A distressingly insightful vision of the future that also offers warmth and hope.

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THE WORDS IN MY HANDS

Sixteen-year-old Piper McBride searches for her place as a Deaf person in a mildly dystopian hearing world.

In a near-future Australia, the prime minister is a puppet of the Monsanto-like lab-engineered food corporation Organicore. Most people eat Organicore’s nutritionally balanced food products, believing the propaganda that “wild food” is dangerous. With food and fuel prices skyrocketing and supplies tanking, Piper decides to learn how to grow her own food. She meets Marley, a CODA, or child of a deaf adult, who introduces her to Australian Sign Language and to his Deaf mother. Piper, a Deaf person raised oral (with lip reading), and Marley, a signing CODA, must each figure out their relationships to the hearing and Deaf worlds and their relationship with one other. This gentle yet honest story is true to one Deaf experience and is a pleasure to read, with artistic designs on every page and full illustrations and personal touches scattered throughout. The text and illustrations also introduce readers to basic permaculture concepts, including how to start a compost pile and how to set up a mandala garden. Asphyxia skillfully interweaves subjects, including the diversity of Deaf language usage and access, Deaf interactions with the police, and having a friend in an abusive relationship. Piper and all other main characters are White.

A distressingly insightful vision of the future that also offers warmth and hope. (author's note, art journal ideas, note on ASL and Auslan) (Dystopian. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77321-528-0

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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