Tone Deaf – Olivia Rivers – Sky Pony Press – Published 3 May 2016
Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.
When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.
Tone Deaf reminded me of Angie Stanton’s Rock and a Hard Place crossed with Colleen Hoover’s Maybe Someday, mixing romance, music, hearing impairment and abusive home situations.
This book was enjoyable to read, and easy to devour. I love characters who have serious struggles to contend with and both Jace and Ali have suffered abuse at the hands of their families. As a result they are hurting and distrustful. They join together, Jace reaching out to Ali and Ali in return delving into Jace’s life and offering her own type of support.
Ali is deaf, but at times I forgot this while reading the story. Her ability to read lips, use ASL and even speak translated well to the written word, along with her descriptions of sounds as vibrations. It added another layer to the story, which I liked.
The romance is sweet and passionate, two hurting teens coming together and finding support they never expected is a lovely thing. And Jace’s band mates bring humour, comic relief, more romance and Doctor Who references.
My only problem with this story was Ali’s reliance on others to help her exit her abusive situation. I’m not saying she should do it alone, quite the opposite, I love that she could rely on Jace, his band mates and even her best friend to provide support and safety, but I would have liked her to be the hero of her own story at the end, even if it was only through the way she thinks about her situation. But it is a happy ending, nonetheless, and an enjoyable book.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Music, Abuse, family, romance, boy bands.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Mature themes, abuse.
Published: 3 May 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 256 pages.