The Infinite Noise is a quiet book. It’s pitched as if the X-Men went to therapy and I think that’s pretty accurate. The pressures of growing up, dealing with bullies and first loves, all balanced with power we cannot control and the danger of being exposed.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”
Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.
Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: suicidal thoughts, self harm thoughts, depression, homophobia
I’ve never heard of The Bright Sessions before this book, but after The Infinite Noise I’ll have to delve into it! You absolutely do not need to listen to it to adore this book. The Infinite Noise is one of the most realistic portrayals of being a super-powered teen I’ve ever read. Told in dual perspectives, we witness Caleb’s frustrations with his power – how it changes his family dynamic and how he has to be careful not to abuse his power. All balanced with Adam’s depression and own complex relationship to his parents.
Featuring a m/m relationship between Adam and Caleb, we’re able to see, from both perspectives, how it would function to be friends and romantic partners with a super-powered teen. While there’s the danger of telling everyone about Caleb’s powers, there’s also the pressure of being a teen, high school, social situations, and college. Adam’s chapters could be seen as more relatable, because how many of us are super-powered empaths, but Caleb experiences this complex fear of being vulnerable. Of telling Adam and others about his power.
While his powers make him hyper vulnerable to everyone’s feelings, he experiences a very relatable fear of telling someone a secret that has the ability to hurt us. He’s also trying so hard, such a cinnamon roll character. All while struggling with difficult situations of emotional control and ethics. There’s also the very relatable pressure of trying to be ‘normal’ for someone else. The Infinite Noise has even more layers of family, secrets, and ethics that I can’t talk much about, but once you read it you’ll know what I mean!
The Infinite Noise is a quiet book. While there’s no one who’s trying to save the world, it becomes more relatable. About our struggles in high school, afraid of being exposed, and not knowing how to fix our mistakes. Find The Infinite Noise on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.