College student Carli has always tried to downplay that she wears Hearing Aids; her father has always believed in perfection in his daughters and Carli considers herself the ultimate failure. But when Carli meets Deaf student Reed she finds herself understanding the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in a whole new way. She begins to learn ASL, she meets more people like her and she even starts to trust. But as Carli and Reed start dating, can they both overcome the tragedies in their past?
This is only Laura Brown’s second book and I thought this was a great showing of her writing talents. I’m not really a New Adult fan (I tried it and couldn’t make it work) and I didn’t realize this was New Adult when I first picked it up. But I felt that this one avoids the parts of New Adult that I don’t like (over the top drama, womanizing jerks, and immature characters). There were times, especially in the beginning of the book where things were alluded to or hinted around, most likely to build tension, but they came across as confusing. I think sometimes an author has every little detail of a story in their head so their understanding of the characters and plot is so full that they sometimes forget that the reader doesn’t know these things. So there was some confusion in the beginning.
The author is also Hard of Hearing herself so both Carli and Reed and their experiences were very authentic. You can really see their struggles but also see how you can accomplish anything even when you’re Deaf/Hard of Hearing. The diversity in Deaf/Hard of Hearing characters was also great because just like people with hearing, no one is the same.
Reed was a wonderful hero who was smart, caring, mature, and a great source of support for Carli. He really had his life together and was a refreshing break from the usual player hero I’ve been seeing lately. As for Carli, she had more issues due to her upbringing under her abusive father, but she was also a great character. She was so determined to make it as a teacher and to be independent and strong even though she considered her hearing status as a disability. It was great to watch Carli grow into herself and begin to accept herself for who she was. There are some hard moments for these two especially after Carli is injured, but they both are willing to admit their mistakes and try to be better people.
There were a few plot holes that bothered me, in particular the issue surrounding Carli’s hearing. I don’t know what goes into diagnosing someone as Deaf/Hard of Hearing but something was a little off for me (see bottom of page for spoiler). I also think it’s a bit odd that Carli didn’t realize the true extent of the abuse in her household, to the point that she doesn’t even know it’s happening. The portrayal of her father makes me think that he wouldn’t have just stopped beating her. And I get that with limited hearing it made it easier for Carli’s sisters to be abused out of sight and Carli not to hear anything. I don’t have experience with abusive families so I might be totally wrong about this.
References to past abuse
Do you know what hearing loss sounds like? I do.
All my life I’ve tried to be like you. I’ve failed. So I keep it hidden. But on the day my world crashed down around me, Reed was there. He showed me just how loud and vibrant silence can be, even when I struggled to understand.
He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever known. His soulful eyes and strong hands pulled me in before I knew what was happening. And as I saw those hands sign, felt them sparking on me, I knew: imperfect could be perfect. Reed makes me feel things I’ve never felt. It’s exciting…and terrifying. Because he sees me like no one else has, and I’m afraid of what he’ll find if he looks too closely.
The only thing that scares me more than being with him? Letting him go.
Published by Avon on July 26, 2016
Highlight Below to See Spoiler
Carli was born with hearing but when she was 4, her abusive father beats her so badly that she has a traumatic brain injury that is never discovered. I would assume if a person came in for hearing aids or any other check up on their hearing the doctor might run tests to determine the cause? I feel like her brain injury (which also caused concentration issues) would have been discovered way before she reached 22. Maybe I’m wrong but that bothered me.