Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

Chalenge 21 ~ “A book from the Goodreads recommendations page.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

From the very first page, I knew this was going to be a very unique read – how many young adult books have you read that start with the discovery of a severed foot? However, not only was Whisper to Me different, it was a shining star in the world of young adult literature. Throughout the novel, Lake manages to combine heavy themes in a realistic and relatable tale, whilst causing bouts of laughter every other page. Furthermore, this is all presented in an accessible novel that is well-paced and beautifully written. Sound too good to be true? Just pick up the book and start reading…

I’ll admit, 544 pages for a stand-alone story that (from the blurb) seemingly covered your typical YA plot arch is a bit of an ask. But Lake uses each page to its full potential, and before you know it, the book is over. He balances three plotlines (a teen romance, a struggle with mental illness and a hunt for a killer), whilst seamlessly blending the trio into one cohesive story. Each element is well-researched, well-paced and treated with expertise, presented with pure literary finesse.

Amongst all this glory, there was one cherry on top for me, and that was Lake’s realism in the characters, themes and storylines. Using a first person perspective to explore the effect of hearing voices to an individual is used to its full advantage in this novel, with “crazy” thoughts being presented so rationally, and “crazy” actions fully backed by logical thought processes. In doing so, not only does Lake provide an insight for the reader into the experience of having a mental illness, but he highlights the normalcy of mental illnesses and the thought-processes that govern them. I struggle right now to think of another book that portrays mental illness in so accurate a fashion.

Whisper to Me is not a long, heavy novel either, which adds to its strengths. Lake keeps the plot moving, and uses the first person perspective to intersperse the novel with humour, whilst respecting the seriousness of the themes. Presented with some incredible description (I point you to his quote on hermit crabs), Lake pulls together a sophisticated and realistic novel of mental illness, romance and mystery, that is simultaneously accessible and relatable. If you ever need a perfect encapsulation of the average teenage life, Whisper to Me is it.

Recommended for fans of:

  • Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
  • Drawing with Light by Julia Green
  • Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler


N.B.: This ebook was received from Netgallery in return for a reflective and honest review.




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