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.
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?