“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?
Scheier follows her 2012 historical mystery, Secret Letters, with a stark look at the challenges of life with schizophrenia. Socially anxious April is dreading sophomore year now that her best (and only) friend, Kristin, has transferred to private school. Then new student Jonah swoops into town, rescuing April from solitude. Their fast, intense friendship becomes a whirlwind romance, but Jonah's "little mood swings" escalate: he has screaming matches with imaginary voices, destroys his paintings, and exhibits paranoid behavior. Ignoring cautionary advice from her mother and Kristin, April takes Jonah's side, planning for their future together at a local art school and telling herself that the real Jonah "was just hiding, temporarily out of sight." The cycle of Jonah's outbursts and April's reactions to them grows repetitive, and the dialogue can be overly lecturelike ("Many people with schizophrenia find ways to cope and disguise their symptoms in the beginning," April explains to her classmates). But the book remains an intense portrait of the unpredictability of schizophrenia and the toll it takes on those close to those who have it. Ages 14 up.