cover image The Gift of the Girl Who Couldn't Hear

The Gift of the Girl Who Couldn't Hear

Susan Shreve. Tambourine Books, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10318-7

The frenzied anticipation and anxiety of a junior high audition for Annie provide the background for this lively and intelligent story. Eliza, a talented singer, is terrified to sign up for auditions although she has dreamed about starring in the musical since the third grade. But she's been friends with Lucy--who has been deaf since birth--even longer, and is amazed when her friend decides to try out. Eliza swallows her fear, however, and promises to attend the audition as Lucy's conductor. With her sunny personality and generous spirit, Lucy is immune to the cruelty that seventh-grade girls can dish out, while Eliza bridles at every snicker and smirk as Lucy struggles through her audition. The girls' characters are skillfully contrasted, and their tale is chronicled with a fresh, exuberant and upbeat style that moves the book along to its gratifying conclusion. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)