The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: August 13th, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository
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.
My first impression of this book is that I highly enjoyed it. It’s not often you get to see disabilities and chronic illness depicted in young adult fiction, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to read this book. Plus there is the fact that this could be considered an Own Voices novel, as the author is hearing impaired herself.
Some people may see Maya’s attitude as off-putting, especially with how short she is with other people when she first gets to her new school. But as a person coming from the other side of the equation, I can completely understand why Maya is characterized as “difficult” or sometimes even a bit short-tempered. There is only so many times you can handle people babying you because they think you can’t do something, or if someone acts without taking the shortest second to consider your feelings as the disabled person, before you kinda just snap at people instead of being “nice”.
I can’t say that I liked the character of Maya’s mom, who seemed kind of irresponsible in how she was treating her kids. She moved them without seeming to think about her son’s condition, and then left them alone for a business trip? Caring for someone with a chronic illness, especially a child, is not something a seventeen-year-old – deaf or not – can handle by herself.
Overall, a very good book, one that I highly recommend you read for a glimpse into a different type of life.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.