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GIVE ME A SIGN

Readers will love this sincere Deaf coming-of-age story.

A Deaf teen from the Chicago suburbs explores her identity at summer camp.

Seventeen-year-old Lilah was born severely deaf. Though she’s able to get by with hearing aids, FM units at school, and lip reading, she feels disconnected from the hearing world around her. Camp Gray Wolf, designed for deaf and blind kids, was the only place where she could use ASL and accept her deafness. But the rising high school senior hasn’t been there since eighth grade. Feeling pulled back to the community, she applies for a counselor position. But camp isn’t perfect either—her signing isn’t fluent, and she feels like she doesn’t totally fit in with the Deaf world. Readers will relate to and root for Lilah as she starts a summer romance with Isaac, a Deaf fellow junior counselor, and confronts her feelings about her own deafness. The author captures a common feeling for people who fall into the hard of hearing category: feeling like they are not hearing enough and yet not deaf enough. She also explores other Deaf experiences such as meeting condescending saviors and navigating scary interactions with the police. Secondary characters, including a Deaf family in which one member gets a cochlear implant and a child whose father belittles and all but forbids ASL, expose readers to experiences of deafness other than Lilah’s. Lilah reads White; there is some racial diversity among the supporting characters.

Readers will love this sincere Deaf coming-of-age story. (note on the text, author’s note) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9780593533796

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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