Read my lips ISBN: 9780744590531
Published by Walker, 2002
Cat lost her hearing from meningitis when she was five. Sent to a residential school, she was so frightened that she refused to speak. A new friend, Bee, helped her learn sign language, and from then on she became a 'signer' rather than a 'speaker' (or lip reader), and herein lies a problem. The signers and speakers are enemies at 'deaf city', their nickname for their school, and these enemies can be rough. When Cat, now seventeen, meets Joey, a speaker, she learns that she really wants to use total communication - both methods - because it will fit her better for the outside world. The tensions this debate brings on makes up the rest of the story. Friendships are threatened, and bullying becomes the order of the day. Opinions and reasoning are well aired, and problems with Cat's mother are also brought into the open. While aimed at older teenagers (the love affair is a gentle and believable one), there is nothing in the style or approach that years 7 and 8 could not enjoy. If feelings in the deaf community really do run this high, this should be a valuable and necessary airing of them.