Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 331
sweet YA contemporary #ownvoices story
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
THE SILENCE BETWEEN US is an #ownvoices story about Maya, a senior in high school who has just moved with her mother and young brother who has cystic fibrosis to Colorado. Maya dreams of becoming a respiratory therapist. Maya also happens to be a deaf. Maya lost her hearing when she was 13, so she has speech, although she often prefers signing in part due to the inability to hear her own voice. In Colorado, she will be going to a hearing school for the first time in a while, and this presents its own issues.

At her new school, she is given an interpreter, Kathleen, and a student guide, Nina. Although life has taught Maya to keep her defenses up, she begins to like Nina and a boy at the school, Beau. The book follows Maya through a year in her life, observing the prejudices and assumptions she faces. These have made Maya face new people with a bit of ferocity, mainly because she frequently has to stand up for herself. As Maya gets to know Nina and Beau better, she opens up and also educates them, and the reader, about her life and the prejudice she faces.

While the romance gets off to a rocky start, I ended up really loving the couple and their path together- it wasn't always perfect, but there was a lot of understanding between them that grew as the book continued. Seeing what Maya faces and the ingrained prejudices of the world was really educational for the (hearing) reader and brings new awareness for the way the world still treats people with 'disabilities.' Through a school project, the reader also hears about some of the history leading to the ADA, but it is also clear how much further we have to go.

I also appreciated the presentation of speech. The reader gets everything through Maya, so ASL is presented in the way it is spoken, and her lip reader gives only a few words of a sentence, leaving her (and the reader) to try to fill in the blanks. This adds to her perspective and helps the reader to really grasp Maya better.

Overall, this is a great YA contemporary (clean) romance that follows Maya as she navigates a new school and plans for her future. The addition of representation by a Deaf character was really beautifully done. Highly recommend for people looking for a sweet, engaging, and educational romantic read.
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