FICTION

The Infinite Noise: A Bright Sessions Novel

Tor Teen. (Bright Sessions: Bk. 1). Sept. 2019. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250297518.
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Gr 7 Up–A spin-off of the popular podcast The Bright Sessions, this touching and emotional novel expands on the story of Dr. Bright’s youngest patient, 16-year-old Caleb. High school used to be easy—Caleb was a pretty good student and a star football player. But it got a lot harder when he learned he’s an Atypical with an enhanced ability to sense and experience the emotions of those around him. It sounds great to be a superhero, but Caleb’s power isn’t so super. His trouble controlling negative emotions like anger and fear have led to fights and an inability to concentrate in class. Luckily, he has Dr. Bright, a therapist who works with Atypicals. She encourages Caleb to befriend Adam, a classmate whose emotions fit in with Caleb’s rather than overwhelming them. Alternating between Caleb’s and Adam’s points of view, the narrative approaches mental health, romance, and emotion with vivid language and strong voices. Though Shippen incorporates fantastical elements, she focuses on the inner lives of her characters, giving only the necessary world-building, making this an ideal crossover book to move readers between realistic romance and speculative fiction. Fans of the podcast will revel in this closer look at the lives of the characters, and readers new to the franchise will drop into this world without missing a beat. 
VERDICT Give this to fans of the podcast, as well as readers who enjoy Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Rainbow Rowell’s work, and Welcome to Night Vale. A first purchase for libraries that can’t keep romance or superpower books on the shelves

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