Thank you to netgalley and Pan Macmillan for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As a disclaimer, I’m not differently abled and if something in this post isn’t worded in a good way please let me know and I will endeavour to put my point across in a much better way.
This book follows the growing relationship between a girl who is selectively mute and a boy who is deaf. They communicate using basic sign language and their relationship gives them the outlet for the words they couldn’t previously say.
This book is so wonderful, it was so nice to read a story that was basically your classic summer beach romance but with people who had disabilities and mental health problems. It reminds kids that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t have a teen romance.
I just really enjoyed the way this book was written through not only the sign language but also texts and IMs. You really got to fall in love with the characters as the story went on. There were some adorable moments, some laugh out loud moments, it was just so nice. The dialogue throughout was so believable, despite misunderstandings whether it be through the sign language or misread lips, it all just read so well.
Not only did I adore Rhys and Steffi, but Bernard created a wonderful ensemble of characters. Steffi’s best friend, Tem, was so loyal and is there for Steffi on days when she doesn’t feel like even talking to her. She jut speaks and fills the silence and doesn’t expect anything of Steffi. On top of all that she’s POC and we all love diversity in books!
The relationships with all sets of parents are so well written and interesting to read, and Rhys’ relationships with kids he knew from the school he went to specifically for children who are deaf was so good to read because it is so important to have people who understand things you go through.
One thing that was an issue for me reading this was that I was reading a kindle ARC and I found the sign language confusing because the formatting was hard to understand who was talking to who and I just hope in the full copy it’s a bit easier to read.