The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen (336 pages)

A Vaguely Fantastical Search for Acceptance
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The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen (336 pages)

 In The Infinite Noise, On the Surface, Caleb Michaels Has it All

Caleb has what many teenagers seek: good looks, relative popularity, and a spot on the varsity football team. But when Caleb begins to experience extreme emotions, none of those advantages seem to matter anymore. After a violent outburst at school, Caleb starts his sessions with his therapist, Dr. Bright, and learns something shocking: Caleb is an Atypical. No, Caleb isn’t simply different from his peers; he has the ability to literally feel the emotions of those around him. Finally, Caleb can understand why his emotions haven’t felt like his own these past few months. His therapist suggests finding connections that help calm his emotions and Caleb immediately thinks of Adam.

Adam has emotional surges of his own but Caleb finds that these emotions help him focus. When he focuses on Adam’s emotions, he can block out others around him. As Caleb and Adam grow closer, Caleb feels the pressure to tell Adam about his ability, something Dr. Bright has warned Caleb against. Just as Caleb begins to really trust and care for Adam, he unearths some shocking information. 

A Perfect Blend of Friendship and Fantasy

As a reader, I typically gravitate toward fantasy and sci-fi. I not only find these genres entertaining but they also help distract from any stresses in my own life. What I really enjoyed about The Infinite Noise is its ability to blend realistic fiction with just a hint of fantasy. While Caleb’s abilities are definitely beyond the bounds of even the strongest empathy, this novel isn’t really focused on its fantastical side. The heart of the story is really the relationship that grows between Adam and Caleb and the challenges that they face together. 

The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars

I found this story truly heartwarming. Many YA protagonists are on the fringes of the social scene but Caleb is widely popular and liked by his peers. But rather than spending time focused on his social victories, this story shows that even the most outwardly confident people can face challenges beneath that facade. Caleb’s struggle to come to terms with his ability along with the desperate desire to trust those around him make for a story that’s hard to put down.

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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.

Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table


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