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Freak City Hardcover – January, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When 15-year-old Mika and his two friends follow and yell catcalls at a hot-looking girl, they are goaded by her cool nonchalance as she ignores their obnoxious behavior. Mika, on the rebound from being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, is not about to lose her trail. When he finds her once again, playing pool in a café, he learns that Leah is deaf, and he must decide whether to move forward or move on. Unsurprisingly, his ex-girlfriend resurfaces and flirts her way back into his life, and he seems blind to her insincerity as she works her magic to rekindle his interest. Meanwhile, he and Leah begin to see one another more often. He knows that a relationship with Leah means a serious and unusual commitment; he must learn sign language so they can communicate. There is much for the teens to navigate through here: romance, sex, understanding, and coming-of-age milestones. Mika begins to see his friends through Leah's eyes and it dawns on him that their dumb cruelty is perpetuated by their social ignorance. Even Leah's immediate family is oblivious to the daily struggles that permeate and affect her world. The romantic conflict and the tension of Mika straddling the hearing world vs. Deaf culture elevates the book from typical teen angst drama to thought-provoking novel. Readers are left knowing that the strains of understanding between two cultures are complicated but not insurmountable.—Alison Follos, formerly at North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
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