Nerds and Beyond was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of Lauren Shippen‘s debut YA novel The Infinite Noise, which will be released September 24, 2019.
I found it difficult to put the book down once I started to read it. Have you ever read a book where everything around you gets blurry, and all you can focus on are the words on the page in front of you, and before you know it hours have passed but it feels like seconds? That is how I felt reading this.
Shippen is the creator and head writer of the podcast The Bright Sessions, off which this novel is based. The Infinite Noise is the first novel in what will be a trilogy introducing and exploring different characters from the podcast, where the second novel will be about the antagonist Damien, and the third will be about a dreamwalker named Rose.
Shippen also has a new podcast, The AM Archives, which picks up where The Bright Sessions left off.
Victo Ngai did the beautiful cover art for The Infinite Noise, which was designed by Esther Kim, and it reveals more information about the story than you realize before reading.
Here it is! My first novel THE INFINITE NOISE comes out September 24th, 2019 from @torteen. This stunning cover is by the one and only @victongai. I can't wait for you all to fall in love with this love story. Pre-order available now wherever you get your books! pic.twitter.com/fPcP3PKjLH
— Lauren Shippen (@laurenshippen) February 28, 2019
I’m keeping this review a bit vague, because I want to keep you unspoiled. I also want to mention if you have not yet listened to the podcast, that’s ok — you will not be lost in this story.
This novel and its two main characters were incredibly relatable; there were moments I had tears because I could see myself in them. The first character we meet is Caleb Michaels, a high school football player that gets into trouble which results in him having to go to therapy. And this is where he meets therapist Dr. Bright. All of Dr. Bright’s patients are “atypical,” including Caleb, who soon learns he is an empath. This means he has the ability to physically and mentally feel the emotional state of those around him.
Could you imagine feeling not only your own emotions but everyone’s emotions, all while trying to navigate high school? I struggled enough to understand my own feelings at that time in my life, without having to be bombarded by everyone else’s cluster of feelings.
During Caleb’s appointments, Dr. Bright helps him work through experiencing everyone’s emotions, how to focus, and how to distinguish which are uniquely his own. And through this, we meet Adam Hayes. He is smart, somewhat introverted, and also has depression. When Caleb feels Adam’s emotions, he becomes drawn to him, which is something that Dr. Bright gets him to explore.
As the story progresses and they spend more time together and get closer, Adam becomes an anchor. Through their relationship and as sparks fly, both characters develop a deep connection with one another. Love.
The Infinite Noise is a beautiful multi-layered YA coming-of-age story. The novel explores the critical topics of self-esteem, bullying, mental health, and sexuality. Through the steady character development of both Caleb and Adam, they become extremely relatable. I appreciate that each chapter mentions one of the characters’ names, so you know whose point of view it is. Also, Shippen’s use of music throughout the story allowed me to listen and better understand the emotions in the scenes.
Please note: There is a brief mention in the story of self-harm that could be triggering to some.
The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen will be available September 24, 2019, and is available for pre-order here.