Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Whisper To Me By Nick Lake

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is May 3, 2016.

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. 

"If someone has cancer, they're brave and fighting. If someone is having problems with their mind, that person is only ever struggling." 

This book is so incredibly different from what the premise suggests. I thought I was getting a simple book about a romance where the main character does something she needs to apologize for and . . well, that was about the extent of my expectations. Yes, there is a budding romance (no insta-love, THANK GOODNESS!) and yes the book was basically one long letter to this boy, a plea for forgiveness and a girl trying her best to explain the sequence of events that led to their breakup. But there was also a murder mystery and talk about PTSD and a dad with anger problems and, oh yeah, mental illness! Crazy, right?

So the main character, Cassandra, makes a very startling discovery on the beach one day and this discovery leads to a murder mystery, as well as Cassie's unraveling. After the discovery, Cassie starts hearing voices. These voices are mean and horrible and say disgusting things to her. They make threats and yell and Cassie starts coming apart. Cassie’s dad soon finds out, has her hospitalized and she gets out way too quickly, makes a friend who was in the hospital too, meets the boy who is renting the apartment above the house she shares with her dad, and she struggles on a daily basis with the voice in her head.

The way Cassie deals with the voices and all of the events that follow are compelling and emotional and I just couldn't look away, but I wanted to! Yes, I wanted desperately to look away from Cassie's heartbreak and her mental instability because it was all just so much. That was part of the beauty of this book. Nick Lake writes this amazing account of one girl's struggle to have a life and friends, despite this voice telling her that she doesn't deserve any of it. Cassie was so incredibly brave and REAL. Oh, and she adored books which made me love her even more.

There is also a whole mystery of what happened to Cassie’s mom and when Cassie reveals what happened, it’s heartbreaking for sure. Cassie's mom died three years earlier and that's all we know about it at first. It takes a while for the author to reveal what happened, mainly because it takes a long time for Cassie to admit what happened at all. I was torn about Cassie’s dad: I was torn between hating him and feeling sorry for him. He was a Navy SEAL and as Cassie explains, he has anger issues because of that (that's where the PTSD comes in) and because of what happened to her mom. He obviously loves Cassie. He grounds her when she sneaks out, he gets her help when he realizes she is hearing things, he tries to reach out to her when she gets home from the hospital. But then he also explodes at her for almost no reason and I hated the way he insinuated the missing women got what they deserved because they were sex workers and how he told Cassie not to dress so provocatively because of a killer being on the loose. He wasn’t absent, but he wasn’t really the best father either. But he was there and that counts for something and it was easy to see that he was struggling as much as Cassie. Even though there were times he acted like a complete jerk, I still thought he loved his daughter 1000% and he just wanted to protect her. 

That brings us to the guy. The entire book is told in a mixture of first person and second person POV. She talks to the guy a lot, saying “you this” and “you that” because this is a letter to him. I don’t even know if we found out the name of the guy because of that. I think she mentioned his name once and it might have been Jude, but I am not 100% sure. Their relationship was awkward and also kind of sweet. He was a great guy who obviously was attracted to Cassie, but she was stuck in her own head (literally) so she was oblivious. I loved that there was no insta-love. There was this slow burn friendship turned romance. He helped her and helped her friend and he cared. There was a lot of chemistry, but all the secrets Cassie was keeping was keeping them apart. That was annoying. 

I won’t give too much away about the mental illness aspect of it, but I thought the way Cassie tried to take control was really brave and I got why she went that route. I don’t agree with the fact that she lied to her doctor and her dad. She just insisted on doing everything all by herself and she pushed everyone away. Even though there was some romance in this book, it did NOT overshadow everything else. This book was still primarily about Cassie and her mental illness and it was about reconnecting with her dad and trying to come to terms with what happened to her mom.

No spoilers, but this ending was a little open ended. Some people may get annoyed by this, but I thought the ending suited the book. It was completely open to interpretation and a few of the unresolved issues were a part of Cassie's whole "learn to deal that sometimes crappy things just happen" thing. 

The bottom line is that this book was brilliant and compelling and engrossing and yes, it totally made me cry. There was one scene between Cassie and her dad that had me bawling like a baby. Okay, just WRITING about that scene just now made me tear up. READ THIS BOOK!

Would I recommend this book? HELL TO THE YES!

16 comments :

  1. Wow. Sounds so interesting! And your description doesn't match the book blurb at all. I wonder why they didn't mention the mental illness. I'm adding this one to my list. Great review.

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    1. Kate, I KNOW! The actual storyline was way more interesting than what the blurb says. I hope you love it!

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  2. I'm so glad I requested it! Hopefully the answer will be yes, and Imma be able to recommend it myself - if I enjoy it. Wonderful review!!

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    1. Thanks Lola! I kind of requested it on a whim too, but now I am so glad I did. I hope you love it as well!

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  3. Ok well the blurb would have never sold me on the book but your review totally did!!! Sounds super interesting and I feel like I have to know what happened. Great review!!

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    1. Thanks Grace! This was one of those times when the premise sounded just okay, but I had the urge to request it. I am so glad I did because it ended up being way better than I thought it would be.

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  4. Ahhhh!!! Okay, NOW I'm officially excited for this book!!!! :)

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    1. Yay! I just know you'll love it, Lisa!

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  5. Oooo interesting! I'm totally drawn to the way it's written - first and second person POV. Gonna have to get a copy of this.

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    1. Christy, oh goodie! I know you will love it! The narration was completely unique and it was done so well.

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  6. This sounds awesome!! I actually didn't know much about it either, before I read this review. I do have an ARC but I haven't seen many reviews of it, which is strange. But I'm always drawn to books with mental illness, and a murder mystery sounds great as well!

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    1. Loony Literate, I really think you will love this one. I think this one is pretty under the radar. I haven't seen many reviews of it either. I hope you enjoy it.

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  7. I have seen this one around, but never really looked at the synopsis for some reason. Wow! It sounds like it has a bit of everything all wrapped into it. The mystery aspect has me really intrigued. Definitely one I will add to the TBR! <3

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    1. Candid Cover, that is great to hear! I am sure you will love it.

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  8. Yesss, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Cynthia! The mystery and mental illness aspects definitely appeal to me and it sounds like it was done really well, despite the confusing tense in some places.

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    1. Jeann, oh yes I loved this one way more than I even thought I was going to. I am so glad I requested it!

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