cover image Give Me a Sign

Give Me a Sign

Anna Sortino. Putnam, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-53379-6

Sortino celebrates Deaf culture and identity in this endearingly funny slow-burn rom-com debut. White-cued 17-year-old Lilah—who’s hard of hearing and uses hearing aids—is tired of struggling to communicate with her hearing friends and parents, and being forced to live with her school’s lackluster accommodations. Determined to brush up on her American Sign Language skills and reconnect with the Deaf community, Lilah takes a job as a junior counselor at Gray Wolf Camp, a Midwestern summer program for Deaf and blind children, which she hasn’t been to since eighth grade. Once there, she meets Deaf, Latinx-cued Isaac, 18, whose playfulness and patience make Lilah’s heart flutter. As Lilah navigates her initial anxieties surrounding camp drama, her new crush, and her reintegration into a Deaf community, she learns to embrace her identity. But when she realizes the camp is in dire financial straits, she fears that her new haven will soon cease to exist. Through Lilah’s frank and sincere first-person POV, Sortino highlights a variety of Deaf experiences, exploring the community’s pride and culture, as well as the trauma some Deaf individuals face in interactions with strangers and loved ones alike. An author’s note contextualizes the use of ASL in the book’s dialogue. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kari Sutherland, KT Literary. (July)