We spend a lot of time on the podcast talking about the importance of representation in the media. So I’m sure absolutely no one is surprised that I immediately took the opportunity to grab an ARC of Anna Sortino’s debut novel GIVE ME A SIGN which has so much Deaf representation (and different kinds of it!) that I’m bursting from the joy of it all.
Lilah feels like she’s stuck in the middle - not “deaf enough” to be a part of the Deaf community, but not hearing enough to meet the world’s expectations of “normal.” But this summer, things are going to change. Lilah becomes a counselor at her old summer camp for the deaf and blind and finds a community she didn't realize she was missing. Between her responsibilities as a counselor and the financial woes of the camp itself, Lilah is in for an interesting summer. Especially when Isaac, a dreamy Deaf counselor, volunteers to help her with her signing.
The vibes of this book are ✨perfection✨ in all the ways that matter. First (and most importantly) we get a glimpse into how much it work it takes to just exist in the world as a Deaf person. The entire story is told through Lilah’s POV and being inside her head allows us to witness all the micro decisions she has to make that hearing people don’t ever worry about. Even though we’re talking about a work of fiction, I really felt like I was learning something while reading this story.
Then there’s the summer camp and summer romance. It felt like such a breath of fresh air, like I was remembering what it was like to be a kid and carefree again. The community and the friendships that they formed were so expertly written and captured all that same energy I remember from my (very brief) time at camp. The budding romance between Lilah and Isaac feels incredibly wholesome and pure and it's incredibly heartwarming to watch develop.
This book is filled with so much joy and is truly a celebration of the Deaf community and Deaf pride. Sortino weaves such a lovely story that manages to capture so many ups and downs that had me tearing up with emotion. Even in the moments of discrimination and isolation, hope still finds its way to the surface.
GIVE ME A SIGN, Anna Sortino’s beautiful debut novel, is available now and you can pick up a copy for yourself here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will also be supporting indie bookstores like my local fave Linden Tree Books without whom this review would not be possible! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."