Thursday, January 21, 2016

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Summary from Goodreads:
Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school--in the the teacher's the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it's just another way of feeling different... and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.
I’ve really grown to love graphic novels. It’s books like this one that easily explain why this is so. I just loved this story. I loved reading from this perspective. The main character was deaf. She also kept envisioning herself as a comic book hero. She was a smart main character with just the perfect amount of sarcasm. What’s not to love?
I loved the ins and outs of all her friendships. The problems that arose with her friends are problems that any friends might go through (deaf or no), and that’s what’s really special here. This book can be relatable to anyone who has ever felt different. And let’s be honest, isn’t that everyone?
I felt for Cece when she had a friend who took advantage of her. And I felt so bad when another friend just seemed to up and leave for no good reason. I know what it’s like to go to a new school where everyone else already seems to look like they belong. These are all such universal pre-teen problems. And reading about them in this format was a nice change of pace from a typical book. Also, the characters all being rabbits allowed for me to distance myself just enough from it all that none of the embarrassing moments were too embarrassing to read.
Of course, there were also the deaf specific problems –like not understanding what was happening on tv or being able to listen to music with the neighborhood kids. Watching Cece overcome such problems and learn to accept and love who she was, was just so empowering and wonderful to read. I also feel like I took away a thing or two about hearing aids and deaf culture. And it was so nice to learn about. It’s not very often where I get to read from such a unique perspective.
The artwork was adorable. Like I said before, I liked that I could distance myself from the rabbit characters and not ever feel like I couldn’t keep going when stuff got too “real.” It’s also super colorful. All the daydreams of being a superhero were so much fun to look at and added an almost fantasy element to the whole thing. All in all, this was a great one. I give it a 9/10.

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