Author: Lucy May Lennox
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
"Kassie has felt adrift ever since her dad died when she was in college. Now 24 and living in Seattle, she gets interested in learning sign language through her roommate, a sign language interpreter. One day at a Deaf community event, she sees a young man sitting off by himself. Kassie feels compelled to try signing to him–the fact that he’s strikingly handsome doesn’t hurt.
Jake has been deaf and blind since birth. His disability has cut him off from the world, but beneath his isolated exterior, is a smart, sweet guy with a dry sense of humor. Despite the odds, he’s highly educated, but at 26, he’s gotten stuck in a rut, with few friends and no clear career plans. Until a sweet-smelling girl introduces herself to him unexpectedly, and opens up a whole new world to him.
Jake is more intelligent, more genuine than anyone she has met before, and for the first time Kassie starts to feel like her life has some direction. But as their friendship deepens into something more, the difficulty in communicating with each other only grows, and it seems like everyone they know thinks their relationship won’t work. How can they come to a deeper understanding of each other, and find a future together?" ~Goodreads
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love this book and consider it to be one of my all time favorite books. I wish that every single person would read this book and love it as much as I do BUT I am aware this might not be everyone's cup of tea. One of the saddest things for me is when people go into a book expecting one thing only to be disappointed because it turned out to be different. SO before I tell you why this book is amazing, I want to tell you what this book is NOT:
- This book is not "action" packed. There are no car chases or explosions.
- This book is not drama filled. Even though this book is technically a New Adult, it does not have all the typical drama and angst that a lot do. Of course, there are moments of tension but nothing over the top, in my opinion.
- This book is not fast paced. Rather it is a slow burning fire of warmth. I have read this book 4 times and each time I have read it in one sitting so it is not a slow read by any means, but go in expecting to savor the loveliness of everyday interactions.
Okay, enough of that. Let's move on to why I LOVE this book!!
Ah, what can I say? I have thought about writing this review so many times but lack coherent words to express my feelings about this book. SO I figured I would just babble on in the hopes that you might get something out of it.
Kassie meets Jake at a Deafblind meet-up that she attends with her roommate. Although she is not very proficient in Sign-Language she attempt to communicate with Jake by tracing the letters on his palm. This first meeting goes poorly as both of them have trouble communicating since Jake, having been born Deafblind is also not very proficient in Sign-Language. His Intervener (a person who works one-on-one with someone who is deafblind) informs her that he actually communicates using the Deafblind Manual Alphabet. After that meeting, Kassie goes home and practices the alphabet and ends up using it during the next meeting. The communication is still slow but not stagnant. Jake ends up getting her e-mail and they begin to message each other frequently and begin to form a relationship. The rest of the story illustrates their relationship, the struggles they face in regards to family, friends and themselves, and the love and joy they bring into each-others lives.
The first thing that drew me into this story was the fact that Jake was Deafblind. I had read a few books with a deaf main character and one or two with one who was blind but having a main character who was both opened up my eyes to a whole new world. This book gave a voice and face to a group who doesn't often get to be in the spotlight. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting anyone who is Deafblind so I can't vouch for how authentic the portrayal is, but it felt very genuine. The author, Lucy, didn't try to romanticize it or to downplay it. We saw the struggles and hardships Jake faced but she also made Jake a strong character who didn't sit around wishing he was someone else. He realized his weaknesses and worked on them and on becoming even stronger and more self-sufficient. I loved that Kassie at times was doubtful about how a relationship between them would work because it made it more realistic. I also loved that she wanted to help him become more self-sufficient. She acknowledged his limitations but wasn't willing to not push him to strive for more.
This book was so abundant with love and understanding. I am so used to books now a days being filled with unrequited love, or the bad boy-good girl trope, or any of the other million dramatic and often exaggerated struggles that couples face in New Adult and contemporary books that it was SO refreshing to see a couple who's primary struggle was a real life disability. I thought their relationship was so sweet and I loved their time together. Everything from Kassie teaching Jake to cook to their interactions at the meetups. I appreciated the intimacy of their conversations. It wasn't about expressions or spoken words but about communicating through touch and feeling. Jake always pointed out that you could tell a lot about a person through their hands and it made me appreciate the subtleties of communication. Even though I have now read this book 4 times I get filled with such joy and warmth when I even think about this story and these characters. Lucy could write a book of their day to day lives and I would read it in a heartbeat. It is one of those rare books that focuses on the characters without much frill and jazz, yet it sucks you in and enchants you.
I have a hard time expressing how much this book means to me (as is probably evident by this review) because it touched me in a place deep in my heart and my soul. It made me cherish the blessings I have been given and it made me strive to live my life to my full abilities. I had been trying to teach myself some sign-language and braille as well but after reading this book I realized I also wanted to learn the Deafblind manual alphabet because that would open doors to communicating with a whole new group of people. Communication is a big thing for me. It is the reason why I love learning languages and why I want to become an Interpreter. Communication bridges gaps between people of all cultures, religions, sexual orientation and all walks of life. And what a wonderful gift Lucy gave me by providing me with a whole new means of achieving communication that I wasn't even aware of before. I did teach myself the Deafblind manual alphabet after reading Love In Touch and even though I am far from being fast or proficient in it, I keep practicing.
Here is a picture illustrating the basics of the Deafblind Manual Alphabet for anyone out there interested in learning!
Overall, this book is a lovely illustrator of so much of what is beautiful and important in life. I hope that if my inadequate review sparks your interest in reading this book that you will get even a 1/4 of what I did out of it. Thank you, Lucy. <3
Let me know what books have changed your views on life or have opened your eyes to new experiences!