Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-When Steffi solves an equation out loud, her shocked classmates turn and stare. At school, Steffi never talks: she's a selective mute with glossophobia and an anxiety disorder. She also has supportive parents, a good therapist and the resolve to communicate at least sometimes-at her part-time job, for example, or with Tem, her trusted friend. It's not that Steffi doesn't want to speak; but sometimes, she just can't. Or, as she puts it: "Meekness is my camouflage. Silence is my force field." This doesn't phase Rhys, however, a new student who is deaf, for whom the speaking world is always silent. That's why he's a good foil and love interest. Unfortunately, he has a habit of editing himself when he signs, keeping his negative thoughts from others and making him hard to read. He may have a wonderful smile, but deep down he's pretty sure that Steffi can do better, which she assures him is not true. Together they build the confidence to find their own voices in a committed relationship. This issues-driven read will make teens care as much about the characters as about the issues that it raises. VERDICT A strong contemporary novel that portrays strength of character through a romance between its protagonists. Recommended as a general purchase.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Steffi does not know why she is unable to speak. She has plenty of diagnoses, including selective mutism and severe anxiety disorder. So her first day in sixth form without her best friend, who has always been there to speak for Steffi, is terrifying. Then the principal introduces Steffi to Rhys, a new boy who is deaf, explaining that Steffi's rudimentary ability to converse in British Sign Language will help Rhys adjust. Rhys is cute and funny, and it's not long before Steffi is crushing badly. A relationship between a girl who cannot speak and a boy who cannot hear is not without challenges, but Steffi and Rhys craft a unique bond that would have been impossible had they both been normal. Barnard gives her characters a bit of racial diversity Rhys is mixed race and backstories that are replete with complicated families and friendships. The result is a delightfully original love story. Recommend to readers who enjoyed John Green's Turtles All the Way Down (2017) or Whitney Gardner's You're Welcome, Universe (2017).--Colson, Diane Copyright 2017 Booklist