Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: e-ARC
Source: NetGalley
Rating:

Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble

A remarkable story of strange beauty and self-discovery from Printz Award winner Nick Lake

Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 2 stars! Sadly, I feel like the synopsis was a bit misleading and the plot of the story was a lot more complicated than a girl finding herself and writing an apology letter to a guy whose heart she broke. I can’t deny that certain aspects of this novel held great readability potential since I did read it all in one sitting, but after that conclusion, I’m left with a very bitter aftertaste. I’m sure people will enjoy this a lot more than I did–as already proven by the amount of 4 & 5-star ratings on Goodreads–but had I known the particulars of this book prior to going in, I don’t think I would have requested it at all…no matter how pretty the cover is.

Review: I always feel super crappy weighing in on books that I didn’t enjoy because I know it’s going to be loaded down with more things that I disliked than liked, so I’m going to keep this relatively brief. First, let me just put this potentially spoilery thing out there: I don’t enjoy murder-mystery type books. I just don’t. The mystery and suspense consume me and put simply, I like instant gratification and I really hate waiting for long periods of time to find answers. I. WILL. CHEAT. I will spoil myself and that always ruins the climax and that moment of OMFGoodness, WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING?! AHHH! I totally ruin it. And that makes me sad. Which then affects my rating because bummer. So, had I known going into this book that it held a major plot thread revolving around a serial killer and trying to catch him (her?), I would have been out immediately. I never even would’ve requested it. Because I know–I know–it wouldn’t have been my thing. Annoyed reader equates to poor rating. But alas, when this particular plot thread was introduced, I was already invested so I had to freaking wait it out, right? Wrong, I tried to cheat, but after much–MUCH!–searching, I saw nothing linking to the big reveal of the killer, so I was all, Damn, I guess I actually have to suffer like the masses and find out when I’m supposed to find out and not before! Naturally, I was displeased. But I was also intrigued. Because Cassie had some weird stuff happening in her life that I was curious about, and then there was the whole finding out how/when/where/why she broke the guy’s heart, and so I was invested. Then the more you read, the more threads keep showing up and then they start unraveling, and I don’t know, it was a clusterfuck of epic proportions, but I just kept poring over the pages trying to connect the dots and solve the mystery before the book gave me the goods, and I just couldn’t stop. See, there’s that obsessive compulsive consumption thing again. I needed answers. Which is where my very heated opinion about the ending (very physically upset if my bashed pillow has any say in the matter) comes into play because View Spoiler »SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT!!! WE NEVER FIND OUT ANYTHING! NOTHING! Okay, so that’s a bit of a lie, we do find out some things. But not the important things that I cared about! I needed ALL OF THE ANSWERS, not just the ones the author picked and chose! Still very spoilery, but this whole book was an apology letter and we never even get his response. She sends the email (the book that we just read) and the “send” is literally the end of the book. My brain wanted to explode. Furthermore, we don’t know what happened to Paris which was a major plot issue for me. There are guesses and suggestions and theories from the characters, but nothing concrete for me to wrap my head around. It’s just cruel. « Hide Spoiler I put all my brain power and time into reading this book, investing myself into these characters, into their lives, and I feel like I have nada to show for it. So, I’m frustrated and annoyed. All that time and energy and for what purpose? An open ending so that I can form my own ideas about where these characters ended up? Yeah, not amused. Furthermore, and to piggyback a bit off of not finding out certain things, it proved to be extra frustrating because the pacing dragged a bit. For so much of the story, it felt like we were constantly chasing our tail, going somewhere but kind of not going anywhere at all, simultaneously.

Also, there’s my small issue of not particularly feeling the romance in this novel. She’s supposed to be writing this letter to a guy she loves whose heart she supposedly broke, but their interactions during her memories felt so brief and stilted, not all-consuming or even smoldering warm. I didn’t feel the heat. I didn’t connect to the intensity that they apparently must have shared for her to still love him and for her to be able to break his heart. Plus, she kind of treated him like crap, so I didn’t see what he would see in her. I don’t know, maybe other readers picked up on something I missed completely.

But it wasn’t all bad because I read the whole book, right? Like I mentioned earlier, there was something about this book that I can’t put my finger on, but I just couldn’t put it down. I read it all at once, even staying up way later than I normally do just so I could finish it. (Though, I stewed for a couple more hours after because, again, that ending was AWFUL.) There were times that I really enjoyed the book even, especially the complexity of Cassie’s particular struggle. It made me feel like I was gaining some knowledge about people who have to live with similar issues (and/or some insight to the inner workings of their minds), and the different ways there are for people to cope with it. I also like how Lake spent time filling the readers in on what was happening and why in regards to treatment approaches and that there were some incredibly useful tools and messages interwoven in the story pertaining to Cassie’s illness. Additionally, I really liked Paris and Julie, two secondary characters; so there’s that, too.

Overall, I just wish things were different. I wish I would have known exactly what kind of story I was setting myself up with prior to reading. I wish I wouldn’t have let that pretty cover and synopsis make me go in blind with certain expectations. Mostly, I really wish I were given all the answers that my heart desired so that I’d be more satisfied with this book, but the author doesn’t write for just me, so *shrugs* not much I can do about that matter.

To summarize this whole review: This book is definitely not a “me” book, but I honestly feel like others will enjoy it.

Also, I guess I should apologize because for shame to my idea of a “relatively brief” review, but what’s a wordy girl to do?

Teaser Quote: 

I was shining. Light was blazing from every pore. My eyes were closed, and the strip lights were turning the inside of my eyelids red, everything red. That’s your color, you know, the one I see and feel when I think of you. Emotions are always associated with colors, aren’t they? Green with envy. Well, when you are in my head you are always there with red: sunlight, warmth, heat. People are green with envy. Yellow with cowardice. I am red with you.
~quote taken from the eARC of Whisper to Me at 77%

Book Rating Breakdown
Cover
Writing
Characters
Plot
Pacing
Swoons
General Book Feels
Overall:

Rec It? I can’t, no. Or rather, I can’t recommend Whisper to Me with how it ends in the advanced reader copy. Given a revised ending and other editing, that’s a whole separate matter, and something I’d have to reconsider.

Basically, I feel like this will appeal to readers that are already fans of his work and familiar with his writing style, but it won’t be for everyone, especially considering how the ending was resolved. I can’t help but to think that I won’t be the only reader upset with that outcome (or lack of one, in all actuality). I feel like this novel had potential and had Lake chose to handle things differently, it could have possibly resonated with me more, especially if other areas of the plot were given better clarity and more focus.

♥ A very special thanks to Bloomsbury Childrens USA and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.

*Disclaimer: An eARC of these title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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