For the first time since becoming deaf, Maya will be starting school at a public school with hearing kids, instead of being surrounded by kids like her. Maya does read lips but in order to stay on top of her school assignments she has an interpreter who signs for her, making her stand out. She expects the attention, but what she doesn’t expect is for her to make hearing friends, including one cute boy named Beau. The Silence Between Us is the story of Maya’s journey as a deaf teen, building relationships, and standing up for who she wants to be.
This #ownvoices novel deftly explores the difficulty of a deaf teenager navigating life among the hearing. When I started reading this book I’ll admit, I read it from the perspective of a hearing person. Although I do wear hearing aids for a slight hearing problem, I’m not in the same situation as our main character who can’t hear words at all. I had to turn my own experiences off, although I did identify with quite a few, in order to relish the journey that Maya takes and the difficulties she faces at school and in developing relationships with her peers. Maya had an inner strength that was really admirable and allows her to fight for what she believes.
An interesting sub plot of this story is Maya’s interactions with a deaf group her mom signs her up to meet. Prior to moving her group of friends conversed using sign language and when she meets this group she tries to sign with them and realizes that none of them know how to sign and that in fact, they’ve all had a procedure that allows them to hear with hearing aids. This isn’t the first instance in the novel where Maya runs up against the subject where others think she would be happier if she weren’t deaf. Maya’s fortitude and decision-making regarding this conflict was so adult. She is someone who isn’t going to take the easy solution and is happy with who she is. I think we can all learn something from Maya. She stands as a proud deaf person and all of the difficulties that might present in her life as an adult.
If you’re looking for a clean YA with an #ownvoices plot give The Silence Between Us a try. Alison Gervais has a talent for delivering a story that rings true and makes you want to learn more about the subject matter. This is a story that will stay with you for a good long while. In a good way! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
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