Your Voice Is All I Hear

336p. Sourcebooks Fire. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492614418.
Gr 9 Up—Shy and insecure April is distraught when her best friend transfers to a new school; although she practices ways to start conversations with her peers, she finds it challenging to make lasting friendships. April is stunned when handsome new student Jonah flirts with her and rejects the advances of a more popular student. Jonah seems to hear noises audible only to him, yet April and his family accept his explanations until he becomes increasingly more paranoid and prone to violent outbursts, which results in inpatient psychiatric treatment. Reluctance shown by April and his family to admit that his behavior is psychotic is realistic and genuinely felt. Although there is no "happily ever after" ending for the two teens, there is hope that Jonah can learn to cope with schizophrenia. Jonah's paranoia, symptoms of schizophrenia, and thwarted attempts at treatment are raw yet sensitively depicted. Contemporary references to pop culture heighten the novel's immediacy, although a reference to "a list of phone numbers" culled by a new student is a miss. Markers of Jewish identity are sprinkled throughout the story; references to shopping for Hanukkah presents and lighting Sabbath candles, as well as mentions of Passover, will appeal to communities in need of books that feature religious diversity. Some teens may find the beginning sluggish, but patient readers will be drawn into the crisis between April and Jonah. A brief author's note mentions online resources for more information about schizophrenia.
VERDICT Recommended for larger collections in which books about mental illness are in demand.

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