S.J. Laidlaw’s The Voice Inside My Head is a mystery that’s packed full of emotions. The novel has adventure, comedy, and a deep sadness.
Luke’s quest to find his missing sister results in him getting to know her better than ever. He sees what she would have been like if she wasn’t burdened with all the responsibilities of caring for him and his parents. His love for her, and unwillingness to give up on finding what happened to her drives the reader to NEED to know too. You can’t put the book down without knowing.
Pat is the absent character, who we get to know without truly meeting. Everyone and everything in the novel is framed by their relation to her. She is adored by some, and despised by others, but everyone feels passionately about her disappearance
For a book primarily about the loss of a loved one, with a heavy focus on alcoholism, The Voice Inside My Head is a light, enjoyable read. The characters speak in diction that allows you to hear them as individuals. There are quirky, funny people making their way through this serious story.
Luke has internal dialogue with Pat that could cause some debate for readers. Is it his subconscious feeling guilty about the way things were between them? Is it her spirit speaking to him? There’s no definite answer but we learn a lot about their relationship either way.
Family dynamics are contrasted on numerous occasions. Luke’s dysfunctional family makes Jamie’s look wonderful, but then Luke is grateful that he has more than Zach.
I look forward to discussing the characters and the issues they face in my book club this summer. This book has been selected as an honour book for the CLA Young Adult Book Award.