gall to sit next to April instead of the campus princess. April’s character go though a major growth as she learns to survive high school without her best friend, fall in love, and ultimately face Jonah’s illness head-on.
Jonah’s character has a pain filled and semi-mysterious past, which comes out very slowly and I still think it was completely fleshed out enough. He’s an artist, a painter, which can kind of hide part of his condition as being a temperamental artist with a tragic past.
Kristin is April’s best friend and social compass. She’s important to the story as Jonah starts pulling away and April pulls away with him. Kristin doesn’t take up very much air time in the book, but she does have a major roll in showcasing how April is effected by Jonah.
Katie is Jonah’s little sister. She’s the single best side character in the book! There’s not very much of it, but the brother/sister interaction is cute and Katie also adds another factor to Jonah’s condition.
April doesn’t come off as a dumb bystander that couldn’t see the changes in her boyfriend: she does, but she wants to ignore the symptoms and refuses to believe that there’s anything wrong with Jonah. It was a good balance to the story and to the character. Jonah’s schizophrenia isn’t a typical teenage schizophrenia (teens are more likely to see hallucinations than have delusions), but it was well played out.
There’s a family! April has a mom who puts her foot down (even if she’s a bit strange), and Jonah has a loving mother and little sister; even though there’s a rift between him and his father. It’s nice having a mother that actually sees a problem with their daughter spending every weekend at mental ward and not just a free-spirit do-what-you-want parent. Jonah’s mother is typical, too (if not a bit hysterical, maybe the schiz is from her side of the family?).
The romance between the characters is hard to describe. On one hand it’s very sweet but as Jonah’s condition worsens he tended to get a little pushy. It’s really April’s dedication to Jonah and his trust in April that lets their relationship shine.
Overall, Your Voice Is All I Hear is a great book for teens to learn more about mental illnesses’ (not just schizophrenia) impact on family, friends, and communities.