When I requested this book on Netgalley, I was merely curious about the premise. I definitely did not expect to be completely blown out of the water by how powerful this book is.
I received an ARC via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.
And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.
But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.
Since this is a character-driven book, I don’t feel like there’s a lot I can say about this part of the book. That’s not to say that this book is boring. There are some very emotionally-suspenseful scenes, a really sweet romance–and a couple of times my heart was pounding in worry.I definitely could not stop reading this book. It never felt slow, never felt too fast.
As for the characters, I loved them all. Especially Maya. She’s so true to herself and willing to chase after what she wants in life, nothing holding her back. This felt especially poignant because she’s Deaf. I loved learning about the Deaf community through Maya’s eyes. There’s so much I didn’t know.
Maya’s little family consists of her mom and little brother, who has cystic fibrosis. Their relationships are so tender and beautiful. I tears up at times to see how amazing her mom is. Maya’s friend Nina is amazing as well. She’s such a good friend to Maya when she really needed it.
And then there’s the love interest, Beau. Wow, I have not shipped a ship this hard in a long time. Maya’s and Beau’s relationship is pretty rocky at times, but I loved the slow-burn and how they dealt with their problems. It felt realistic. And oh so sweet.
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone and everyone. It’s such an amazing, needed story.