Based on her award-winning podcast, The Bright Sessions, Lauren Shippen tries her hand at book-writing with a story based on the world of Dr. Bright and the characters from the podcast. In Shippen’s debut novel, The Infinite Noise, the focus falls on two teens trying to navigate high school with the additions of love and supernatural powers.
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.
I had never heard of The Bright Sessions and this book was literally a “judging a book by its over” purchase (because let’s be honest: it’s gorgeous)! But I really enjoyed learning about Atypicals and the way Caleb’s empathy works.
This debut is YA, romance, and sci-fi all wrapped up in one 300+ page book! Both Caleb and Adam are dealing with issues and use each other to help balance out their emotions. Shippen also places focus on self-harm, depression, and other mental health issues and weaves them well into the story.
The only thing that I would critique is that I wish there was more discussion about the AM and other Atypicals in the world, but it maybe because it’s either covered in the podcast or maybe the author is saving it for a different novel? Either way, the focus was mainly on the romance and the sci-fi was kind of in the background.
This book was engaging and 100% binge-worthy! I will definitely be reading more of Shippen’s works (including the second book in this series set to come out) and now really want to check out the podcast that started it all!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!