Charlie is a bit of a rebel, but she’s eager to start at River Valley School for the Deaf, a boarding school where she will learn sign language, meet other deaf people, and finally fully communicate with the world. Austin is a popular student from a long line of deaf family members–and his new baby sister is shaking up his usually solid world. February, meanwhile, is the headmistress who is fighting to keep the school open (and her marriage intact).
There’s a lot happening in this novel, and in addition to fantastic characters and an absorbing story, it’s filled with revelations about Deaf culture and rights, language, cochlear implants, and so much more. Don’t miss this one.
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True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk
True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.
This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.