Title: The Infinite Noise
Author: Lauren Shippen
My rating: 4/5 stars
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction, LGBTQ+
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Lauren Shippen’s The Infinite Noise is a stunning, original debut novel based on her wildly popular and award-winning podcast The Bright Sessions.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”
Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.
Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.
“What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?” (Vox on The Bright Sessions)
I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Teen!
This book, wow! The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen is a unique and diverse book—blending science fiction, romance, mental health rep, and LGBTQ+ rep.
I’ve been seeing this book frequently on Twitter and when I saw the synopsis, I was truly intrigued! When I found out my NetGalley request was approved, I dived into it right away!
But first things first. The Infinite Noise is based on the author’s audio drama podcast The Bright Sessions. This is really what intrigued me in the first place! This podcast is basically recorded sessions between Dr. Bright and her patients with supernatural abilities. I’ve already listened to a couple of episodes, and it was such a unique story. One of her patients is Caleb, and The Infinite Noise explores his story.
The writing style of this book was great! The story is told in alternating points of view between and Caleb and Adam, and for me the author did a great job in narrating the story in their perspectives.
The writing style captured what it felt like to be a teenager, what it felt like to struggle with a mental health illness, and what it felt like to be someone who’s going through a life-changing event and having abilities you can’t control. And of course, it also captured what it felt like to be someone discovering friendship and love. I really loved the simplicity of that.
I adored the characters! Caleb and Adam are just too precious for this world, and with every chapter, I slowly got to know more about them.
As I read, I realized that this book is more of a character-driven story. There are a lot of scenes involving Caleb’s sessions with Dr. Bright, scenes where there are soliloquies and just the characters processing their thoughts and emotions, scenes where the characters are just simply talking to others with little plot involved. That said, I really liked this setup. It allowed me as a reader to fully understand and connect with these characters and get attached to them and their journey.
As I mentioned above, The Infinite Noise seems more like a character-driven story, so I feel like there was not much plot involved. There is a plot, but it was the characters that really drove the story forward.
The climax took too long to build up and when it was finally there, I needed more answers and explanations. It left me a bit unsatisfied, but at the same time, I’m really curious and excited for the next book because maybe we’ll get to know more about this plot-related element!
I also loved the concept of Atypicals and I just really feel like we’ll get to know more about them in the next book! (Or in the podcast haha!)
Overall, this book was a great read and I can’t wait for its release on September 24, 2019!
I truly adored this book and I can’t wait for its second and third installments!
How about you guys? Have you heard about this book or the drama podcast The Bright Sessions? Come tell me below!