A compelling and humorous story of friendship from Academy Award–winning actress Marlee Matlin.
Cindy looked straight at Megan. Now she looked a little frustrated. "What's the matter? Are you deaf or something?" she yelled back.
Megan screamed out, and then fell to the ground, laughing hysterically. "How did you know that?" she asked as she laughed.
Megan is excited when Cindy moves into her neighborhood—maybe she’ll finally have a best friend. Sure enough, the two girls quickly become inseparable. Cindy even starts to learn sign language so they can communicate more easily.
But when they go away to summer camp together, problems arise. Cindy feels left out because Megan is spending all of her time with Lizzie, another deaf girl; Megan resents that Cindy is always trying to help her, even when she doesn’t need help. Before they can mend their differences, both girls have to learn what it means to be a friend.
Matlin, the first deaf actor to win an Academy Award, makes her fiction debut with this problematic novel about a friendship between two nine-year-old girls. Megan, who is deaf, is almost opposite in temperament from her new neighbor, the bookish, shy Cindy, but nonetheless decides that Cindy will be her best friend. Much of the book's tension relies on the girls' best-friend status, but the friendship isn't convincingly developed. Nor are the characters even though the point of view alternates between the girls, Cindy seems sketchy next to Megan, and neither voice seems authentic (e.g., nine-year-old Megan asks herself what kind of toys the new girl will have). Matlin is at her best when delving into Megan's inner world, such as her heightened sense of smell (her father like the other parents, distractingly referred to by his first name claims her deafness sharpens her other senses) or her anger at not being able to use the phone, but generally these moments are fleeting and the conflicts they evoke too neatly resolved. Unfortunately, the pages are riddled with errors in grammar and syntax ("Like any other home, dinnertime was a chance to share events of day"; a paragraph written in the past tense briefly switches to present tense and back; etc.), further undermining the storytelling. Ages 8-12.