The Infinite Noise is a YA Romance about a boy named Caleb with the superpower of empathy who falls in love with an “emo” (his words, not mine) classmate named Adam while coming to terms with being a quote-unquote superhero. Romance isn’t usually my genre, but this book was based off of a podcast called “The Bright Sessions” that’s really special to me. So, any new content with those characters by that author becomes an automatic must-read for me
So I’ll start off with the positives. The romance? So sappy, and so cute. There were a bunch of tiny moments that were just written in a way that felt so warm and soft. Sometimes I feel like YA Romance can have kind of awkward PDA moments, but The Infinite Noise was just very tender and sweet.
I really liked how both the sappier and more quiet moments sounded so different based on whose point of view it was. Dual POV can end up sounding exactly the same with some authors, but Lauren’s really good at giving her writing personality through the syntax and diction (thanks AP Lit). You can tell she’s a skilled podcast writer just based off of how clear characterization comes through in her writing.
Speaking of the writing: the way Lauren wrote Caleb’s empathy ability was really cool! I was wondering how him just talking about it in the podcast would transfer to an internal narrative, but Lauren took it in stride and really made it work.
Anyone who hasn’t listened to “The Bright Sessions” A. Go listen to it right now, and B. You won’t understand this part but: It was SO refreshing to see Adam’s point of view. He definitely got the least screentime (speakertime?) in the podcast, and ended up kinda fading back to The BoyfriendTM. I really liked being able to hear how he describes school and his house and stuff.
I will say some things fell a little flat (which is true of literally any book, no hate on my girl Lauren). Adam’s character still felt bland to me. Like it seemed like 90% of his personality came from his depression and his other issue (see Safehouse II) and aside from that he was just like… the stereotypical nerd and that was it. He did have some personality going on, but it wasn’t as much as I expected. Maybe that’s just me being nitpicky since I love him so much.
I’ve seen criticisms that the bullying was unrealistic, like “people don’t just get shoved and called slurs in the hallways! That’s unrealistic!” I know from experience that that is exactly what happens but pop off I guess. I’ll leave that alone.
I want to say the plot was a little slow and flat, but it felt like pretty much every YA Romance book I’ve read (which is not many, to be fair). So I’m thinking that YA Romance just isn’t really my thing. But I really do appreciate the genre for just being light and happy.
All in all, I really liked The Infinite Noise. Lauren Shippen is a very talented writer, both of podcasts and novels. Most of the things I didn’t like about the book really just come from my personal preferences and relationship with the genre. Not my favorite book ever, but as a quick, mushy read it was great. I’m really excited for Lauren’s next book. I’m hoping that one leans more towards realistic fiction. But even if it doesn’t… I’m ready for more Damien content at all times no matter what it is.
Thanks for reading! And, as my girl Lauren says: Stay strange.