The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen (Sharade’s review)

The Infinite Noise is a spin-off novel of the audiodrama The Bright Sessions, also written and produced by Lauren Shippen. If you haven’t heard about The Bright Sessions before, it probably means you don’t spend enough time around Travis.

The Bright Sessions is about a therapist who specialises in a very unique clientele: young people with special abilities. It has been blurbed as, “What if the x-men went to therapy”, and it’s a pretty spot-on description. Each episode focuses on a patient (and then the show opens up to a larger, more complex plot), and The Infinite Noise is a story about one of Dr Bright’s patients, Caleb.

Caleb is an empath: he can feel what the people around him are feeling. It’s a very confusing and overwhelming “superpower”, especially for a teenager. In an attempt to better channel and control his abilities, and on the recommendation of his therapist, he befriends Adam, a lonely, depressed, brilliant classmate.

Adam and Caleb’s friendship-to-romance journey is so sweet to follow. It plays on the nerd/jock pairing trope, but both characters are much more fleshed-out and complex. Adam has trouble understanding why Caleb, a football player, is interested in befriending him. There are misunderstandings, communication hiccups, and the necessary awkwardness of teenage interactions – plus Caleb is hiding his kinda-sorta superpower – but all in all, it’s a soft and heartwarming story.

We alternate between the two leads, and it’s often amusing to see how the same scene is perceived by each of them. Caleb, despite his power, is oblivious to Adam’s crush for him for a long time, which can lead to many “awww you idiot” moments.

There’s also a pretty solid secondary cast of characters. Both characters’ parents are particularly well-written, with all their worries and expectations. Other atypicals appear at one point; we don’t really need context, but listening to The Bright Sessions afterwards gave me a better understanding of their backstories. It was fun to have Dr Bright front and center in the audiodrama, when she’s very much in the background of Caleb and Adam’s story.

The audiobook is truly a treat, if you want to pick up the book, I’d recommend you try it through that medium, if possible. Briggon Snow, a TBS voice actor, returns as Caleb and does a remarkable job conveying the frustration and uncertainties the character goes through.

I was enchanted with The Infinite Noise. Many thanks to Travis for his recommendation 🙂

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