Author: McElfresh, Lynn E.
Jade is the only hearing member in her family. When she and her older sister Marla end up on the same softball team it looks like it's going to be a long season.
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (11/15/12)
School Library Journal (-) (03/01/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2012 Fourteen-year-old Marla has just returned home from her residential school for the deaf, and her younger sister, 12-year-old Jade, is already acting immature. Jade, who’s been anxiously awaiting softball season, is crushed when she’s forced to be a benchwarmer on Marla’s team in case Marla needs an interpreter. Told from the perspectives of both Jade, in standard prose, and Marla, in translated American Sign Language, which uses many language shortcuts (“Weekend fun. Play many game”), this realistic story explores the dynamics of a family with both hearing and deaf members. McElfresh also tackles controversial issues in the deaf community: Jade, the only hearing member of the family, wonders how Marla’s life would have been different with a cochlear implant, and their parents attend a Gallaudet University protest, which is based on an actual event. Just when the sisters’ sibling rivalry comes to a head, their responses to an accident help them see each other’s strengths. An enlightening book, no matter one’s abilities. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2013 The Gilbert family is a legendary one in the Deaf community, running Bradington Academy for deaf students and regularly participating in political action, such as protests at all-deaf Gallaudet University. To fourteen-year-old Marla, who attends Bradington, this identity is the core of her existence. To Jade, twelve, it can’t be, because she’s the only hearing member of her deaf family. The sisters’ simmering rivalry hits the boil when their parents move Jade into the senior summer baseball league along with Marla, where the girls’ sporting failures and triumphs and close friendships all become fodder for sisterly battles. The story deftly blends both familiar and unusual family dynamics, with the sisters’ ability to make each other crazy universally recognizable even as their concerns about exclusion based on their deaf and hearing status add a special slant. The details of a Deaf-dominant family are matter-of-factly incorporated into the narrative, with Jade taking them as much for granted as Marla. The constant ferocity of the sisters’ battling drowns out some of the more interesting aspects of the book, however, and the climactic drama that results in a new relationship for the two is a hackneyed device; the limited English used to relay the deaf characters’ thoughts and dialogue does effectively convey a different language use but marginalizes their communication. The sibling rivalry story will still ring true to many readers, though, and the identity exploration is a useful younger complement to Ferris’ Of Sound Mind (BCCB 10/01) and Johnson’s Accidents of Nature (BCCB 6/06). DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2013 Gr 5–8—Twelve-year-old Jade is hearing; her fourteen-year-old sister, Marla, like much of their family, is deaf. Tensions mount between the sisters when they play on the same summer softball team. Set against the 2006 Gallaudet University student/alumni protests, the story gets a lot right: Jade's experience as a hearing child in a deaf family; Marla's defensive adolescent arrogance; the oppressive assumptions of hearing people the family encounters; the empowering values of Deaf Culture as depicted through successful Deaf adults with typical expectations of their children, whatever their hearing status. Unfortunately, the book's format may lead to misconceptions among readers not versed in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture; Jade's point of view appears in standard English, but Marla's point of view and signed communication are rendered in a stilted, present-tense-only patois that seems to be trying to approximate the order of ASL signing but only makes the characters sound illiterate and unintelligent. Jade incorrectly describes her signing style as "Exact Signed English" (the actual term is "Signing Exact English") and her family's ASL as "sort of a sign language shortcut." While it is believable for a child her age to misunderstand that ASL is a real language with its own grammar and linguistic structure separate from English, the fact that her misperception is never corrected for readers, not even in an author's note, is inexcusable.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.