Carli is a Hard of Hearing college student who wears hearing aids to class. When one of her hearing aids runs out of batteries she meets Reed, a completely deaf student who offers her a spare. Meeting Reed opens her up to a life that she had always lived on the fringe. Learning ASL and hanging out with other deaf and hearing impaired students makes her realize how much of life she had been missing. Reed fills a hole that she hadn’t realized she had, guiding her into this new life as a friend and then boyfriend.
During her journey we learn a lot about Carli’s background. She grew up in a family where excelling was extremely important and falling behind because of a “little hearing problem” was unacceptable. That pressure added to her insecurities and as the novel goes on we find out the basis for Carli’s hearing loss. The tone of the story shifts from a bright excitement at her new life with Reed to a dark undertone of abuse. I’ll admit, this shift caught me by surprise, but it wasn’t an unwelcome change. Hearing Loss is normal, and this author treated it as something for Carli to learn and explore, but not a major conflict. They needed a larger obstacle to overcome before finding their happy ending and boy did they get one!
Signs of Attraction was actually filled with a lot of backstory and subplots as Reed had a pretty big sub plot as well. I liked how the author made this story about so much more than that they were deaf and fell in love. Life has all sorts of challenges and sometimes they hit us all at once, just as they did for Carli and Reed in this novel.
I liked both of these characters although I did want to kick each of them a couple of times when they made a decision that I didn’t agree with, but it kept my interest. I wanted to see what path they would take to remain together. This was my first book by Laura Brown and I’m intrigued by the hearing loss subject matter. Hearing Loss is something that a lot of people can relate to and I’m glad she’s bringing attention to the subject and yet keeping it real.
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