*I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Give Me a Sign
Author: Anna Sortino
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 11, 2023
Lilah is stuck in the middle. At least, that’s what having a hearing loss seems like sometimes—when you don’t feel “deaf enough” to identify as Deaf or hearing enough to meet the world’s expectations. But this summer, Lilah is ready for a change.
When Lilah becomes a counselor at a summer camp for the deaf and blind, her plan is to brush up on her ASL. Once there, she also finds a community. There are cute British lifeguards who break hearts but not rules, a YouTuber who’s just a bit desperate for clout, the campers Lilah’s responsible for (and overwhelmed by)—and then there’s Isaac, the dreamy Deaf counselor who volunteers to help Lilah with her signing.
Romance was never on the agenda, and Lilah’s not positive Isaac likes her that way. But all signs seem to point to love. Unless she’s reading them wrong? One thing’s for sure: Lilah wanted change, and things here . . . they’re certainly different than what she’s used to.
This incredibly sweet and impossibly charming novel is an absolute delight to read. A summer romance, a coming of age, and a journey to understand oneself, it follows Lilah in her journey at summer camp to delve into knowing herself, her history, and who she wants to become. It’s always a joy to uncover a new debut author who’s just rocking it with their writing, and Sortino fits the bill. Her characters are relatable and reflective of teens today. Though each character is on their own journey, they come together at Camp Grey Wolf to unite and build friendships and community, while also learning more about ASL and Deaf culture.
Lilah is someone who falls in the middle. Her hearing loss isn’t entire, but it’s enough that it makes day-to-day life in the mainstream a constant and tiring challenge. To get through the week, she’s having to explain herself, sit silently in passive acceptance of being out of the loop, or withstand the constant spotlight of requesting accommodation. She often feels too Deaf to fit in with the hearing community, but not “deaf enough” to fit in with those who’s hearing loss is much more severe than her own. In this grey area, she’s begun to feel lost and misguided, not knowing where she belongs. Camp Grey Wolf is a camp she attended as a child and her return there could be just the thing to help her uncover her own passions and direction.
At it’s heart, this is a story of friendship, self-love, community, acceptance, and identity. It’s packed full of great characters, beautiful connections, and incredible self-growth. I absolutely recommend this story for this summer and I think that many readers will love this story as much as I did.