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Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier……Spotlight & Review

9781492614418

Title: Your Voice is All I Hear

Author: Leah Scheier

Pubdate: September 1st, 2015

ISBN: 9781492614418

Tradepaper/$9.99 ● Ages 14+

 

“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 up and thrown away the key. And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.”

 

April won’t let Jonah go without a fight. He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?

 REVIEW

 I honestly am not sure how to start this review. I knew getting into this book that it dealt with mental illness, but what I wasn’t expecting was the depth at which it took me.

Mental illness is unfortunately something that is very easily overlooked and misunderstood by our society as a whole. It gets overshadowed by other diseases such as cancer, leukemia, or many other diseases that people see as treatable. I’m not saying those illnesses are any less important, but they aren’t viewed the same as mental illness is. This book really hits home in the fact that mental illness isn’t something anyone should be afraid to hide or be afraid to discuss with others. 

Leah Scheier does a superb job of giving a great light on this subject. And she does it in a setting where most people are more than likely to judge the person before trying to understand them.

April is a sophomore in high school and sort of a loner. She’s not picked on or anything by other students, but she doesn’t really fit into any of the crowds. She’s always had one best friend who is now going to a new school, so her sophomore year at high school will be more boring than usual with truly no-one to talk to.

Jonah is new to the school. He moved to the area after his best friend passed away earlier in the year. You can tell from the beginning, he’s like April in that he just wants to blend into the crowd and not really be noticed.

As their friendship/relationship progresses, April sees different changes in Jonah but doesn’t know what to make of it. It’s not until he really starts to have episodes where he isn’t making sense and is finally admitted to a psych ward that she starts to put things together.

Throughout the whole time that Jonah is admitted and is working on becoming “healthy” again – April doesn’t leave his side. Jonah goes through so much during his time there; different medications, different dosages, art therapy, talking to a therapist, etc. It’s not easy watching someone you love, not be themselves.  It’s difficult to slowly see the life in their eyes go blank. It’s hard to understand what is going on inside their head, when even they can’t explain it to you.

The part of the book that broke me was right before Jonah was admitted a second time. It really smacks you in the face when you see how easily someone can hide what they are really feeling inside. How easily we misinterpret a few words they said to us during a conversation. How a loved can go from seeming to be on the healthy path when in their reality, they are only sinking deeper and deeper.

I loved at the end of the book when April gave her history presentation to her class. How something so simple, opened up the eyes of not just peers, but anyone who will read this book. It gives you a new perspective on things. And the new doctor who treated Jonah the second time around really understood what it meant to heal and learn from this illness The treatment wasn’t to numb him with drugs; it was to help Jonah understand why his illness is able to take over and how he can fix. 

This is one book that will forever stick with me. I will recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading. It will open your eyes, one way or another.

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An Excerpt:

I KNOW MY WAY AROUND THE MENTAL HOSPITAL. I doubt most of the girls in my neighborhood could claim that, even though many of us lived just a few minutes from its leafy, sterile grounds, and some of us picnicked on the lawn outside its gate during summer break.

By the end of tenth grade, I knew Shady Grove Hospital better than I knew my school. I knew that the security guard’s name was Carla and that she’d worked at her depressing post since the place was built. I knew the quiet path behind the topiary garden where I could wait until visiting hours began and she let me in. I’d memorized the shape and color of his shadow behind the dark-red curtains, and I knew where I had to stand so he could see me from his eleventh-story window. From that distant spot, I could even guess how well the medicine was working for him that day; I could tell what kind of visit it would be by counting the paces of his shadow.

I had the place mapped out, his daily routine memorized, the doctors’ names and call schedule, every pointless detail carefully recorded in his special little book. He’d given me those notes as if they were classified secrets, the papers wrapped in strips of hospital linen sealed together with bubble gum, long wads of partially chewed Wrigley’s tied into a crisscrossed mesh. That tat- tered spiral notebook was crammed with data he’d gathered over months: patients’ names and histories, nurses’ phone numbers, the cleaning crew’s shift hours. I would never know how these bits of information came together for him or how he even found them out. But somewhere in these random nothings, he’d put together a story for me, a clue of how to get to him, a coded message that, for some reason, he believed only I could read. I was the one he trusted, the only one who had not betrayed him. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key.

And now, nearly three months after they’d taken him away, I was finally ready. I was going to march up to the security window, look into the tired guard’s blurry eyes, state my name and the name of the patient I was visiting, and hear the buzz and click of the locked gate sliding open. I was going to walk down the white- tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk, and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.

I was finally going to do it. I was going to betray him.

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AUTHOR BIO

Leah Scheier works as a pediatrician and pens stories of romance and adventure. Her first novel, Secret Letters, was published in June 2012 (Hyperion/Disney) and received a starred review from School Library Journal, as well as glowing reviews from Booklist, VOYA, and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Maryland. Learn more at leahscheier.com.

 

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