The Silence Between Us
Published August 6, 2019
About The Silence Between Us
Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.
And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.
But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.
I don’t know why this sometimes happens, but I ended up reading three books almost back to back that focused on the Deaf community. It was cool seeing how all three authors handled Deaf characters and conversations in sign language in their books, too. I liked that THE SILENCE BETWEEN US included conversations in sign language. It kept the story connected to what was happening and reinforced some of the struggles/problems Maya wrestled with as she did things that a lot of us take for granted, like going to school or needing medical help.
I liked Maya’s relationship with her brother and mom. They made an unusual family, close-knit and loving but still fighting their own battles, too. The relationships felt pretty real to me. I also liked that Maya had different kinds of friends and had to learn how to navigate those relationships, which often took her outside her comfort zone.
I felt like the plot slowed down a lot around the 3/4 mark. Usually at that point a story is ramping up to its final battle or climax, but it felt like Maya kind of lost her focus at that point, and I wasn’t sure what her goal really was anymore. She cares a lot about going to college and focuses a lot on that goal, but I never felt sure whether that was the big plot or whether the romance was supposed to be the main plot.
THE SILENCE BETWEEN US is ultimately a sweet romance about a Deaf girl and a hearing boy who have to figure out how to love and trust one another despite their differences and goals for the future. Readers who’ve enjoyed books by McCall Hoyle, like The Thing with Feathers will like the strong-willed heroine and sweet romance in this book.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Maya is Deaf and her brother has Cystic Fibrosis.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief kissing between a boy and girl.
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