Joint Review: The Silence Between Us

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Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble

Today we have a first for the blog. The two of us are going to be reviewing the same book! It was fun to read it and discuss it amongst ourselves, and now we’re going to share how we felt about this book with all of you!

Many, many months ago we were both approved for The Silence Between Us on NetGalley. When we realized that we both had an e-arc, we jumped at the chance to review this book together. Though it did take both of us quite a while to actually get around to reading it, we still managed to finish this book over a month before it was released, which isn’t always the case, so we’re very impressed with ourselves!

The Silence Between Us follows a Deaf girl named Maya as she navigates a hearing school for the first time in many years. We were both initially excited for this book because of the Own Voices disability rep. The author, Alison Gervais, is hard of hearing, and we both agree that she did a great job at representing a Deaf main character. There were so many little things that added to the experience, from the choppier way conversations in sign were represented, to how you only were able to read the words that Maya saw while lip-reading, instead of the full sentences that people were speaking. It really helped us get a feel for how Maya’s communication as a Deaf girl differs from those that are hearing.

That being said, throughout the book we both found it very hard to connect to Maya as a character. There are some points of the book where it felt like we were supposed to feel sympathy or sadness, but the writing just did not help deliver that. There was nothing in the story itself that made us care, or want to keep reading very much. The characters and storyline never quite made us want to keep reading more. It wasn’t so much that it was a bad book, it’s more that it was a little bit boring at times.

One part of the book that highlights the underdevelopment of the plot and characters was Maya’s little brother, Connor. Her younger brother was a major character for the book plot-wise, with his cystic fibrosis being the reason the family moved to Colorado in the first place, and his illness being the reason Maya wants to become a respiratory therapist. However, despite all of that, he just wasn’t developed enough to make us feel much of anything. There was never a time that we felt the depth of his illness and its effects. It was all very surface level.

And as for the plot, there wasn’t much going on. What is mentioned in the synopsis on Goodreads, doesn’t even happen till pretty much the end of the book. This just made the book feel like it dragged on, and like not much was happening, partially because nothing much was happening. The synopsis mentions a romance, struggles with college, and debate over a cochlear implant. Those things don’t really come into play until much later and weren’t as big a deal as we expected.

We know that all these negatives might make you think that it’s not a good book. But honestly, it’s not a bad book. The main reason why we didn’t give it a higher rating is that it could have been so much better! As we mentioned the representation was fantastic, and the idea of the plot was very good, but we just felt that the execution was lacking.  For Chana, this translated into a three-star read, while Malka gave it two stars since it took her a lot longer to read than she would have liked.

We still would recommend this book, since it just seems like this was a case of it’s not you, it’s us. While this book fell a little flat for us, we’d still recommend reading it just for the awesome disability representation.

Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble

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What’s a book that underwhelmed you recently? Is there any book with great disability rep that you’d recommend? What’s the most recent book you read with a misleading synopsis?


16 thoughts on “Joint Review: The Silence Between Us

  1. Awww its sad when the representation in a book is really stellar but you don’t connect with the actual character. It’s especially sad that you couldn’t relate to her little brother… typically kids are easy to write so that readers fall in love with them! So this really shocked me about your experience. I’m sad that you couldn’t rave about this book more… but how neat to do a dual review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was pretty bummed about it, but it was still a good book! The representation was great and I would look out for more of the author’s books in the future. It was so fun to do a dual review! Usually, Malka and I don’t read the same genre so we rant about the books we’re reading to each other without fear of spoiling, but it was nice to actually discuss a book this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to see that this book fell a bit short for you! Representation is extremely important, but being able to connect with a character is even more important, because if you cannot connect, you cannot appreciate the rep to it’s full extent? Perhaps that part is just me though.

    I loved how you guys wrote this joint review! Would Bruno and I be able to do the same thing as we would credit you guys (obviously) for the idea!
    -Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the connection to the MC definitely fell flat, but I think it was the way that the rep was put forth that made it so good. Like it didn’t matter so much that we couldn’t really connect to Maya, because the way she lived and dealt with being a deaf teen was portrayed so wonderfully through the writing.

      Oooh, dual reviews are so fun! I would love to see one that you guys do together!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d like to pick this up just for the dead representation! I love how it shows Maya only reading lips and catching certain words of a sentence. That must be really cool to read about. It sucks there wasn’t much connection with the characters, though. Great review!
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

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  4. I love that this book is an own voices read from an author who is hard of hearing. It sounds like the book gives readers some of the experiences of navigating the world without hearing. It’s too bad y’all weren’t able to relate well to the characters and that the synopsis is a bit misleading.

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  5. I got an ARC of this several months ago but decided not to review because I honestly didn’t know what to say?? I kind of forgot the bulk of the book, haha. I definitely agree about Maya’s brother. Especially after reading Five Feet Apart, I was hoping we’d go into his story. I can’t personally speak on the deaf representation, but I am studying ASL. I especially liked how the author talked about cochlear implants and the controversy over that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear that! I think that’s part of the reason why Chana and I reviewed this together. I didn’t love Five Feet Apart either, but it definitely gave a much more in depth and important look into cystic fibrosis that this book was missing. I want to learn ASL so badly, which is part of the reason why I was so excited to pick up a book with Deaf rep! I think there were so many great aspects in terms of the Deaf community, but everything else felt a bit flat to me. I really appreciated the author’s note at the end though!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree that Connor was the reason they moved to CO, but for me, this was more about Maya finding her place in the hearing world. After her illness, she went to a school for the deaf, and spent the majority of her time with other deaf people. Now, she was the lone deaf person, and it was an adjustment for her. She was angsty, but I thought Maya grew over the course of the book, and even looked to educate others about the deaf community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I loved reading about her journey in the hearing school, and I also really enjoyed seeing how she adjusted and made new friends! That’s one of the reasons I gave the book 3 stars, it was good, but there were a few parts of the story where I felt a little bit of a disconnect, which is why it didn’t get a higher rating.

      Liked by 1 person

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