cover image The Silence Between Us

The Silence Between Us

Alison Gervais. Blink, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-310-76616-2

Gervais (In 27 Days) uses her own experiences of hearing loss to lend authenticity to this novel about a teenage deaf girl starting over at a new school. Straight-forward Maya Harris, 17, was born with hearing but became deaf after an unexpected illness. Following her family’s relocation from New Jersey—and the school for the deaf where she was comfortable—to Colorado, Maya must attend a hearing school and worries that she’ll struggle to succeed and fit in (“It was not as if I publicly announced I was Deaf—my interpreter and the signing and my hearing aids kind of made that obvious”). New friends smooth the way: mentor Nina Torres is helpful, and overachieving good-guy Beau Watson attempts to learn ASL. But a lack of university interpreters jeopardizes Maya’s dream to attend college and then work in the medical field, and tension over cochlear implants develops in her budding relationship with Beau. Maya at times comes off as more self-involved than self-assured, but Gervais adroitly pulls readers into her world—conveying ASL through all caps and spelled-out words—as well as her work navigating the deaf and hearing worlds and her awareness of who she is. Ages 13–up. [em](Aug.) [/em]