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?
I have always been a sucker for books that battle the stigmatisms surrounding mental illnesses. So when this one crossed my path, I knew that I had to get my eager hands on it. Your Voice is All I Hear is probably one of the best books that I picked up in 2015.
Your Voice is All I Hear is all about the relationship between April and Jonah. From the very beginning, I was drawn into this book by the characters. April was shy and soft spoken, and when Jonah comes into her school as a new student, she thinks she has no chance. But instead of looking at the prettiest girls in the class, he looks right to April and outright calls her pretty on the first day in front of everybody. This inevitably leads to their coming together in an official boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, and a really cute one at that.
And next thing we know, Jonah’s in a mental hospital.
The most painful part of this book (and there was a lot of pain) was when her mother told April to give up on Jonah, because she deserved better. I feel like this happens all too much. Jonah was a nice, great boy, but because he has a mental illness people automatically think lowly of him and accuse him of being “crazy.” I wanted nothing more than to shout at the mother that though mental illness can be hard to deal with, it is still none other than a sickness. And there are cures, and ways to deal with it. April stayed by Jonah’s side faithfully throughout the book, and it was because of this that I felt a great deal of respect toward the main character. Through thick and thin, she was with him.
I would be lying if I said that this book wasn’t painful to read. It was emotional and brutal - and yet, honest. These are issues that need to be addressed, whether people want to or not. It’s a book that you look back and you remember, definitely not the kind that you finish, set down, and forget about.
The only reason I don’t give Your Voice is All I Hear five stars - I sometimes felt that the pacing was somewhat off. I felt like Jonah’s condition went from critical for one hundred pages, to suddenly stable and acting one hundred percent normal. But with the whole book put into consideration, it was hardly a problem.
I would say that Your Voice is All I Hear is for a bit of an older audience just because it does get scary and upsetting at times. But there are obvious positive messages and role models. A must read for sure!
So next time you’re in your local bookstore, make sure you look for Your Voice is All I Hear!