This review, due to more poor life choices on my part, was originally written at gone 3am when my brain was kind of melted and my eyes were very tired. Not least because I’d read three books that evening — I was having a bit of a fiction binge. I’ve tried to check it for coherency in transferring it from Goodreads to here, but it’s possible it may still be a bit rubbish. Sorry about that.
I really enjoyed Sara Barnard’s first book, Beautiful Broken Things — I actually reviewed it here a few months ago. So that was my main reason for requesting this one from NetGalley. It came out yesterday, by the way. If I’d been more organised with my schedule I’d have arranged for this to go up a few posts ago, but I’m not. If nothing else, though, I’m quick off the mark for it as an already-published book even if I’m late as an ARC.
I have to admit, I didn’t find this one quite as relatable: I’m not deaf, nor am I close to anyone who is, and while I do have anxiety, it’s not as severe as Steffi’s (plus, it manifests more often as talking a lot and very fast, rather than the mutism that characterises hers). That’s okay, though. Even if it lacked the gut-punch relatability of a lot of books about anxiety-related mental illness, I still enjoyed how the story developed, and watching the characters grow and change.
It’s not easy to review, though, as I found it hard to pick out particular elements that I liked or disliked. My overall impression was a positive one, but when I try and pick it apart, it seems harder than usual. I liked the friendship between Steffi and Tem, and I also found the text-based conversations between Steffi and either Tem or Rhys to be extremely realistic (they seemed a lot like my chats in FB Messenger with my friends).
I think one of my favourite moments was when Steffi sent Rhys a link to a song, and he pointed out that although the link worked fine, his ears don’t: her reaction cracked me up, and felt up-to-date and relatable as how one of my friends might have responded in the same situation.
That said, I found some parts of the book hard to follow, because the conversations held in sign language weren’t marked with speech marks and they sometimes blurred in with the narration. I think this might have been a formatting element of the eARC: they might’ve been in a different font or in some way delineated in the final version. Likewise, I think there were some emoticons that weren’t displaying during the text-based chats, as there were random letters (mostly ‘J’) scattered around. That mildly impacted on my enjoymenet of it, as I had to concentrate to figure out what something should’ve said, but it wasn’t a big deal.
This was probably more romantic than I tend to enjoy, although at least there was more to it than simply physical attraction, and there were some parts I didn’t enjoy as much as others (e.g. anything sex related, although there wasn’t a lot of that). There was also a lot of banter between friends, though, which I enjoyed.
My general impression of this book is pretty vague, as you may be able to tell. Positive, though not in the exuberant this-is-perfect-and-my-new-favourite-book way (because that’s rare), but vague. I enjoyed it enough that I stayed up reading until 3am, and it gave me a fair few feelings. However, I’m not wild about romantic shenanigans, and those formed a fairly major part of teh plot, which obviously affected my response.
Mostly, though I’m just thinking I should’ve gone to bed a bit earlier, so that when I reviewed this it might have been more coherent. Ah well. Too late now. Even my retrospective editing-while-formatting-for-the-blog can’t entirely rescue this one.