A Distant Voice by Bridie Blake
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (193 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
In life you don’t find your voice. It finds you.
Violet Hayes knows how to survive the year living with her grandmother in the small town of Wandorah, Tennessee.
* Make Rose happy
* Don’t sing or play guitar
* Avoid Sally Shaw
* Ignore Carter Jenkins
It seems simple enough, right? Wrong.
* How do you keep a depressed sister happy?
* How do you deny yourself your dream?
* How do you avoid a friendship?
* And how do you ignore a boy when he’s everywhere you turn?
Violet’s to-do list just became a whole lot harder.
They say that moving to a new place can be a chance to start your life over again. What happens when all of your old problems come along for the ride?
Depression doesn’t only harm the person suffering from it. It also hurts the patient’s family members. One of the things I liked the most about this story was how much time it spent showing both the small and big ways in which this disease disrupts relationships. I’ll admit that it was sometimes difficult to see Violet and her family struggle so much because of how much detail the narrator went into about the nitty gritty realities of living with someone with this disease. Then again, depression is never an easy thing to deal with for anyone. All of their reactions were incredibly realistic and well done. Honestly, the dark stuff had to be talked about so thoroughly in order to show why Violet and her family were behaving the way they did.
I would have liked to see more time spent developing the romantic subplot. The characters involved in it didn’t share many of the same hobbies or interests. They didn’t seem to have compatible goals for the most part, and they were also both dealing with issues that are quite difficult to solve. All of these factors lead to me being pretty surprised when they started flirting. It wasn’t at all what I would have expected them to do given their backstories and what was going on with their lives. Having more information about why this change took place would have made it a lot easier for me to root for them to end up together.
The Wandorah community was fascinating. At first I was a little unsure of what to make of the people who lived there because of how unflappably cheerful so many of them were. This was odd because it stood in such stark contrast to the main character’s often pessimistic understanding of how the world works and what she should expect from others. Once I figured out what the intentions of the the people from Wandorah were, though, I really enjoyed seeing how Violet reacted to her new neighbours and friends whose attitudes were so completely different from her own. The contrast between their world views was handled nicely.
A Distant Voice sensitively deals with some tough topics. I’d recommend it to anyone who has watched a loved one battle with depression or is curious to know what this experience is like.