25 March 2015

Signs by Anna Martin

Hey everyone,

If you read my March TBR post you'll know I was super excited by this book. I was so intrigued by the characters, the premise and the use of social media in the novel. Also I’ve read Anna Martin before and she has yet to disappoint!

The book:

After spending most of his life in special schools, Caleb Stone now faces public high school in his senior year, a prospect that both excites him and threatens to overwhelm his social anxiety. As a deaf teenager, he’s closed himself off to the world. He speaks a shorthand with his parents and even finds it hard to use American Sign Language with people in his local deaf community. But Caleb finds comfort in his love of photography. Everything he can’t express in real life, he posts on his Tumblr. 

Struggling to reconcile his resentment for his father's cruelty with the grief of losing a parent, Luc Le Bautillier scrolls through Tumblr searching for someone who might understand his goth look and effeminate nature. When Luc reblogs a photo by Caleb, sparking a conversation, they both find it easier to make friends online than in person. 

Luc and Caleb confront their fears about the opinions of the outside world to meet in New York City. Despite Caleb’s increasing confidence, his parents worry he’s not ready for the trials ahead. But communication comes in many forms—when you learn the signs.

My thoughts:

Signs is one of those brilliant quiet books. Nothing dramatic happens. It isnt full of angst and intense emotions. But its real, and incredible and full of heart. The novel is driven by the love between Caleb and Luc, two teenagers who have both suffered and are just looking for someone to understand and accept them. 

In this world of availability, how does a person whos unable to communicate with the outside world find their place in it?
My name is Caleb. Im deaf.
This is my blog.

I loved the character of Caleb. He was smart, sensitive, funny and brave. He wouldnt let himself be defined by his disability, yet at the same time he realises that other will. Perhaps because of his disability he is unusually mature for his age. After all hes had to learn how express himself in a world that is constantly in motion and movement. Small things, such as being able hold a conversation in a car when driving are impossible for him. For Caleb social media, particularly Tumblr, is a place of creativity, where he is judge solely on his artistic skill. It is through the photographs on Calebs Tumblr that he meets Luc, an self-identified emo from New York.

Begin gay and looking the way he did made Luc a target for people who could hide behind a mask of anonymity. He really wasnt in the mood for it

I loved that almost immediate connection between Luc and Caleb wasn’t sexual at first, but was instead based that indefinable quality that surrounds all our friendship. I also loved how they both online stalked one another after making that first connection. Admit we all do that when someone like our post, tweet, pin etc! I thought Luc was perfect for Caleb because he never treated him differently despite his disability. Sure he was aware of it and made adjustments but he never saw Caleb as less. Instead to him Caleb is special.

Caleb was different from these friends. He wasn’t New York worldly; he was shy and sweet and fragile and innocent. And for some reason, he was interested in talking to Luc”.

The interactions between Caleb and Luc are beautiful to read about. They way they learnt to communicate through more than words but through glances, touches and gestures. Going on the age of the two heroes I believe Signs could be classed as YA yet the themes and the level of sex in the book would probably allow it to sit more comfortably in the New Adult section of the book shop.

Also because I could quote almost any page from this book Ive decided to leave you with one of favourite passages from Signs, both for the message it provides and the insight it will give you into Calebs personality.

Because Im deaf the message thats sent to me is that Im somehow damaged, that disabled people dont have the same happy, contented lives as able-bodied people. Its been implied by my own teachers that Iincapable of raising children who can hear because I cant. Like somehow the ability to hear is linked to my ability to love?
I want a husband and a couple of kids. Is that so much to ask?”.

My rating:
Happy reading everyone and see you next time!