The Silence Between Us

Blink. Aug. 2019. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780310766162.
Gr 7 Up–Moving halfway across the country and changing schools senior year would be hard enough for anyone, but for Maya, moving from a Deaf school to a hearing school is one adjustment too many. At her Deaf school, people didn’t stare or shout at her, and all the misconceptions about the Deaf didn’t rear their ugly heads whenever she was signing to her interpreter or trying to lip-read. And then there’s Beau, who makes it his mission to learn to sign to her the first day of school. Maya assumes he’s one of the “populars” who only feels sorry for her and is trying to make himself look good. Besides, Maya doesn’t have time to make new friends. She is focused on getting into a good respiratory therapy program in college so she can help people like her little brother Connor, who has cystic fibrosis. Can Maya let go and trust someone to care about her just as she is? Gervais has written a captivating novel that sheds light on how hearing and Deaf cultures make assumptions about each other or are stereotyped, woven into a teen love story. American Sign Language is utilized throughout the book, with Maya’s thoughts and words easily discernible. Teens will relate to the issues of parental influence, peer pressures, and first loves, but also revealed is a deeper understanding of what it means to be different in a world where sameness is the standard.
VERDICT A solid addition to middle/high school fiction that allows for deep discussion about stereotypes concerning disabilities

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