Lauren Shippen’s The Infinite Noise is a stunning, original debut novel based on her wildly popular and award-winning podcast The Bright Sessions.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”
Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.
Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.
“What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?” (Vox on The Bright Sessions)
This was such a beautiful book about two soft boys with a lot messy feelings falling in love, but with a superpower twist. LOVE IT. Always here for queer people with superpowers. I wholly adore Adam and Caleb with all my heart.
The Infinite Noise is a book about Caleb and Adam. Caleb has been a huge blob of teen angst ever since he started feeling the emotions of those around him. After getting into a fight at school, he starts seeing a therapist, Dr. Bright. She tells him he’s an Atypical. Someone with special abilities. She suggests trying to befriend the one person that seems to calm the chaos inside: Adam. Adam is very good at hiding how sad and lonely he really is, working hard to get good grades to keep his parents happy. But Caleb sees right through him and the two start a tentative friendship that soon grows into something a lot more.
These two boys are both so soft and they deserve warm blankets and hugs and cake. I just wanted to protect both of them, okay? I loved the supernatural twist to the story and how it explored empathy to a somewhat extreme degree. Caring about others, allowing their emotions in, is so overwhelming and I love how that was done in this book. But it also showed how two people can lift each other up, share the burden. And Adam and Caleb did that for each other and it was so sweet and beautiful.
I do think maybe it could have explored Adam’s mental health more? Because there was so much left unsaid or just skipped over, it felt like. But what’s there is still such good rep, so I can’t really complain?? I just want more okay?
All in all, this is a beautiful book that totally stole my heart. It’s soft, but with sharp edges that stab you in the feels occasionally. Rude.
Have you read this book yet? Or are you looking forward to it? (you should) Tell me in the comments.