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The Silence Between Us

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Deaf teen Maya moves across the country and must attend a hearing school for the first time. As if that wasn’t hard enough, she also has to adjust to the hearing culture, which she finds frustrating—and also surprising when some classmates, including Beau Watson, take time to learn ASL. As Maya looks past graduation and focuses on her future dreams, nothing, not even an un Deaf teen Maya moves across the country and must attend a hearing school for the first time. As if that wasn’t hard enough, she also has to adjust to the hearing culture, which she finds frustrating—and also surprising when some classmates, including Beau Watson, take time to learn ASL. As Maya looks past graduation and focuses on her future dreams, nothing, not even an unexpected romance, will derail her pursuits. But when people in her life—deaf and hearing alike—ask her to question parts of her deaf identity, Maya stands proudly, never giving in to the idea that her deafness is a disadvantage.


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Deaf teen Maya moves across the country and must attend a hearing school for the first time. As if that wasn’t hard enough, she also has to adjust to the hearing culture, which she finds frustrating—and also surprising when some classmates, including Beau Watson, take time to learn ASL. As Maya looks past graduation and focuses on her future dreams, nothing, not even an un Deaf teen Maya moves across the country and must attend a hearing school for the first time. As if that wasn’t hard enough, she also has to adjust to the hearing culture, which she finds frustrating—and also surprising when some classmates, including Beau Watson, take time to learn ASL. As Maya looks past graduation and focuses on her future dreams, nothing, not even an unexpected romance, will derail her pursuits. But when people in her life—deaf and hearing alike—ask her to question parts of her deaf identity, Maya stands proudly, never giving in to the idea that her deafness is a disadvantage.

30 review for The Silence Between Us

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    4 stars Many of you don’t know this, but my grandmother and stepgrandfather were deaf. My parents and I are hearing, but I grew up around the deaf community and it has a very special place in my heart. What I loved most about this book was it captured very well what it is like to be deaf (as it should since the author is hard of hearing). When the characters spoke ASL, it was true ASL and not a hearing person thinking how deaf people speak. This book made me miss my grandparents a lot. I wish my 4 stars Many of you don’t know this, but my grandmother and stepgrandfather were deaf. My parents and I are hearing, but I grew up around the deaf community and it has a very special place in my heart. What I loved most about this book was it captured very well what it is like to be deaf (as it should since the author is hard of hearing). When the characters spoke ASL, it was true ASL and not a hearing person thinking how deaf people speak. This book made me miss my grandparents a lot. I wish my grandmother was still alive so I could give this book to her, she would have loved it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Maya Harris is 17 years old and was rendered deaf when a bout of meningitis left her profoundly deaf at the age of 13. Her mother's job relocation forces Maya to leave her special hearing impaired school and move to Colorado, to a regular high school. Maya's young brother is also afflicted with cystic fibrosis and her mother is a single parent, having to cope with two children with chronic h My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Maya Harris is 17 years old and was rendered deaf when a bout of meningitis left her profoundly deaf at the age of 13. Her mother's job relocation forces Maya to leave her special hearing impaired school and move to Colorado, to a regular high school. Maya's young brother is also afflicted with cystic fibrosis and her mother is a single parent, having to cope with two children with chronic health situations on her own. This is a very well-written book, dealing with serious subject matters: the rights of the hearing impaired and the difficulties they face in a hearing world. I learned so much from this story and was very glad to have been given the opportunity to read it. For the most part, it was a very engrossing and enjoyable read. However, one weakness was characterization:. Maya often came across to me as an angry and hostile teen - she was so mean to poor Beau - a handsome young student at her new school. She raked him over the coals time and again, and he was nothing but kind to her. I have always believed that if you want others to "tolerate" you and your issues or idiosyncrasies, then you need to tolerate others as well. People make mistakes, especially when dealing with unfamiliar situations. I get that Maya was tired of being discriminated against, yelled at (in a well-meaning way) or coddled because of her disability, but she was in a new school, and I think she could have been a bit more forgiving of other's mistakes. When one of her misguided teachers spoke in an extremely loud voice to her on her first day, she should have gently told him something like: "my hearing aids only pick up large crashing or thudding noises. You can yell all you like but I still won't be able to hear you." (Even I have been misled into believe that a hearing impaired person who is wearing a hearing aid might be able to hear my voice. I thought she was being a bit harsh on her unsuspecting teacher in that instance. But I do get it: that type of thing gets old, fast.) Maya is understandably upset and nervous in her new environment, and she often felt lonely and ignored, but perhaps her prickly attitude might have been a bit to blame for that? (Just saying!) Poor Beau learned ASL (sign language) in order to communicate with her. At first, she greeted his attempts with disdain and tended to point out all of his mistakes. I have no idea why Beau persevered and eventually won both Maya's friendship and her affections. That was a hard sell for me, but once the romance between Maya and Beau gets off the ground, I started to like Maya a bit more. (Don't get me wrong: I don't mind a fierce or spunky heroine: in fact, I prefer them. What I don't like is someone being unnecessarily mean.) The story did occasionally get bogged down in unnecessary details about homework assignments, etc, but for the most part, this was a very interesting story about a young girl who is forced by circumstance to leave her sheltered hearing-impaired learning environment. She does learn to cope, and even comes to prefer the challenges of her new school.. The author discloses in the end that she too is hearing impaired, so I am relieved to know that I was getting an authentic (although fictionalized) account of one person's personal experiences. Despite the minor characterization and plotting issues, I would still highly recommend this novel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara (Alicorn Feathers)

    I'm almost done with my second semester of ASL, and I love and appreciate the language. So I was very excited to read this book, from the perspective of a deaf high schooler, and I perked up when I realized that the ASL would actually be written as ASL instead of just translated into English like in most the other books I've read with a deaf character. But the book left me wanting, in so many ways. Without even getting into my problems with how certain aspects of Deaf culture were displayed, the I'm almost done with my second semester of ASL, and I love and appreciate the language. So I was very excited to read this book, from the perspective of a deaf high schooler, and I perked up when I realized that the ASL would actually be written as ASL instead of just translated into English like in most the other books I've read with a deaf character. But the book left me wanting, in so many ways. Without even getting into my problems with how certain aspects of Deaf culture were displayed, the characters were incredibly boring. I really don't know what the author was trying to do with the main character's personality. She was inconsistent. Maybe a stupid example, but Maya said at least 4 times, to the reader, "Why would I ever turn down food?" but we only ever saw her appreciate it one time, and it was cookies and her appreciation was simply her eating a lot of cookies. At one point, she was aghast when students were surprised that she could speak, and she made a HUGE deal about how deaf people are perfectly capable of speaking, but the author never once brought up that some deaf people CANNOT speak, or that they only choose to speak around certain people, or that deaf people who lost their hearing young, or were born deaf, have to go through intensive speech therapy to be able to speak well. It was such an illogical way for her to go about the situation, and, while I don't ask for characters to always make logical choices, I ask that, when it comes to representation of something so few people understand, they do. Look at that. I already failed at not getting into my issues with the deaf aspect. Sometimes I can get over characters' bland personalities if the romance is good and it brings out different aspects in the characters, but I have to say, this was quite possibly the most poorly written romance I have ever read. There was zero chemistry. ZERO chemistry. I honestly didn't pick up on the fact that the guy was the love interest until a few chapters in, and I was still skeptical. If you've read any number of romances, you know how obvious it usually is (and not in a bad way: if you can't tell, it means there's NO CHEMISTRY) (even platonic relationships have chemistry) but I thought that he was just going to be the nice friend who wanted to learn sign language because who reads past the first paragraph in a book summary. Not me, apparently. Way too much of the plot was focused specifically on Maya's struggles being deaf in a mainstream school, and maybe this would have been more interesting or dynamic to me if I had less knowledge on the subject, but I think just the way it was presented seemed whiny and melodramatic rather than helping the reader understand where deaf people are coming from. Again, I could not get on board with Maya's character. We also had two very common tropes: the kid whose dad wants them to go to medical school but the kid loves something else, and the kid who has a passion for a certain career, but they don't think they'll be able to get it. These are both still usable tropes, if done correctly, but these were tired situations. Before I get into the rest of my problems with the deaf representation, I am just an ASL 2 student. I am well aware that I don't fully understand Deaf culture or any other aspect of being deaf. But our main character didn't understand what it meant, either, and I just couldn't get past the bad depiction. It was weird to see Maya saying that she was part of the Deaf community (capital 'D' Deaf) when she had no connection to the community other than her one deaf friend she spoke to on FaceTime. She had just moved to a new town, but there was zero reference to deaf adults or other kids in her life. We also only saw 2 characters who liked being deaf, Maya and her friend. Partway through the book, Maya tries to go out and meet deaf kids, but they were actually a group of kids with Cochlear Implants, and none of them used sign. Not a single person at the event had any respect for ASL or deaf people, and it made every person with a CI seem like jerks. And it wasn't like it was just the main character's opinions--it was the way the other characters acted. When Maya had lost her hearing, her mother learned ASL along with her, and her younger brother learned a little. So when she went to the aforementioned CI group, she was surprised to find that the mother of one of the deaf kids didn't understand ASL. I understand that this book should not represent every deaf person, but this was coming directly from Maya's head. She was genuinely surprised--surprised--that the mom didn't know sign even though that type of situation (the family of a deaf kid not learning sign) is more common than it should be. If she was really part of the Deaf community, she would know this. So. In the end, I did appreciate the way the ASL itself was portrayed. But that was pretty much my only positive.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate Willis

    This author's first book In 27 Days blew me away, no joke, and even though this is an entirely different genre, I was expecting great things. She absolutely delivered. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read before, and I loved it. The main character Maia was pretty cool. Some other reviewers have found her annoying, but I didn’t get that off her. The author did an amazing job helping me understand the reasons behind how she thought and acted or at least want to understand. I think the fact that thi This author's first book In 27 Days blew me away, no joke, and even though this is an entirely different genre, I was expecting great things. She absolutely delivered. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read before, and I loved it. The main character Maia was pretty cool. Some other reviewers have found her annoying, but I didn’t get that off her. The author did an amazing job helping me understand the reasons behind how she thought and acted or at least want to understand. I think the fact that this is an OwnVoices book has a lot to do with that. ;) I loved her confidence and was rooting for her the whole time. Her relationships with her mom and her little brother were super sweet. Also, hooray for a heroine who actually admits her mistakes! XD In retrospect, I don’t have a very clear picture of what she looks like except her self-portrait, and I love that we as readers get to see her the way she sees herself. <3 Beau… he was a fantastic one, honestly. A good friend to Maia and open to changing his mind about things. At first, my “Manic Pixie Dream Boy” alarm bells went off, and then promptly shut down. ;) There’s a bit more to him than meets the eye. KATHLEEN. I’d like to be her when I grow up. My favorite scenes were eating cookies at prom (I’d totally do that) and the conversation after the party at Beau’s house. Also, all the real little details like the stickers on her brother’s notebook or the hilarious ASL translation errors were the best. :D Speaking of ASL… It was really unique how it was portrayed, and I grew to love it and even think in it afterward. You know how sometimes in books, there’s a whole sentence of dialogue and then an action beat to remind us it’s signed? In this, speaking, signing (hand signs and fingerspelling are even different), and even lip-reading have their own format and grammar structure/feel of their own, immersing me thoroughly in Maia’s world. I will admit, that sometimes interpreting as I read got exhausting, and it’s a good reminder that there are those of us who live that way all the time. Just a note, there is one very intense, distressing scene related to a medical emergency. There was also some kissing and usage of the words “freaking” and “p***ed”. Best quotes: Nina was determined to hit the dance floor, and that was my cue to excuse myself to go to the restroom. I hid in the bathroom playing Fruit Ninja on my cell phone. Not really what you were supposed to be doing at homecoming, but the more time I could kill, the less time I’d have for dancing. GOOD, Beau signed with a nod. HAPPY. SAME, I replied. Nina chose to cut in at that moment, leaning toward us to say “...everything okay?” “Fine,” I said immediately, and Beau gave a nod of agreement. Altogether, this was a very good book. <3

  5. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE SILENCE BETWEEN US by Alison Gervais in exchange for my honest review.*** Maya is less than thrilled to beginning senior year at a hearing school half way across the country. Deaf for four years, leaving her secure previous school, where everyone signed to one where she’ll be the only Deaf student and need an interpreter scares her. When Beau, a cute popular guy starts learning sign language, Maya is certain he’s either pitying o ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE SILENCE BETWEEN US by Alison Gervais in exchange for my honest review.*** Maya is less than thrilled to beginning senior year at a hearing school half way across the country. Deaf for four years, leaving her secure previous school, where everyone signed to one where she’ll be the only Deaf student and need an interpreter scares her. When Beau, a cute popular guy starts learning sign language, Maya is certain he’s either pitying or pranking her, unwilling to consider he may actually like her. Maya was a difficult character for me to like. While she had positive qualities like caring about her family and little brother with Cystic Fibrosis, she was mostly self centered and often unkind. THE SILENCE BETWEEN US is well written, distinguishing dialogue signed vs spoken. Aside from Maya, most of the other characters were likable. I had a hard time buying into a lot of the scenarios in the book. For example, I didn’t believe a mother would move her sick son from New Jersey to the high altitude of Colorado and be surprised his condition worsened. Surely his NJ doctor would have warned the mother to consider her son’s life and death situation, no matter how good the job offer. I also didn’t believe this mother would take a week long business trip and leave her Deaf seventeen-year-old daughter to care for her struggling seven-year-old son with no backup contingency plan. She was a great mother except when in regards to her son’s life threatening illness!?!?!? I also didn’t understand Maya’s insistence on not considering a cochlear implant. If she has been deaf all her life, I’d have understood more. She has a passion for becoming a pediatric respiratory therapist. Hearing would only seem to enhance the relationship with patients. After the scare with her brother, where he could have died, I’d think hearing would be a safety issue. Accommodations are great, important and necessary, but they also involve relying on others (in the case of the book) to provide those well-deserved services. I have a disability and sometimes have to rely on others to make my life. When my body won’t do what it’s supposed to do, I’m frustrated and would do anything to change the situation. I understand the Deaf community is rich and full. CIs are controversial and many have strong opinions against them. Maya had only been deaf for 4 years and so the majority of her experiences were hearing. I was glad she was proud to be Deaf and confident, but didn’t understand the safety and accommodations aspects of her choice. THE SILENCE BETWEEN US was enjoyable, though sometimes slow, disjointed and repetitive.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Britt

    I got this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* You know those stories where you fall in love with everything after just a few pages? That, for me, was this book. The Silence Between Us was, in a nutshell, some of the best disability representation I’ve *ever* read. I am not deaf, but, as someone with hydrocephalus, right-sided cerebral palsy, and partial blindness, I am always looking for good representation, and this book was It. The Silence Between Us celebrates disability I got this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* You know those stories where you fall in love with everything after just a few pages? That, for me, was this book. The Silence Between Us was, in a nutshell, some of the best disability representation I’ve *ever* read. I am not deaf, but, as someone with hydrocephalus, right-sided cerebral palsy, and partial blindness, I am always looking for good representation, and this book was It. The Silence Between Us celebrates disability instead of shying away from it. The characters in this book were amazing — I don’t think there was a single character that I didn’t like. Maya was a fantastic MC, Beau was adorable, Nina was an awesome friend (I LOVE that Nina and Maya ended up becoming friends because I was anticipating the dreaded “popular girl hates the new girl” cliché). Even the side characters — Connor, Maya’s mother, Maya’s interpreter, and Melissa — were wonderfully written. They all enhanced the plot so well, and I adored every single one of them. This book even managed to teach me a little bit about sign language. Not necessarily how to actually sign, but just little tidbits about the language and about deaf culture, and about little things here and there that deaf people might appreciate or be annoyed by. Even though this book doesn’t really use verbal dialogue (other than signing, Maya can only read lips — but she *can* Speak), I think the interaction between characters ran very smoothly and, while I don’t know if this is the common way to express sign language in books, I appreciate the way the author wrote out the sign language in ALL CAPS. That made things really easy to follow, and definitely made up for the lack of verbal dialogue. Did I mention that Maya and Beau are absolutely adorable? I adore their chemistry, and Beau is an absolute darling. A lot of “love interests” in YA (and in general tbh) come off as totally douchey, so words cannot describe how much I love the fact that Beau is sweet and genuine. He is such a good character, I love him a lot, and it’s so nice to see able-bodied people accepting people with disabilities, disabilities and all. Overall, I ADORED this book. I’m so glad I was approved on NetGalley to review it, and I think it definitely became one of my favorite YA contemporaries. I highly encourage everyone to check this book out, but especially if you love contemporary romances and/or disability rep!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    I’ve been waiting so long for a book like this. Like our protagonist Maya, I was born hearing and have slowly lost bits of my hearing over the years in addition to dealing with Auditory Processing Disorder, both of which require me to wear hearing aids. While Maya is immersed in the Deaf community, I’ve remained a part of the hearing community into which I was born, but I can relate to so many of the experiences Maya has all throughout the novel. I’ve seen some people say in their reviews that Ma I’ve been waiting so long for a book like this. Like our protagonist Maya, I was born hearing and have slowly lost bits of my hearing over the years in addition to dealing with Auditory Processing Disorder, both of which require me to wear hearing aids. While Maya is immersed in the Deaf community, I’ve remained a part of the hearing community into which I was born, but I can relate to so many of the experiences Maya has all throughout the novel. I’ve seen some people say in their reviews that Maya is unlikable and her strong negative stance on CIs being something that was difficult for them to grasp, but it’s curious to note that these are hearing people who are leaving these comments. In my opinion, Maya is an exemplary figure of a late-deafened girl making her way first through the Deaf community and then the hearing world once she and her family move. She’s remarkably realistic, and knowing that the author is hard of hearing and coming from a similar place, it’s somewhat disheartening to see hearing reviewers seemingly miss the point in some places. Overall, this is a great novel and one I’ve been waiting for for so, so long. Highly recommend. And if you’re hearing, please go into it with extra kindness and openness toward Maya and where she’s coming from!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Carr

    #OwnVoices is quickly becoming my favorite part of YA Lit. Having lost a lot of my own hearing just out of high school, I really related to 'The Silence Between Us' (pub. August 13, 2019). Maya was born hearing, but lost it due to Meningitis; however, she gained her confidence; embracing her deafness. "There was one thing I knew for certain. I was happy being Deaf, and I was not about to change that just because a cochlear implant might make my life easier."[280] I loved that Maya's character, s #OwnVoices is quickly becoming my favorite part of YA Lit. Having lost a lot of my own hearing just out of high school, I really related to 'The Silence Between Us' (pub. August 13, 2019). Maya was born hearing, but lost it due to Meningitis; however, she gained her confidence; embracing her deafness. "There was one thing I knew for certain. I was happy being Deaf, and I was not about to change that just because a cochlear implant might make my life easier."[280] I loved that Maya's character, supported by her mother and brother, knows what she wants and can educate and share her beliefs with others as a teen, dealing with a cross country relocation, new school, making friends, and completely starting over. "I've been having a hard time figuring out who I am... Probably I wasn't the only high school student that felt this way, Deaf or hearing."[278] Maya owns what others label as disabled; she is proud to declare "[she] doesn't need to be fixed."[280] I have never read a book the way 'The Silence Between Us' is written. For those who don't know, American Sign Language isn't directly interpreted the way English is spoken. Many words are dropped from conversation, and the signs are often shortened and notated early in a conversation, and then referenced in a shortened way later on. The font changes inside this book read accurately, text indicated in CAPS LOCK showing ASL usage in dialog verses what Maya is thinking in her head or other characters are verbally speaking- amazing! I am completely impressed that Alison Gervais saw the lack of Deaf characters in YA Lit and did something about it. “No matter how hard you try to understand something, sometimes there’s a personal connection to the cause that you’re missing, something you may not ever reach, and that can make all the difference. That’s why this is important to the real world.”[147] Thank you b Blink YA Books for sharing an ARC with me in exchange for an honest review. I am cheering this title on to the finish line! 5☆

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Update 12/14/19: Okay ... so I’m a little behind on my ARCs because I had a baby. Thanks to Netgalley and Publisher for the review copy. I went into this book expecting to feel seen, to feel validated. And that’s not what I got. In this, I did mildly see a reflection of my experience of being a deaf kid in a hearing school. I didn’t have an interpreter so my experienced differed from Maya’s. I also communicated exclusively verbally not did I have friends willing to learn sign ... heck my own fami Update 12/14/19: Okay ... so I’m a little behind on my ARCs because I had a baby. Thanks to Netgalley and Publisher for the review copy. I went into this book expecting to feel seen, to feel validated. And that’s not what I got. In this, I did mildly see a reflection of my experience of being a deaf kid in a hearing school. I didn’t have an interpreter so my experienced differed from Maya’s. I also communicated exclusively verbally not did I have friends willing to learn sign ... heck my own family didn’t even bother to learn sign. But the experience was authentic. The #ownvoices-ness of this really shown through which is not something that happens when hearing authors write deaf characters. So for this fact alone, I’m excited to share this with readers at my library. My gripes with this are as follows: there was so much Deaf educating in this. It felt like educating instead of the experiences and development of the characters normal life. It was purpose driven instead of normalized and that made the storytelling awkward. And then the characters didn’t feel fully developed either which made this feel/read young when everyone is preparing to head off to college. Too many pieces for each character make none of the pieces feel all that important on their own or as part of the overall whole. Original thoughts upon discovering this book and adding it to my TBR: It's about GD time that the universe (and publishing) gave us (meaning: me as a hearing impaired reader) an #ownvoices Deaf kid in a hearing school story. #thankyouverymuch Now to read the ARC that I just got ...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    I am so surprised I didn't enjoy this one at all. I was so excited to read this. The main character was obnoxious. She was so guarded that she never gave anyone a break including Beau. Beau who was always willing to apologize and see her side of things, but she couldn't do the same for him. I thought it was out of character for Beau to do what he did at the end of the book which immediately made me think less of this book than I already had. He is so open and understanding of her so why did his I am so surprised I didn't enjoy this one at all. I was so excited to read this. The main character was obnoxious. She was so guarded that she never gave anyone a break including Beau. Beau who was always willing to apologize and see her side of things, but she couldn't do the same for him. I thought it was out of character for Beau to do what he did at the end of the book which immediately made me think less of this book than I already had. He is so open and understanding of her so why did his character suddenly do a 180? Everything was such a problem with Maya. Why was every second of this story filled with her having to be combative. Instead of me seeing the struggled people in the deaf community face it just made me annoyed at this teenage girl. And the romance.. Where was it? Beau and Maya. I don't see why Beau would ever want to be with her. She constantly berated him or embarrassed. And he clearly liked you from the beginning and she played it off like she wasn't sure. He literally blushed and started learning sign language because he liked you. Also, what was with the pacing? He suddenly learned a bunch of sign language in like a day? There was some odd passage of time that didn't do anything for the story. I'm just really disappointed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mikayla

    Wow. That was an awesome book. I found this a fascinating read because it really gave me a tiny feel of what being deaf might be like. It was brilliantly written, and I loved reading it. Maya was a very relatable character and Beau was pretty cool. This book really does give you a good starting point for how to relate to, and understand people who are deaf. Only 4 stars because I didn't really relate to any of the situations the characters were in, and I am not a fan of teen romance. But the boo Wow. That was an awesome book. I found this a fascinating read because it really gave me a tiny feel of what being deaf might be like. It was brilliantly written, and I loved reading it. Maya was a very relatable character and Beau was pretty cool. This book really does give you a good starting point for how to relate to, and understand people who are deaf. Only 4 stars because I didn't really relate to any of the situations the characters were in, and I am not a fan of teen romance. But the book was still pretty cool.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Roxane

    *I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 3/5 This review may contain very mild spoilers. The Silence Between Us is a book about a girl who is deaf and transfers to a hearing school for the first time since becoming deaf. I enjoyed parts of the story, but overall was kind of let down. One thing I really loved was the writing. The author wrote sign language in a really cool way that I've never personally seen before. She also wrote parts where the main character Maya is *I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 3/5 This review may contain very mild spoilers. The Silence Between Us is a book about a girl who is deaf and transfers to a hearing school for the first time since becoming deaf. I enjoyed parts of the story, but overall was kind of let down. One thing I really loved was the writing. The author wrote sign language in a really cool way that I've never personally seen before. She also wrote parts where the main character Maya is lip reading, and there will be words missing in the sentence that Maya isn't able to read, so we don't get those words either and have to infer, as Maya does, what the sentence is supposed to mean. I thought that this was a brilliant way for the author to give us just a hint of what it must be like to be Maya, or any other deaf or hard of hearing person. There were a few things in the story that didn't really make a lot of sense to me. For one, Maya's brother has cystic fibrosis. The first thing that happens in the story is Maya's mother moving them to Colorado, a city with a higher elevation almost certainly going to wreak serious havoc on her brother's health. I'm not a mother, but i can't imagine ever, for any job, moving my child with serious health issues somewhere that will exacerbate those issues. I knew that we would end up having a scene where he gets very sick because of this. I really loved the mother in this story, but i felt like that was just a really stupid thing to do, and I couldn't wrap my head around it. the mother was far from stupid, so it felt like it was just added to give her a reason to be at that school, which is fine, but didn't really make sense to me. Also, something that happens with Maya and the love interest close to the end I didn't really like. The love interest does something that I felt was very out of character not only for the character in general, but felt really off considering how the character had been acting even a page before. It felt like it was added in purely for drama between them, and though we got a resolution, the resolution felt too easy, and i feel like that part could have been cut out and we could have gone straight to the epilogue and had the same, if not better impact on the story. Maya herself was really hard for me to like. While i liked that she was perfectly happy with herself the way she was and wanted nothing to do with things that could make her life easier, like a cochlear implant, I found her judgemental, sometimes selfish, and pretty unkind, particularly at the beginning. She wants nothing to do with hearing people. She judges people for not knowing how to communicate with her, but also suspects some sort of agenda when they want to learn how to communicate with her. I do understand this is part of her development, and also because of prejudices she's faced in the past. But i felt she was particularly rude and mean to the love interest, and it just really held me back from liking her. she definitely got better throughout the story. A lot of this story was pretty cliche in terms of really following closely a normal contemporary. there wasn't anything groundbreaking story wise. "Just because my world looks a little different than yours suddenly that means its not as important?" The book had a lot of good lines, and as i mentioned earlier I did really enjoy the representation and the writing. The overall plot and the characters were what brought it down a bit for me, but it was still enjoyable and I'd still recommend it, if it sounds interesting to you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chana

    **I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** The Silence Between Us follows a Deaf girl named Maya as she navigates a hearing school for the first time in many years. I was initially excited for this book because of the disability rep. The author, Alison Gervais, is hard of hearing, and I think that she did a great job at representing a Deaf main character. There were so many little things that added to the experience, from the choppier way conversations in sign were r **I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** The Silence Between Us follows a Deaf girl named Maya as she navigates a hearing school for the first time in many years. I was initially excited for this book because of the disability rep. The author, Alison Gervais, is hard of hearing, and I think that she did a great job at representing a Deaf main character. There were so many little things that added to the experience, from the choppier way conversations in sign were represented, to how you only were able to read the words that Maya saw while lip-reading, instead of the full sentences that people were speaking. It really helped me get a feel for how Maya’s communication as a Deaf girl differs from those that are hearing. That being said, throughout the book, I found it very hard to connect to Maya as a character. There are some points of the book where it felt like we were supposed to feel sympathy or sadness, but the writing just did not help deliver that. There was nothing in the story itself that made me care, or want to keep reading very much. The characters and storyline never quite made me want to keep reading more. It wasn’t so much that it was a bad book, it’s more that it was a little bit boring at times. One part of the book that highlights the underdevelopment of the plot and characters was Maya’s little brother, Connor. Her younger brother was a major character for the book plot-wise, with his cystic fibrosis being the reason the family moved to Colorado in the first place, and his illness being the reason Maya wants to become a respiratory therapist. However, despite all of that, he just wasn’t developed enough to make me feel much of anything. There was never a time that we felt that I felt the depth of his illness and its effects. It was all very surface level. And as for the plot, there wasn’t much going on. What is mentioned in the synopsis on Goodreads, doesn’t even happen till pretty much the end of the book. This just made the book feel like it dragged on, and like not much was happening, partially because nothing much was happening. The synopsis mentions a romance, struggles with college, and debate over a cochlear implant. Those things don’t really come into play until much later and weren’t as big a deal as I expected. I know that all these negatives might make it seem that it’s not a good book. But honestly, it’s not a bad book. The main reason why I didn’t give it a higher rating is that it could have been so much better! As I mentioned the representation was fantastic, and the idea of the plot was very good, but I just felt that the execution was lacking. I still would recommend this book, since it just seems like this was a case of it’s not you, it’s me. While this book fell a little flat for me, I'd still recommend reading it just for the awesome disability representation.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I LOVED that this book had a deaf MC. Just YES, all the yes. She had a regular life, had the same concerns with school, boys, grades, as anyone else. This book just shined when showing the differences and similarities, the things that were harder and the things that she embraced as a deaf person. It felt real, what she went through and how she reacted. Why not five stars then? Because key, to me, questions were ignored or barely touched on. 1) ghost dad much? Divorced when she was eight, no ment I LOVED that this book had a deaf MC. Just YES, all the yes. She had a regular life, had the same concerns with school, boys, grades, as anyone else. This book just shined when showing the differences and similarities, the things that were harder and the things that she embraced as a deaf person. It felt real, what she went through and how she reacted. Why not five stars then? Because key, to me, questions were ignored or barely touched on. 1) ghost dad much? Divorced when she was eight, no mention of him skipping on alimony or child support, yet the mom worked her @SS off and the younger kid had a disease that required a lot of medical attention. The MC is discussing wanting to get a job to help with the bills, but doesn’t even MENTION the father and his financial responsibilities? That is not realistic at all. 2) mom is apparently the best at what she does (whatever it is, we never find out), so she is moved from NJ to Colorado to be in that office, but her son has CF, which affects the lungs, so SHE AGREED TO MOVE SOMEPLACE WHERE BREATHING IS HARD?!?! And she wasn’t getting paid enough, if the MC is worried about the bills and she was working from home most of the time to take care of her sick son. So why not stay in NJ and work from home there?? 3) a school for the deaf was an hour away from where they moved. Why didn’t she move closer so her other child, the deaf MC could go there? Not saying the deaf shouldn’t go to school with the hearing, but at the beginning the MC wanted to go to a school geared towards the deaf. Does this mom even CARE about her kids? 4) it’s not even mentioned until about 100 pages in why the dad isn’t in the picture and how the MC became deaf. She was born hearing and became deaf later in life. Those are pretty crucial story points that I would think would come out a tad earlier, just my thoughts. So yeah, those issues knock a couple of stars off for me, unfortunately. Not a bad book, but I couldn’t overlook those issues. Definitely recommended anyway, the deaf MC and the insight into the deaf community are important for those not exposed to the deaf community to learn a little about it. I found that aspect of it fascinating and I feel I learned from reading this book. 3, I wish I could rate it higher but I can’t, stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Afoma Umesi

    The Silence Between Us is a rousing young adult novel with a Deaf protagonist who never lets her disability set her back. It explores the challenges of a Deaf/hearing relationship and addresses the strain a sibling’s chronic illness can have on a family. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to everyone, but especially those wanting to learn more about the Deaf community and how to be respectful to people with a disability. Read my full review on my blog. The Silence Between Us is a rousing young adult novel with a Deaf protagonist who never lets her disability set her back. It explores the challenges of a Deaf/hearing relationship and addresses the strain a sibling’s chronic illness can have on a family. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to everyone, but especially those wanting to learn more about the Deaf community and how to be respectful to people with a disability. Read my full review on my blog.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    A great story about a deaf girl who moves and has to now attend a regular, as she calls it, "hearing" school. As a hearing person, there was a lot that hadn't known about, and I always enjoy a book that makes me learn things. It took a bit to read and get used to the way sentences were cut out or cut short based on how she lipread and obviously couldn't always catch every single word sometimes. Or also just the way they signed they didn't use all the words we use as we talk, because that would b A great story about a deaf girl who moves and has to now attend a regular, as she calls it, "hearing" school. As a hearing person, there was a lot that hadn't known about, and I always enjoy a book that makes me learn things. It took a bit to read and get used to the way sentences were cut out or cut short based on how she lipread and obviously couldn't always catch every single word sometimes. Or also just the way they signed they didn't use all the words we use as we talk, because that would be a waste of signing time. It was also interesting to read about how a surgery could make a person who was deaf feel about themselves, and that it would make them not want to do it. I feel like there was a lot of good things to learn about and read in this book that was still a really great teen story with all the usual emotional issues along with the extra stress that not being able to hear brings to the story. And of course Maya wasn't the only one with her own issues and that is what was great also, for her to see she wasn't the only one when decisions were made that things were based on. As a teen it is so often usually just based on what you are thinking, what you feel, and it takes a bit to see other people's points of view. And this was a different way to look at it. I will definitely be purchasing this book for my school library for my students to read and enjoy hopefully as much as I did.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole M. Hewitt

    This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction I fell in love with this book easily, mostly because Deaf culture has always been a topic that's near and dear to my heart. Growing up with a Deaf uncle, I was always fascinated by the chasms and bridges between Deaf and hearing culture, which is the main focus of this book. (Things have gotten much better since my uncle's days of growing up---but that's a whole other topic). I honestly believe that every teen should r This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction I fell in love with this book easily, mostly because Deaf culture has always been a topic that's near and dear to my heart. Growing up with a Deaf uncle, I was always fascinated by the chasms and bridges between Deaf and hearing culture, which is the main focus of this book. (Things have gotten much better since my uncle's days of growing up---but that's a whole other topic). I honestly believe that every teen should read this book, just so that they can get a glimpse into a "disability" that they might easily misunderstand. As always with this type of topic, the book can't encapsulate the myriad of views and perspectives of all Deaf people, but it gives you an in-depth look at the heart and mind of one Deaf person, which can often be more powerful. Maya struggles when she moves from a Deaf school to a hearing one where she's the only deaf student---she isn't sure she even wants to fit in at this new school, and she knows that it's going to be a rough road ahead of her. The book is honestly pretty light on plot, which usually frustrates me; but in this case I was carried forward by my personal investment in Maya's character. I also loved Beau, even when he messed up (which most people will often do when they don't really understand what being Deaf truly means). I appreciated that the book showed imperfect people trying their best to treat Maya with love and respect but sometimes failing because this is often reality in life (isn't it true for so many things, actually, not just in the case of someone who's Deaf?). And the friendship between Nina and Maya is fantastic too. One other aspect of the book that I loved was the way dialogue was handled: Maya lipreads, but often misses things. This was shown by the fact that most of the sentences have ellipses to show these missing words from sentences. Also, the sign language is written in ASL format (or as close to it as possible) instead of just in plain English---I LOVED the authenticity that this gave to the story. For me, this was an unforgettable read that highlights the humanity that connects us even when differences threaten to tear us apart. ***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

  18. 4 out of 5

    K Hebe

    I enjoyed this book because I've never read anything like it before! I loved that this story is from the perspective of a female high school student who is deaf and confident with who she is as a person. The discussions characters had regarding cochlear implants were necessary and a delight to read. I loved that the conversations in sign remained in ASL syntax on the page! This novel only dipped its toe into the culture of the Deaf community; there's so much left to explore, and I can't wait for I enjoyed this book because I've never read anything like it before! I loved that this story is from the perspective of a female high school student who is deaf and confident with who she is as a person. The discussions characters had regarding cochlear implants were necessary and a delight to read. I loved that the conversations in sign remained in ASL syntax on the page! This novel only dipped its toe into the culture of the Deaf community; there's so much left to explore, and I can't wait for more representative literature. Also, when Beau compared Maya to Jane Eyre - *swoon*. Book received from Netgalley and Blink in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tzipora

    3.5 Stars I’m really torn on this one. The audiobook I listened to had an author interview in the back and the author kept talking about Maya’s confidence. That’s actually some of what seemed... off? to me. I don’t know what it’s like to be Deaf (frankly neither does the author who is Hard or Hearing and involved in Deaf/HoH advocacy but admits this isn’t her lived experience) but what I do know damn well is what it’s like to develop a significant disability as a teen or young adult. If there’s a 3.5 Stars I’m really torn on this one. The audiobook I listened to had an author interview in the back and the author kept talking about Maya’s confidence. That’s actually some of what seemed... off? to me. I don’t know what it’s like to be Deaf (frankly neither does the author who is Hard or Hearing and involved in Deaf/HoH advocacy but admits this isn’t her lived experience) but what I do know damn well is what it’s like to develop a significant disability as a teen or young adult. If there’s anything that’s just off in this book and I question why it was written this way is that Maya loses her hearing at 13 from meningitis. She’s 17 in the book. And apparently she went to a Deaf high school after this. At the start of the book she’s at a traditional/hearing school... I just question if her fierce confidence in herself as a young Deaf woman is so realistic with this chain of events and the storyline? In my mind there’s no harder time to develop a disability then as a teen. When so much of your life is in the air as it is (or I was a bit older, we’ll sort of, I didn’t realize the struggles I repeatedly hit upon in high school where chronic illness. It wasn’t until college when it became evident these things would never go away, that there was a name for them, etc. In my case I thought I’d already overcome a ton. I knew what I wanted more than most and then bam. It was gone.) Theres so much about growing up that’s so prescriptive. Like life is supposed to go X followed by Y followed by Z and that’s absolutely all you see as a kid. When a disability shakes that up... even I don’t have words and would have to write a book of my own to even begin to try to explain how that feels. I’m somewhat willing to give Maya some benefit of the doubt. After all, she went to a Deaf high school. I can’t imagine how empowering it would’ve been for a much younger me to be surrounded by other disabled people. But then for Maya to lose that with her family’s move... I don’t know. I wish we had gotten more of a background. Like on where Maya’s confidence came from. Frankly that could’ve made a better story except oops, her confidence absolutely came from other Deaf people and would this story have been published then? Or did we have to have this abled narrative with the traditional school and hearing friends and all? I kind of think the author wanted to depict a proud disabled/Deaf woman living her life. But ehhh. Again, I hit upon- I don’t know how one reached that sense of pride apart from the community. Another reviewer learning ASL, not Deaf or disabled, kind of called out the lack of community too. I didn’t fully agree with their particular thoughts or reasoning. But thinking through this myself... fuck the abled folks. I would’ve loved to see a Deaf woman gaining her confidence through the Deaf and disabled community. This was more oh Maya is magically confident. Here let’s throw her in to educate some hearing folks. Like there’s some aspect of this story that still rubs me wrong. Something that’s just a bit patronizing or off. Maybe it’s simply this- if you’re writing an Own Voices disability story- who are you writing it for and why? I damn sure hope you’re writing it for Own Voices readers. This book.... wasn’t. The author talks about in interviews how similar she was in some ways to Maya or how her mom really saw a lot of her in Maya. Ok but who are you showing yourself and your character to? I imagine many Deaf teens would be even more disappointed with this book than I was. Because there’s the rub. Own Voices but written for an abled majority. Can we just not? I don’t think any sort of diverse character should exist just to have that representation there if you’re not really speaking to the very people who that representation matter to. And I don’t know. That feels a bit harsh. I don’t think it’s wrong but I will say I do think the author tried. But I think she fell into a bit of a trap here. Or because this isn’t fully her own experience and maybe she’s not as empowered as her own character, she slipped into some of those exhausting ableist narratives. And internalized ableism is a bitch. It runs so flipping deep, that 10, probably really 15-20 years in honestly, I’m still digging through my own. I think that’s also maybe where I had to call out the whole narrative of Maya being so empowered after 4 years too. Again, I don’t want to be overly harsh. But I feel so passionately about disabled representation and this one fell flat. Beyond the above, frankly, Maya is pretty boring. She doesn’t have much of personality or any real hobbies and interests beyond disability. And oh man, even her singular goal of becoming a respiratory therapist is because of her brother’s Cystic Fibrosis. Yoooo do you get me now when I said the author tried a little too hard? Because good gosh. That’s literally the only hint of personality she’s given and even that’s a stereotype (how many heroic siblings do we need to see. That was cheap and screwy to even bring up CF just to make a hero out of the main character. Disabled or not that was an ableist AF trope.) And hey this is why disabled authors matter. Because I am sure this author knows- being Deaf matters. Who Maya is, is Deaf. Disability impacts every part of who I am too. But I still have a personality and passions. And so there’s a lot of problems when you swing to the “In spite of the disability” or “When I see you I don’t see a disability” side but also, your character can be disabled and proud and happy and talk about how disability impacts their life and it will impact everything- but there needs to be more too. This book is really off there. I think it was well intentioned. It’s fighting back against the other problem. But again, in so many ways this book misses the mark. I’m honestly even more conflicted now. I may be giving this book more credit than it deserves because while it has some deep problems I can tell they’re the direct result of trying to do better than so much of what exists, trying to remedy the crap I see all the time with disability in fiction. But is that good enough? Don’t we deserve more? And I don’t want to add to the problem. I don’t want to be one of those hardass reviewers that make people fearful of writing about disability (though man it’s the people who don’t care. The abled folks or uggggh the parents of disabled kids or whatever writing books those are the ones who really get me). I can see so much of how much this author tried to do better because she knew better. And still missed the mark because that’s how piss poor disability rep in lit really is. So I don’t fault her. But jeez, can we please do better? Also screw it, maybe I’m exactly who you WANT to show your manuscript to if you’re writing about disability. (Not even kidding. Hit me up if you’re writing about disability.) Because I know what’s out there and I know what we actually want, need, and deserve. And this one didn’t hit the mark for me. It wasn’t offensive. That’s great. But it also doesn’t feel written for Deaf and disabled readers either. And please please please give your disabled characters a personality beyond “stands up for herself as a disabled person”.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emilie

    I enjoyed seeing how Maya had to deal with being the only deaf kid at an all-hearing school. The first quarter of the book had me hooked: Maya's frustration and alienation were palpable as she combatted embarrassment, her own insecurities regarding her future, and the school's fumbling how to best accommodate her. I appreciated the book's theme that just because someone has a disability does not mean they're miserable or in need of pity, or that they earnestly crave to be "normal." Maya has been I enjoyed seeing how Maya had to deal with being the only deaf kid at an all-hearing school. The first quarter of the book had me hooked: Maya's frustration and alienation were palpable as she combatted embarrassment, her own insecurities regarding her future, and the school's fumbling how to best accommodate her. I appreciated the book's theme that just because someone has a disability does not mean they're miserable or in need of pity, or that they earnestly crave to be "normal." Maya has been called too "bitchy" on here, but I found her realistic in how she always felt people were talking down to her. Of course she would be skeptical of Beau-- while it's wrong to make assumptions, given her life experience, it makes sense from a character perspective. These were the strongest parts of the book and on their own, they do make it worth a read. Otherwise, the romance was anemic and much of the interpersonal conflict just felt barebones, even contrived, particularly any scene with the de facto villain Jackson, who is less a character than a plot device used to spark Maya's impassioned speeches by being a one-note jerk. I found other supporting characters just as flat, from the bookish and generally nice Nina to Maya's Marvel-obsessed brother. The settings were never described with much vividness either and the ending was so abrupt that it made the last quarter of the book feel anti-climactic. Overall, it's a standard YA book with a good message and a glimpse into a world rarely seen in fiction. For that alone, it's worth reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jooke

    Just like author Alison Gervais states: "it is time we see more deaf characters in Books. n books. It’s time we see more books celebrating sign language and Deaf culture." The YA-genre indirectly leaves room to educate its readers, makes topics like sexuality, mental health problems, physical disabilities more open for discussion. But it is quiet hard to find books with deaf main characters (even blind ones). The Deaf culture and community is quiet intriguing, the shared language intimate. It's r Just like author Alison Gervais states: "it is time we see more deaf characters in Books. n books. It’s time we see more books celebrating sign language and Deaf culture." The YA-genre indirectly leaves room to educate its readers, makes topics like sexuality, mental health problems, physical disabilities more open for discussion. But it is quiet hard to find books with deaf main characters (even blind ones). The Deaf culture and community is quiet intriguing, the shared language intimate. It's refreshing to realize what we hearing people take for granted and what standards are used. How quick someone can be labeled "incapable" or "less". But in the end everyone has their own issues and struggles some more obvious than others and everyone has to learn how to cope with them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    The Reading Raccoon

    Thank you to NetGalley and Blink Publishers for the copy of The Silence Between Us for review. This is a solid coming of age story of a 17 year old deaf girl who moves from New Jersey to Colorado and has to attend her first hearing school. Like most coming of age stories there was some growth with Maya’s character even though it takes place over a year. Unfortunately, she still kind of came off as needlessly stubborn and arrogant sometimes. I understand as someone coming from a group that is oft Thank you to NetGalley and Blink Publishers for the copy of The Silence Between Us for review. This is a solid coming of age story of a 17 year old deaf girl who moves from New Jersey to Colorado and has to attend her first hearing school. Like most coming of age stories there was some growth with Maya’s character even though it takes place over a year. Unfortunately, she still kind of came off as needlessly stubborn and arrogant sometimes. I understand as someone coming from a group that is often marginalized she would be a little guarded but I found her exhausting with the chip on her shoulder. I did like the love interest Beau a lot along with the other supporting characters. I learned a lot about sign language, cochlear implants and issues facing the deaf community. I did find the ending a little abrupt and I wasn’t fond of the epilogue

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pallavi

    RATING: 4/5 STARS Maya is a Deaf teenager who moves to Colorado before her senior year of high school. It's a big adjustment for her, as she's leaving behind her school for the Deaf to attend a hearing school. Gradually, Maya befriends classmates Nina and Beau who demonstrate interest in learning ASL to better communicate with her. With encouragement and support from her friends, her interpreter Kathleen, her single-parent mother, and her younger brother Connor who has cystic fibrosis, Maya nav RATING: 4/5 STARS Maya is a Deaf teenager who moves to Colorado before her senior year of high school. It's a big adjustment for her, as she's leaving behind her school for the Deaf to attend a hearing school. Gradually, Maya befriends classmates Nina and Beau who demonstrate interest in learning ASL to better communicate with her. With encouragement and support from her friends, her interpreter Kathleen, her single-parent mother, and her younger brother Connor who has cystic fibrosis, Maya navigates the world of the hearing and opens herself up to new experiences. Along the way, she untangles her growing feelings for Beau and battles staying true to herself even as she fears her community wants her to be someone different. The biggest strength of THE SILENCE BETWEEN US is its integration of ASL into the writing. I have read contemporary fiction that featured deaf MC's, but this is the first book I've read that I feel truly captures the essence of the language. ASL has its own rules of grammar and syntax that are different from that of English prose. It might take a chapter or two to get accustomed to reading ASL interwoven with fragments of conversation that Maya is able to lipread, but it's worth it for its uniqueness and the authenticity it lends to the novel. Another positive aspect of this book is that it was written by an #OwnVoices author. I'm glad that the book included an interview section at the end because I like to know the background behind the voice I'm reading in a story. The author is Hard of Hearing and works with the Deaf community, and this shows in the writing. It's hard to truly get inside the head of and create a character unless you've experienced his or her struggle in some form. I was glad to see the issues that face the Deaf community brought up by someone who is familiar with this subject. The characters in this book were fairly well-developed. I enjoyed Maya's friendship with Melissa (who is also Deaf), and I'm glad that Maya finally accepted Nina and Beau's wholehearted attempts to get to know her. Beau was a very sweet character and I thought his struggle with his college decisions and future was relatable for the YA demographic. I loved that he continued to learn ASL, despite making mistakes and being pushed away by Maya. However, without revealing too much, I thought how he incited a confrontation with Maya about cochlear implants was a bit out of character though this conflict is eventually resolved. A character that I slightly struggled with was Maya herself. I wasn't happy with how she treated Beau in the beginning, though I acknowledge that her change of heart and shedding of skepticism towards his intentions are part of her growth throughout the story. I liked that she had aspirations to become a respiratory therapist to help patients with CF like her brother. (Side note: Maya mentions once that she plans to go to medical school to become a respiratory therapist, but this is inaccurate. There are specific training programs for this career, including a bachelor's degree track that she talks about wanting to be accepted for. This is just a small detail that I noticed since I'm studying in the medical field.) The appeal of this novel is that is brings up topics of debate in the Deaf community, which makes it more than "just another YA contemporary." For the record, I believe that most acclaimed YA contemporaries have important insights into adolescence, a fragile period full of uncertainties and firsts that gives the genre its credibility and significance. But this book sheds light on subtle discrimination and the perception of deafness in the context of disability, which I think is important. I'm glad I read this novel. Although it's unlike anything I've read before, it's lacking a bit of that fluttery, jumping-off-a-cliff feeling (difficult put a finger on) that I've gotten from previous stand-out YA novels. But it's definitely worth a try for those who enjoy coming-of-age narratives and want to learn more about the Deaf community. A sincere thanks to NetGalley and Blink YA Books for providing an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Social: @_shelf.awareness on Instagram

  24. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Maya lost her hearing after an illness at age 13. She found herself cut off from the world she knew, but thanks to the amazing Deaf community at her school, she was flourishing. However, her mother's new job forced the family to move across the country, where she had to attend a hearing school. Once again, she was pushed into isolation, but things improved, when she opened herself up to some new friends and some new possibilities. • Pro: This was an #OwnVoices novel, and I really appreciated the Maya lost her hearing after an illness at age 13. She found herself cut off from the world she knew, but thanks to the amazing Deaf community at her school, she was flourishing. However, her mother's new job forced the family to move across the country, where she had to attend a hearing school. Once again, she was pushed into isolation, but things improved, when she opened herself up to some new friends and some new possibilities. • Pro: This was an #OwnVoices novel, and I really appreciated the way Gervais elected to write the dialog parts. I have always known that the syntax for ASL was not the same as English, but this was the first time I have seen the actual syntax used in a book. I also liked the way she dropped words out of the dialog, when Maya was lipreading. I am amazed by anyone, who can lipread, and by writing it this way, Gervais shows us how challenging it can be. • Pro: Maya was sort of angsty at the beginning of the book, but I couldn't blame her. She had start from square one, when she lost her hearing, and now she was thrust into a situation, where she was the only Deaf person, and had to start over once again. But, she blossomed, and not only became part of this hearing world, but also used the opportunity to educate others about issues in the Deaf community and misconceptions about those who are deaf. • Pro: They always say if you make one good friend, you're lucky. Well, Maya was twice as lucky, because she found two fabulous new friends. Both Beau and Nina were very welcoming and made an extra effort to learn how to communicate effectively with Maya. • Pro: I loved that Maya never saw herself as unable to accomplish things. Yes, she needed a few accommodations, but she was just as bright and able as her peers. I liked that she never acted helpless, and that she knew her rights, and pushed to have the services she was entitled to by law. • Pro: The romance was so sweet, but I worried a few times about these two, however, in the end, they were fantastic together. • Pro: The ending was so good!!! It left me in like the best mood ever. Overall: It was so satisfying seeing Maya successfully navigate both the hearing and Deaf worlds, and that she never saw her disability as something that would keep her from achieving her dreams. I am truly happy to have had the opportunity to meet Maya and get a glimpse into her world. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maddie☾✶

    4.7 stars I’m so so so grateful I was able to receive an ARC for this book, it was definitely unexpected favorite of the year. Maya Harris is deaf and when maya has to leave her school for the deaf in her senior year to go to attend a hearing school things change drastically for her. 💫☁️ This was such a simple yet emotional and educational read. it was funny and romantic and had so many different layers. Maya is charismatic, witty and relatable and I absolutely adored reading from her point of view 4.7 stars I’m so so so grateful I was able to receive an ARC for this book, it was definitely unexpected favorite of the year. Maya Harris is deaf and when maya has to leave her school for the deaf in her senior year to go to attend a hearing school things change drastically for her. 💫☁️ This was such a simple yet emotional and educational read. it was funny and romantic and had so many different layers. Maya is charismatic, witty and relatable and I absolutely adored reading from her point of view of things, it was very eye opening and made me want to pick up ASL classes (which I will now be doing over the summer hopefully). There were some inconsistencies in the book with the characters and obviously it wasn’t perfect but honestly the good outweighed the bad for this book. This was such a refreshing book the ease of reading this was so nice and I genuinely didn’t want to put it down and actually got sad when it was over (that’s how you know it’s a good book!!) it was one of those books that just made you fall in love with reading all over again. Im exited to hopefully read more by Alison Gervais. I’m so thrilled for this to hit the shelves and I’m so excited to recommend it to all my friends. Link to preorder:https://www.amazon.com/Silence-Betwee...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carlin

    So many of my reviews I start (or at least want to start) with "I really wanted to love this book, but..." Representation! I love it! But there wasn't much else I loved about this book. You know how in Seinfeld, he'd say something completely homophobic and then just add "Not that there's anything wrong with that..." as if that disregarded the offensive comment they'd already made? Well, that's the character's attitude towards cochlear implants, and I found it completely off-putting. I feel like So many of my reviews I start (or at least want to start) with "I really wanted to love this book, but..." Representation! I love it! But there wasn't much else I loved about this book. You know how in Seinfeld, he'd say something completely homophobic and then just add "Not that there's anything wrong with that..." as if that disregarded the offensive comment they'd already made? Well, that's the character's attitude towards cochlear implants, and I found it completely off-putting. I feel like the novel was written, and the editor sat down and said "well, this is kinda harsh. Can we tone down the CI bashing just a hair?" So then the author added in "It's fine for other people, but not for me." In completely random places and called it a day, not bothering to care that that line didn't actually make sense or align with anything else the protagonist was saying. Many people in the Deaf community feel strongly against cochlear implants- this I do not deny. My problem is Maya's illogical rationale/explanation for her beliefs. I also feel that there's a bit of an opportunity- if not responsibility- to do a better job representing and explaining an extremely nuanced and personal viewpoint that the general population doesn't understand. It would play out like this Friend: Have you ever thought about a cochlear implant? Maya: WHAT??? You hate me and hate the fact that I'm Deaf and I can never look at you again! That's fine for other people but not for me. You hate me and I hate you! Aghhhhh! In other news, I have a really hard time believing the story of a girl who grows up completely neurotypical for 14 (!) years, loses her hearing one day, and then has ZERO grief for the hearing she lost? What about her former life and friends? She spends, what, 2 or 3 years at a school for the Deaf (because she was able to learn fluent sign instantly) and mourns the loss of that life when she has to move- but what about everything she used to know from those first 14 years? And after like 3 years without hearing, she's suddenly so intimidated by hearing people? And really, Mom... Your job is that important where you're going to take a SENIOR in high school and move her across the country, and move from a school for the Deaf to a mainstream school, and ALSO make your medically fragile son with *cystic fibrosis* move to a high altitude town?? Really? I just got re-annoyed with this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    3.5 stars. I can't remember having read a book with a Deaf main character so this was an interesting read for me and I enjoyed the representation. Things I liked: - the portrayal of ASL - I don't know much about it so it was interesting to see how the sentence structure works - Learning about the struggles Deaf and Hard of Hearing people can face - going to school, applying for jobs and college etc - things that hearing people might not even realise they take for granted - Maya's self-acceptance - 3.5 stars. I can't remember having read a book with a Deaf main character so this was an interesting read for me and I enjoyed the representation. Things I liked: - the portrayal of ASL - I don't know much about it so it was interesting to see how the sentence structure works - Learning about the struggles Deaf and Hard of Hearing people can face - going to school, applying for jobs and college etc - things that hearing people might not even realise they take for granted - Maya's self-acceptance - she liked herself Deaf and didn't want to change herself to suit society (i.e. by getting a cochlear implant) - Maya's realisation that she judged hearing people when she didn't want to be judged for being Deaf - Learning about how society needs to be more inclusive of people who are not able-bodied (view spoiler)[(e.g. not having enough interpreters for all the Deaf students at the college, the broken VRI machine at the hospital) (hide spoiler)] Some quotes I liked: - TAKE ME DEAF... "Or not at all." - I didn't need him to be my able-bodied saviour - "I want you to understand I'm not disabled. Literally the only thing I can't do that you can is hear." - It didn't even matter who was Deaf or hearing. We just were. What I didn't like: - Maya kept stressing that cochlear implants (CI) were good for some people but 'weren't for her', yet when she meets a group of kids with CI, they are written as rude and she judges them for not knowing any ASL as if everyone should have the same experiences as her - the romance with Beau was a bit bland - I didn't even realise he was meant to be the love interest to start with because she basically called him a 'try-hard' - Maya's initial reaction to Beau trying to learn ASL was very negative - she assumed he was trying to win 'brownie points' and did not even consider that he was just trying to be friendly and open-minded

  28. 4 out of 5

    Renea

    Thank you to Net Galley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finally. FINALLY. This is the first book I’ve read with a Deaf character that accurately portrays the experience of a Deaf student in a hearing high school. As a CODA and former teacher of the Deaf, I have worked with many students in both the residential and mainstream settings. Although there were times I wished Maya weren’t quite so angry, I quickly realized that her feelings were entirely honest a Thank you to Net Galley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finally. FINALLY. This is the first book I’ve read with a Deaf character that accurately portrays the experience of a Deaf student in a hearing high school. As a CODA and former teacher of the Deaf, I have worked with many students in both the residential and mainstream settings. Although there were times I wished Maya weren’t quite so angry, I quickly realized that her feelings were entirely honest and valid. Gervais covers so many important topics related to deafness, like the use and availability of interpreters, interacting with hearing peers and adults, ASL, the use (and often malfunctioning) VRI, the differences between a Deaf school and public school, accessibility in college, getting jobs, and just general relationships. Maya is fortunate to have a supportive mother who learned how to sign to communicate with her, but that is not always the case. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to get an idea what it is like for a Deaf student in a public school.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carro Herdegen

    Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G After moving halfway across the country, Maya found herself wary about going to a new school for senior year. Maya is not as worried about having to transfer to a new school as she is that the new school is a hearing school—which she hasn’t attended since becoming deaf a few years ago. Fighting discrimination, family issues, and her own self-doubt, Maya has a long year ahead of her. While I found it difficult and somewhat frustrating t Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G After moving halfway across the country, Maya found herself wary about going to a new school for senior year. Maya is not as worried about having to transfer to a new school as she is that the new school is a hearing school—which she hasn’t attended since becoming deaf a few years ago. Fighting discrimination, family issues, and her own self-doubt, Maya has a long year ahead of her. While I found it difficult and somewhat frustrating to miss out on a lot of the dialogue happening around Maya, this also seemed to be part of the point being made to help readers understand Maya and the deaf community. Gervais also did a brilliant job of incorporating conversation and dialogue into the book with the challenge of having a deaf main character. I enjoyed learning more about the deaf community and being aware of those around me as well as about determination and self-worth from Maya as I read her story. Reviewed for https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/

  30. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

    The plot of this book just seems unrealistic. What parents would uproot a kid with a chronic illness and bring him to a high-altitude location that's almost guaranteed to worsen his health? For that matter, what parents would toss their deaf daughter into the deep end of a hearing school when she's only been in mostly deaf communities so far? Honestly, none of this makes sense and it really detracted from my ability to enjoy this book. *Book received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest revie The plot of this book just seems unrealistic. What parents would uproot a kid with a chronic illness and bring him to a high-altitude location that's almost guaranteed to worsen his health? For that matter, what parents would toss their deaf daughter into the deep end of a hearing school when she's only been in mostly deaf communities so far? Honestly, none of this makes sense and it really detracted from my ability to enjoy this book. *Book received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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