A poignant novel partially set in a world of silence
High school senior Theo is fluent in two languages: spoken English and sign. His parents and brother, Jeremy, are deaf, but Theo can hear, which has over the years cast him in the role of interpreter for his family. Unfortunately, it's not a welcome duty, especially in the case of his mother, Palma. She is a successful sculptor who, being deeply suspicious of "hearies," expects Theo to act as her business manager. And Jeremy relies on Theo for company and homework help. It's become especially frustrating lately because Theo has met a fascinating new girl at school, Ivy, with whom he wants to spend as much time as possible. Theo's father, Thomas, is the only one who has never burdened him, but that changes when Thomas has a stroke. Palma, frightened and self-absorbed, cannot bring herself to nurse her husband, leaving Theo with the full burden to bear. But with the help of Ivy and some of her friends, Theo is finally able to change his family's dynamics and find time to plan his future.
About the Author
JEAN FERRIS is the author of many novels for young people, including Of Sound Mind, Bad, and Across the Grain, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She lives in San Diego, California.
“Both a thought-provoking study of just when being deaf matters and when it does not, and an unusually rich coming-of-age story that explores universal issues of family responsibility, emotional maturation, love, and loss.” —Starred, Booklist
“A moving exploration of the extraordinary demands a disability places on a family as well as the effects of an exceptionally strong personality on a household.” —The Horn Book
“Ferris has written an absorbing novel with a strong, endearing protagonist . . . This fine novel explores a world about which most people know little.” —VOYA