Tag Archives: deaf

Signs by Anna Martin

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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.


Caleb is a deaf, high school photography enthusiast who only wants to be normal. His past has made him a misfit in the deaf world and his present makes him a misfit in the hearing world. He is an amazingly hard worker and doesn’t realize how lonely he is.

Luc is a Goth teenager living in Manhattan. He’s surrounded by people who don’t understand him and only has a handful of people who truly care about him.

Both boys are looking for high school to end and yet both really couldn’t want more different things from life. Luc likes attention and hates the East Coast. His mother really isn’t… there and his sister is the person who he looks to for love and support. Caleb is an only child who is close with his parents but only wants to blend in and be invisible and can’t wait to move to NY.

When Luc sees a picture taken by Caleb online he is instantly attracted to it and the boy behind the art. They make a long distance, electronic connection that eventually leads to video chats, multiple daily texts and emails and finally an in-person meeting.

Though neither boy is “out” and neither has ever had a boyfriend (or girlfriend) they know that they are interested in the other “that way”.

From this point forward the boys move their long distance relationship along, growing closer and closer, spending more and more time together, both emotionally and physically.

When Luc needs a shoulder to cry on it’s Caleb he seeks out. When Caleb gets disappointing news, Luc is the one who can bring him out of his funk.

Finally, high school is over, Caleb is scheduled for an important surgery and college can be the next thing the boys tackle… together.


Wow! This is an amazing book. It is so simple in its premise: boy meets boy, boy kisses boy, boy falls in love with boy, HEA. But… each MC is so richly drawn and carefully constructed that the simple story only showcases the complexity of its characters.

The boys live polar opposite lives, but somehow have similar experiences of isolation and loneliness. They want their parents approval but don’t necessarily NEED it. They both love and hate their peer group and want to be their own true selves.

Though there are moments of tension, most of this story is a really slowly blossoming love story and coming of age story in one. Both boys grow and change and seem to fit better in their own skin by having known the other.

I have no idea if there is a part two, but there should be! When we leave both boys are really on the cusp of manhood and though you know their love is deep and abiding, I would love to see what happens to them on their own, with their new lease on life.

Anna Martin writes so smoothly that the story flows without effort and you are sucked into the lives of Caleb and Luc instantly, from page one.

I loved how the back story for each boy was never completely, fully explained, but dribbled out as the other learned it, in a very organic and real way. I really want to know what happened to Caleb to make him stop speaking and why Luc has nightmares, so I hope there is more to come for these boys.

The sexy times were sweet and tender and totally age appropriate, and though the story line is YA I think anyone would appreciate their story. Sex plays a role, but not the central role.

I can’t praise this high enough! 6 of 5 hearts!




PS Isn’t the cover so beautiful?!

Aaron audiobook by JP Barnaby

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Two years after a terrifying night of pain destroyed his normal teenage existence, Aaron Downing still clings to the hope that one day, he will be a fully functional human being. But his life remains a constant string of nightmares, flashbacks, and fear. When, in his very first semester of college, he’s assigned Spencer Thomas as a partner for his programming project, Aaron decides that maybe “normal” is overrated. If he could just learn to control his fear, that could be enough for him to find his footing again.

The Story

Just. WOW.

This is an absolutely amazing book. Amazing.
JP Barnaby manages to take an absolutely horrific event and funnel it through the mind of a teenager. Can you imagine? Being a teenager is hard enough as it is. Then add being a gay teenager, just coming into your own sexuality. Then add in a brutal, horrible attack that leaves you physically and emotionally scarred and your best friend, dead. It is incredible that Aaron had the will to live, and JP even explains HOW he manages to avoid suicide.

It is completely believable, and touching, and so, so painful, but sweet and hopeful at the same time. I couldn’t read/listen to it all at once. I had to take breaks, read lighter books in between. But when I got to the end, I said “I MUST read Spencer!” and started it immediately.

One of the things I absolutely found so powerful, was JPs ability to show us (without telling us) the areas where Aaron’s family – despite ALL their best intentions – were NOT helping him. She also showed us where the fact that he was a teenager (and thus prone to illogical thinking and hormone driven decision making) impacted his event even more so than it would have on an adult. Aaron lived through this event at such a pivotal time in his life and JP does an amazing job of showing us just how pivotal it was.

Then you have Spencer. (Sigh) I LOVE Spencer. I wish I KNEW Spencer, I would hug and love him up. Such a fantastic soul and such a huge heart. He takes on Aaron and sees through to the boy he is/could be and simply loves him. He has his own demons, and this makes him empathetic and vulnerable and wonderful It is a testament to the power of love in the act of healing. So very touching. I can’t say enough about how wonderful Spencer is.

JP also paints a detailed, if flawed, picture of Dr Thomas, Aaron’s parents/siblings, and all the other people in Aaron’s life. She is accurate down to her coding and tech-speak, but not didactic or pedantic.

It was a hard book to read/listen to, but so worth it.

I had not read any JP Barnaby books before this, but you can bet I am a fan for life now.

5 out of 5 hearts

The audio
Tyler Stevens can read any book to me any day. He did such an amazing job with the language, the tonal qualities of Spencer’s speech. (Spencer was born deaf, but can and does speak throughout the story.) Tyler subtly changes the voice for all the characters in a way that is helpful to the story and not distracting in its “over acting”.

His reading pace is good, his voice quality clear, his emphasis on the dialog perfection.

I would specifically look for him as a narrator, he is that good. I really hope he reads Spencer when the audible version comes out.

I liked the audible version even better than the book (shocked gasp!). It was that good. Tyler just made me feel the characters in a way that when I went back to read the book, his intonations were what I heard.

I highly recommend this audio version, the book, the series, the author, the narrator.

Ok, I sound a little fan-girl, but really. Go now and buy them.