28 Apr 2016



Author: Nick Lake
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars


A remarkable story of strange beauty and self-discovery from Printz Award winner Nick Lake.

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.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was an emotional read for me. I always have a hard time reading about mental illness and characters with mental illness. I think Lake did this justice and really just created a wonderful portrayal of everything that goes along with dealing with a mental illness: the wanting to get better, the not doing everything you're supposed to, the lies you tell because you're a little ashamed. I think it was all done wonderfully.

I really liked Cassie, although I feel like the Cassie we saw was a heavily edited Cassie. I liked that she grew as a person throughout this story. I also really liked that she learned how to take care of herself too. I think the positive portrayal of therapy and medication was the best part and I liked that Cassie even admitted that it was good for her. The revelation at the end -- the telling what is happening to you so people understand and can better help you -- was everything I could have wanted from this novel. I liked seeing the world through Cassie's filtered and unfiltered point of view.

However, man was this a heavy novel to take in. Not only was it in stream of consciousness (which I have a super hard time with), it was also a letter. Much like IVORY & BONE by Julie Eshbaugh, it was told in first person but also second person. We were the boy Cassie was apologizing to, which immediately threw us into the story but also distanced us from it because we didn't have the emotional attachment that this boy would have while reading the letter from the beginning. I, personally, didn't get the emotional attachment until the very end (like at 91%). This made it really hard for me to connect with the story at the beginning, but I did like that there was no mention of the boy's name so we were totally immersed in the story and could really BE our character. 

I thought the female friendships in this one were great. Everyone knew Paris's profession and NONE of them shamed her for it (except Cassie's dad). I liked that they saw Paris for what she was: the bright spot in their lives. I also really liked Julie. I thought she was a friend that Cassie could really use because she was fun, daring, and still relatively down to earth. I think she really complimented both Paris and Cassie in that sense. I would have liked more Julie, is what I am saying. But I love love love the inclusion of female friendships and that these friendships were about every aspect of their lives, not just romance. Sure, they talked about that too, but Paris was there for Cassie when she had a major breakthrough in her recovery! That is SO important to have in YA stories and in real life as well.

One of the best (and hardest) parts was that it was very long with one natural break, which would make this a hard one to not read all at one time. I was lucky enough to read this at 1am so I could finish it in one go, which I think made it really worked. But I would say you have to read AT LEAST the entire first part before taking a break or else you lose that connection to Cassie and her story. WHISPER TO ME felt like it was being typed up as I read it and that is exactly how it was supposed to be. A letter, a confession, a "I'm sorry" all rolled into one and it totally worked, but I am mentally exhausted after finishing it.

I really enjoyed this one. I liked the positive portrayal of therapy and medication. I really felt for Cassie and thought she was a great main character. I really felt the relationship in this one between her and the boy and the friendships in this one were great. I did have a bit of a hard time because of stream of consciousness, but that's on me not the book itself. Lake really outdid himself with this one and I highly recommend picking it up.


  1. I have never encountered of a book with a 2nd pov narration so even though I'm not into books about mental illness, I might give this book a try.

    -Bea @ beatricelearnstoread.wordpress.com

  2. Ohhh, now I am very keen to try this!! :D I have an ARC and I hadn't heard anything about it so I was a bit dubious, right? But this sounds really good...and I'm particularly excited about positive portrayals of medication and female friendships. :') The letter thing I'm a little worried about. But, eh, Perks of Being a Wallflowers is one of my most FAVOURITE books in the history of ever and that is done in letters. So hopefully I'll like this one too. :D

  3. This sounds like an amazing book! I've only heard a little about it, so when I first read raving reviews, I was a little hesitant. Now I really want to give it a go! I think the cover is so pretty, and the story sounds emotional, and like something I will love. It sounds addicting though, so I'll have to make sure I don't start it really late! Did you find it emotional? I've heard a few other people say they cried, which makes me kind of worried. Great review! ♥

    Denise | The Bibliolater

  4. This one sounds like a book which plays very heavy on the heart but is still worthwhile reading because of how well it handles mental illness. I think before I picked up this one I'm gonna have to be ready for the emotional punch.


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