Give Me a Sign

­Listening Library. Jul. 2023. 925p. $25. ISBN 9780593682159.
Gr 7 Up–“Why didn’t a kid like me get to be the main character?” Sortino asks in her author’s note. So, she wrote that story herself. Lilah, 17, is experiencing “a Deaf identity crisis.” She’s headed back to Gray Wolf, a summer camp for the Deaf and Blind, graduated from camper to junior counselor. The relationships she forms—particularly with a certain young man—enable new journeys into understanding: “It’s not hearing loss—it’s Deaf gain.” Debut narrator Robbins projects a notable range of emotional conversations and heated confrontations—difficult kids, a destructive tornado, even a violent arrest. To emphasize hearing challenges, producers cleverly replicate unclear exchanges with garbled sounds. Although the production opens with this explanation—“the author has recorded the sound of signed ASL dialogue to assist with differentiating signed from spoken dialogue”—Sortino’s voice doesn’t seem to stand out.
VERDICT The author's words are unmistakable: “your deaf experience is belong.”

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