Title: Your Voice is All I Hear
Author: Leah Scheier
Pubdate: September 1st, 2015
Tradepaper/$9.99 ● Ages 14+
“I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key. And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.”
April won't let Jonah go without a fight. He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?
Leah Scheierworks as a pediatrician and pens stories of romance and adventure. Her first novel, Secret Letters, was published in June 2012 (Hyperion/Disney) and received a starred review from School Library Journal, as well as glowing reviews from Booklist, VOYA, and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Maryland. Learn more at leahscheier.com.
1) Education is power, and not just in the general sense. If you really want to help Jonah, the first thing you need to do is learn about his illness. Read the articles your friend has printed out for you. Head to the library, check out reputable websites and blogs. I know that you're afraid that your discoveries will depress you. Schizophrenia is a frightening diagnosis! But there's nothing scarier than ignorance and helplessness. So become informed. Jonah can't advocate for himself while he's in the hospital. He needs you to speak for him, to ask the questions he can't. There's more than one approach to the treatment of schizophrenia; speak to patients who have succeeded, find out what worked for them, then try to explore these options with his doctors. The more you educate yourself about an illness, the more power you will have.
2) Jonah loves you. That isn't a piece of advice; it's just something I think you need to hear. Because time is going to pass, and that feeling is going to get lost. No one is going to remind you that he cares, because it isn't their love to declare. And Jonah won't be able to tell you, even when he wants to. There are going to be a lot of voices, both real and imagined, between you two. They will try to drown out any memory of your time together. So through it all, I want you to remember that the boy you fell for is still there, and he's fighting to come back to you.
3) Don't define yourself by this relationship, or any relationship. Your greatest strengths are loyalty and passion, but these can eventually become twisted—they can darken into obsession and blindness. You needn't abandon Jonah. But don't lose yourself while you're taking care of him. Recognize that you will need to take a breather, every once in a while, to focus on your own life. That isn't selfishness, it's just survival. Before he got sick, Jonah encouraged you to express yourself through music; he was proud that you wrote song lyrics in your spare time. He would never want you to neglect your talents because of him. It's so hard to find the right balance. When a loved one becomes ill, everyone shares in that illness. While you're struggling to keep it together, try to stay connected to your support system-- your mom, your best friend, your teacher. They all want to help you, if you'll just let them in.
Leah Scheier works as a pediatrician and pens stories of romance and adventure. Her first novel, Secret Letters, was published in June 2012 (Hyperion/Disney) and received a starred review from School Library Journal, as
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