Talk Under Water by Kathryn Lomer
Published July 2015 by UQP
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: Will and Summer meet online and strike up a friendship based on coincidence. Summer lives in Will's old hometown, Kettering, a small Tasmanian coastal community. Summer isn't telling the whole truth about herself, but figures it doesn't matter if they never see each other in person, right?
When Will returns to Kettering, the two finally meet and Summer can no longer hide her secret – she is deaf. Can Summer and Will find a way to be friends in person even though they speak a completely different language?
I've always wanted to read Kathryn Lomer's books, I've had What Now, Tilda B? on my shelf for a while now, but still haven't read it. So I was thrilled to see her new release, Talk Under Water. Will and his dad left Keft the small town of Kettering, Tasmania after his mum left them. They sailed to Sydney on their yacht and Will has been home schooled by his dad. He and Summer strike up a conversation online, and soon Will and his dad are heading home so he can return to high school, and so his dad can start a new job in his field of marine biology.
What Summer decided not to to share is the face that she is deaf and has been since birth. Her father taught her sign language and how to read from an early age, but he died a couple of years ago. Summer tried out high school but after being bullied, returned to being home schooled by her mother.
At first Will is angry that Summer hid this aspect of her life from him, but eventually they become friends. This sparks an interest in sign language, he enrols in a course and starts teaching himself by watching videos online. The relationship that develops between the two teens is beautiful, and Summer conveys this development in letters that she writes to her deceased father.
I loved how instructional and descriptive the narrative was when it came to sign language, I could easily picture the conversations Summer and Will had. I have a cousin who is deaf and I think when she first visited us during my primary school years, I found sign language fascinating and there was a period where my group of friends sign-spelled everything to each other. Looking at the Auslan alphabet now I can see our signs were very similar, but I never took it further.
Talk Under Water is a beautiful story of friendship and first love and would be a great read for teens and adults as a great conversation starter on acceptance and tolerance.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.
I love this quirky cover and decided to do a fishy manicure to match.
I used 2 coats of Ulta3 Black Satin for the base and acrylic paint for the fish.