C.G. Drews's Reviews > Whisper to Me

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, contemporary, mental-illness, read-2016, young-adult

I went into this book as a rather reluctant fish with zero expectations. I CONFESS: The cover really just turned me off. This is totally because it's very similar to the The Beginning of Everything cover which is a book I monstrously disliked and this style of cover makes me think of fluffy summer romances with cotton candy getting stuck in various hairs and blah blah etc. OH WELL THEN, GOOD FIENDS, I WAS SO VERY WRONG. This book is incredible. It gave me 9 emotion. NINE WHOLE EMOTIONS!! (I'm such a Vulcan, btw, so this is um huge.) And I think it's one of the best mental illness books I've ever read in a long time.

It's not "perfect" bUT I'M GIVING IT 5-STARS BECAUSE LIFE IS SHORT AND THIS BOOK IS GOOD AND TOTALLY UNDERRATED AND I WANT EVERYONE AND THEIR PET FISH TO READ IT.

Where to even begin omg...

A list? Let's do a list. Genius idea.

L I K E S:

It's about mental illness, specifically "hearing voices."
The exact diagnosis isn't given. It's eluded that it could be bipolar or schizophrenia. BUT OMG IT WAS SO SO VERY REAL. The author's note says he briefly actually experienced hearing voices...and I think that really added a lot of relatability to the story because it felt HONEST and RAW and REAL. I am, obviously, not experienced with anything like this...so this is coming just from a reader who's a) read a lot about schizophrenia and b) has severe anxiety myself, so I think all the reasoning was pretty spot on. (Plus I've listened to IRL accounts of people who heard voices and this seems to match up pretty closely.) OKAY LOTS OF RAMBLING BUT THE POINT IS: I think the aspect of the voices was so well done.

Cass is just the BEST protagonist.
She's quiet. She thinks a lot and says the wrong things. She's really self-depreciating WHICH I LOVED (honest it's actually quite tricky to write about such heavy topics and still perfectly incorporate humour). Cass does a lot of ridiculous things and OMG AT THE END, ARGRGHR, she needed a hi five in the face with the ocean, basically. But the book was so brilliantly written that I felt inside her thought process so all of her actions (though, logically I knew they were insensible) actually felt reasonable. Cass was relatable and I so rooted for her.

• It has an epic focus on relationships.
From Cass and her kinda-scary-ex-Navy-dad (who honestly has untreated PTSD and is far too controlling...sure he has good intentions BUT HE REALLY NEEDED HELP. IT WAS A BIT SCARY). To Cass making friends with Paris, a girl from the mental hospital with bipolar. Paris was incredible, omg. She was "weird" (as everyone in the story kept saying) but she owned it?!? And she was so so kind. Like she'd swear her head off at you and then -- BOOM -- you need her? She's there for you. SQUEEE.

• And romance...cute little romance.
There's a boy (WHOSE NAME WE NEVER FIND OUT?????) renting the spare flat attached to Cass' house and ahhhhhhh he was adorable. This is probably the most awkward romance ever. And to be honest it doesn't have a whole lotta chemistry. But I really wanted it to work out for them. PLUS THEY ARE SO AWKWARD OMG.

• Did I mention it's written like a letter?
Like a helluva long email, my friends. Seriously this book is 500+ pages and it's an email to this boy Cass loves. BECAUSE SHE DID SOMETHING AND HE NEVER WANTS TO SEE HER AGAIN. Or so the beginning tells us. She wants him to meet her at the pier once he's finished reading this.

• Also, I might add, it's not a "tidy" ending and I appreciated that!
I give this book aaaall the points for being realistic. ALL THE POINTS, I TELL YOU. The ending is very open, be ye warned. (view spoiler) The story doesn't END when the pages do and I like that! Life is not a neat little box. And this book is so entirely realistic about that.

• THE WRITING IS SO SO GOOD.
Obviously. It's letter-style, but it also has lists and transcripts of conversations and some funky formatting occasionally #bestillmybeatingheart. AND OH. IT CAN BE SO VERY DRYLY FUNNY. I LIKE. For instance, the boy will say "hello" and she'll be like "hello" and inside she's yelling "WE'RE PRACTICALLY SHAKESPEARE HERE" and it's quite amusing.

• Also feeeeeelings and EMOTIONS.
I nearly cried. I definitely got goosebumps. I just loved the honest view of life with mental illness. I love how it balanced drugs and therapy (which therapy is something I rarely find properly discussed in books?). ALL THE CHARACTERS FELT SO REAL AND COMPLEX. I was endlessly caught up and just afdjsakldaj I loved it okay? Okay.


D I S L I K E S:

It was waaaay too freakishly long.
I mean, please. I've said this a gazillion times but a contemporary shouldn't be 500+ pages. IT DRAGGED. It sometimes felt very unfocused in plot direction. It seriously needed tightening.

• It uses **** to block out swearing.
I always find this rather tedious. I mean, who isn't inserting the swear word as they read anyway? I find it gives books this "excuse" to swear more but by saying they're not swearing at all. I SEE YOUR LIES, LITTLE BOOK. Plus it doesn't always block out the swearing, so I found the inconsistency made my eyeball twitch.



You might say I'm a "mild" fan. HAHAHHA JUST KIDDING, I FREAKING LOVED IT. I think what pleases me most is that I didn't know it'd be so amazing. So it's like someone giving me a cupcake and -- BOOYAHHH -- it actually has gooey chocolate insides. It is a dark and brutal story. The things the Voice tells Cass to do is excruciating and I wanted to cry with her several times. I love the character development and the message and the way it all felt so real.

Yup. I'm gonna go sit here in my emotions and shriek.
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Reading Progress

January 19, 2016 – Shelved
January 19, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 18, 2016 – Started Reading
June 18, 2016 –
page 107
20.0% "I didn't realise this was about schizophrenia. This is super brutal omg. I'm kind of crying for Cassie."
June 19, 2016 –
page 306
57.2% "This is so so so so good. WHICH IS TO SAY IT'S GOOD, BUT SO."
June 19, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star
June 19, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
June 19, 2016 – Shelved as: mental-illness
June 19, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
June 19, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
June 19, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Jenny, (new) - added it

Jenny, The Distracted Bee Love the title!!


message 2: by Bee (new) - added it

Bee Well now I feel dumb for skipping it on Netgalley. xDD


C.G. Drews @Bee: The cover/title are totally underwhelming I agreeeeeeee. IT'S SUCH A GOOD BOOK OMG.


message 4: by Jenny, (new) - added it

Jenny, The Distracted Bee I know! I wasn't being sarcastic about the title, it's awesome once you know what's going on! Cover is meh, but that's ok!


message 5: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Cait...your reviews are the bomb. Each and every one makes me smile!


Nikki Bergen I also loved it SO MUCH. Just a couple of my thoughts though...
1. I LOVE the cover
2.I thought it was very accurate and eye opening about mental illness
3. As much as I loved the book, I HATED the ending! One of the main points was to find out if he ended up forgiving her or not and we never do which frustrated me
4. It was incredibly long, but I read it insanely fast mostly because there's a lot of blank and half pages so I flew through it
5. It did annoy me a little that it blocked out the swearing because I didnt know which ones were being said BUT it was for a reason. She was writing the email and she blocked them out because they bother her because her dad swears at her. So when I found that out it didn't annoy me as much. It's a part of her and I love it.


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