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June 10, 2020
Empathy is Hard
by Page Turner

Amazon.com: The Infinite Noise: A Bright Sessions Novel (The ...

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

Summary

Getting through high school is no easy feat for anyone – Caleb knows. He may know better than anyone else since he’s an Atypical with empathy so extreme that he literally feels others’ emotions. It’s all so overwhelming, except when he’s with Adam, whose emotions steady him through all the chaos. But Caleb is human, just like everyone else, and dealing with this ability isn’t going to be easy.

Review

I absolutely loved this book. For starters, the writing is fantastic. It feels like something a high schooler would have written – in the emotions and language, not that the writing is high school-level. (There is quite a bit of swearing, though, so make of that what you will.) I also loved the subversion of the “big dumb football player” trope. Caleb is intelligent in so many ways that aren’t just school-related. The more he manages to get his empathy under control, the more that becomes apparent.

All that aside, two things really made me fall in love with The Infinite Noise – the progression of Caleb and Adam’s relationship and the circumstances of the ending. I think a lot of readers can agree that some fictional relationships feel forced or rushed. The characters fall in love and get together too fast, and then their S/O can do no wrong until it’s relevant for plot drama. This wasn’t one of those cases. It takes Caleb and Adam a long time to realize and come to terms with their feelings, and even then they don’t jump into a relationship immediately. When they do it’s not perfect. Both of them have their own problems and are complicated people when they’re not together, and that doesn’t just vanish when they are. It felt very realistic to me. The ending really was the icing on the cake. The problems that they have throughout the story haven’t been solved. Being issues with mental health, they may never really be fixed. The message of this book I find to be one of learning to cope and allowing yourself to accept help and support from others.

Yours in all types of love and literature, Page.

It’s Pride month! Send any LGBTQIA+ book recommendations you have to me (@page.turner.omnibus) on Instagram!

Content warnings: swearing, mentions of self-harm

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