live out loud one of our main characters is deaf. harper king is not completely isolated, she can read lips, she speaks asl. her closest friend has learned asl in order to communicate with her. But asl is a language that isn't easily translated into the written word. asl is about movement and shape. the author did a brilliant job of incorporating the visual aspects of asl, while also differentiating to the reader what things were spoken and what things were signed.
thor reynolds, our hero, is an up-and-coming rock star. when he catches eye of harper at a gig he is intrigued by her. and her being deaf does not put him off. he's kind of the perfect guy about it really. he even goes out of his way to learn asl in order to communicate more easily with harper.
their first dates they rely on napkins and pens and their cell phone note apps and text messages. harper's deafness doesn't define their relationship. neither does thor's past, even though this is a concept he struggles with. his father was physically and verbally abusive. his mother only recently managed to get out of the toxic relationship and he's still her lifeline to safety. thor is afraid to get truly intimate with anyone because he fears that he will somehow be his father's son. in some ways, harper's deafness tricks him into becoming more intimate that he ever intended.
harper also has her reasons for being hesitant about the relationship. her previous partners were also deaf. and bridging the hearing and non-hearing world is not always a fun place to be, she's done that her whole life. her hearing parents have always made her feel lacking, not purposefully, but it's how she's made to feel regardless. as her relationship with her parents progresses to a better place and she understands her childhood a bit more, this allows her to open up to thor more than she ever intended.
this isn't to say that their relationship isn't without drama. the kind of baggage they carry around means that they are ripe for misunderstanding, and how they work through that will either break them or leave them stronger. this is a romance so you can guess which way it ends up. i really enjoyed harper and thor's story.
**live out loud will publish on april 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.