Genre/Category: YA Contemporary, 57k
Struggling with Meniere’s disease and the death of her parents, Alanna is closed off to almost everyone. At seventeen, she should be worried about school dances or kissing boys, not about losing her hearing. The only thing normal in her life is her struggle to pass math.
Desperate not to flunk, Alanna agrees to get a tutor – Jared – who is the same kid she stood up for when a linebacker bullied him in the hallway. Jared is the first guy not to treat her differently because of her hearing aids. He makes an adorable effort at sign language and simplifies the hardest math questions for her. Even his obsession with Star Trek starts growing on Alanna. She wants to open up to him, but she’s afraid he’ll desert her if he learns about the accident that killed her parents, or her attempted suicide. Complicating matters is their shared bully, who knows the truth about Alanna’s attempted suicide since he was the only to pull her out of the car.
As Alanna finds herself falling for Jared, she wants to tell him everything. She must stop lying and accept herself or she’ll lose Jared and never be able to take control of her own life.
FIRST 250 WORDS:
The ball collided with my head, knocking me to the waxed floor. Yeah, yelling at the hearing impaired girl to move as a ball came at her… not the best plan. I should’ve been watching the balls instead of day dreaming about cute shirtless celebrities.
“Sorry Alanna!” The boy’s mouth moved and I managed to figure out what he was saying. The sounds muffled and ran together, but I could hear without my aids in. The words just didn’t always make sense.
Sitting up, I rubbed the sore spot. I didn’t wear my hearing-aids during gym class because I didn’t want them broken if someone threw a ball at my head. I could’ve left them in, but I felt safer taking them out. No one came running to make sure I was okay. No big surprise there. I straightened my dark blue gym shorts and stood. My feet took me straight to the bench. I assumed getting hit in the head meant I was “out”. The teacher, Mr. Carter, watched me with concern. I shrugged and waited. Whoever decided dodge ball was fun, never played with a competitive class of thirty-five students.
When I sat, the boy next to me moved three feet to the left. My fists clenched at my side. Hearing loss wasn’t a contagious disease, but everyone acted like it was. I glanced at the caged clock above the basketball hoop. Sweat ran down my cheek, but I refused to push up my sleeves.
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