When a hard-of-hearing college senior has trouble understanding a professor in a required class, she meets a deaf graduate student who introduces her to a whole new world. When she begins to fall in love with him, though, secrets from her past threaten their happiness.
Carli is hard of hearing, but her father’s disdain for what he sees as her imperfection and her family’s unofficial motto of Handle it on your own have made her feel shamed by her hearing loss. At the beginning of her senior year of college, though, she has difficulty understanding a professor with a big mustache using only her hearing aids; Reed, a deaf graduate student in the class, encourages her to look at options the school offers for hard-of-hearing students and helps her audit an ASL class, since she’s never learned to sign. Soon Carli and Reed are an item, and Carli is quickly enfolded into Reed’s circle of friends. For the first time in her life, she feels at home and appreciated for exactly who she is. But a lifetime of judgment and insecurity makes it hard for her to believe in love and acceptance—and then a visit to her family leads to a horrifying encounter with her father, and Carli learns a devastating secret that alters her hope for a brighter future. Meanwhile, Reed knows Carli’s strength and determination could get her through anything, but her slide into despair leaves him frustrated and unsure how to help. Brown offers a powerful look into the world of hearing loss in this emotional debut, though Carli’s constant internal conflict and refrain of “I’m not good enough” get a little excessive. Nonetheless, this is a notable and groundbreaking debut by an author to watch.
An empowering and satisfying romance.