Give Me a Sign

Putnam. Jul. 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593533796.
Gr 7 Up–Although Lilah is excited about her job as a junior counselor at Gray Wolf, a summer camp for the Deaf and Blind, she is a little nervous. She attended the camp when she was younger and loved it, but she’s worried about how rusty her ASL is because she doesn’t use it with her hearing parents or her hearing school friends. With her hearing aids, Lilah can somewhat pass in the hearing world, hence she doesn’t feel “deaf enough” at times. Happily, she meets Isaac, a fellow counselor who patiently helps her relearn ASL, in addition to providing her with the summer romance she has been longing for. Camp Gray Wolf is just as special as Lilah remembers; it is an inclusive community whose campers and counselors include Deaf, hard of hearing, Blind, and low vision individuals as well as two counselors without a disability. Of the dozen or so staff, two are Black, one is Latinx, and Lilah and Isaac are white. It’s a summer of learning for Lilah—learning ASL, to take responsibility and care for others, as well as how to embrace her Deaf identity and advocate for herself. Mixed in with the summer romance and the minutiae of the camp world, Sortino addresses some more thorny issues, such as when hearing parents with Deaf children reject ASL, why (or why not) one would choose cochlear implant surgery, and the everyday challenges people in the Deaf community encounter when interacting with hearing people.
VERDICT This debut will please readers looking for a sweet love story while also providing a nuanced and thoughtful exploration of some of the issues those in the Deaf community face.

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