Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Voice for Me by PachasPickMeUp

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Bella and Edward come from two different worlds; one of silence and one of sound. Fiesty Bella starts school at Forks High and turns jaded Edward's world upside down. Can they find their own voice through true love? AH, Canon pairing, and "M" for lemons!


Reading 'Voice for Me' was a more personal experience than it may be for some. While I am not Deaf, nor do I know someone who is, I have had to use sign. When my youngest brother was born he was perfectly healthy, then as a toddler he suffered from a series of ear infections which resulted in several surgeries for his ears. By the time he began preschool, he'd already suffered minor hearing loss.

As a result, at the age of 11, I threw myself into learning sign. I unfortunately didn't get very far, only learning things simple enough to be self-taught from a library book, but I was able to teach myself enough to communicate his basic needs. This skill came in handy several years later when my son was born, his verbal delays creating a boundary between us. Without sign, I don't know what I would have done to communicate with both my brother and my son.

My brother is now 16 and my son is 6, and while both of them are able to hear, my brother does have permanent hearing damage to one ear. I know that my experience in NO WAY compares to those who are Deaf or have family who are Deaf, but I like to think it has made me more understanding. The fact that my brother came so close to losing his hearing makes me want to advocate for the very special people who have.

Learning sign had always intrigued me after that, so when I found 'Voice for Me' it was like a window into a world I had once been so passionate about. PachasPickMeUp is a penname for two incredible authors, KymClark and KylaPricky-- they are also sisters.

I spoke with KylaPricky about her reasonings behind writing 'Voice for Me' and found that together, they are writing this wonderful story from their personal experiences. KymClark and KylaPricky are the children of Deaf parents, letting everyone else into the world of Deaf Culture.

We get to experience this adventure through both the eyes of Bella, who in this story is Deaf and knows very little of the hearing world, and also from Edward, a boy in love with a girl who can't hear him and who knows nothing of being Deaf. Their story is a bumpy one, as they learn about each other and the world the other lives in; because while they might both be from Forks, WA, they are NOT from the same world.

It starts off with Bella getting ready for her first day of class at a hearing school, a place she has never been to before. Although Alice is a breath of fresh air on her first day, having been assigned as Bella's interpreter during school hours. But it just so happens that Alice's younger brother's, Emmett and Edward, attend Forks High also, and it's evident that even from the beginning, there is some sort of connection between Edward and Bella.

Our eyes locked. His glowing green eyes set my stomach on fire. I couldn't understand his reaction to me. Why did he seem so offended? Was he scared of me? No, he couldn't have been, not a strong man like that. Well what the hell does that look mean? The staring contest was intense. It did strange things to my body. I wanted to look away, but I couldn't. It's as if I was mesmerized. I raised my eyebrows at him, silently asking him what the hell was going on. He looked away quickly, let out a big breath and shook his head back and forth. What? Why does he look so bothered? He didn't have to give up his seat for me. That was by far the strangest encounter ever.

Edward, on the other hand, has a different view on Bella's behavior:

"What the hell is wrong with you guys?" I blurted out.

"Edward..." Oh shit, Dad used his "serious father voice," I better watch myself.

I looked around and everyone was glaring at me and then I made the mistake of looking into the wrong eyes. The big, brown, wrong eyes to look into.

She made a face like she was absolutely disgusted. Her eyebrows gnarled, her mouth open and those eyes were on fire. She pointed at me with her little pointer finger and signed to Alice. Oh, well she's a pointer too.
Does she know no manners?

Don't let these little interactions fool you, this story is entirely about Bella and Bella discovering all there is to know about the other. Edward is eager to learn about Bella's life style and to be accepted despite all his mistakes when it comes to offending the very out-spoken (well, with her hands) Bella. On the other hand, Bella is trying to understand Edward and the life he lives. It's not always easy when it's a life so vastly different from the one she's grown up in.

She waved goodbye and as she turned out the door she threw me a sign. One I knew I had seen before, but for the life of me couldn't recall.

I don't think I've ever seen that sign from Bella either...

I looked to Alice and she was positively dripping with gush. Jazz shushed Alice teasingly and shook his head at her.

"What did Bella just sign to me." I asked.

Alice giggled and squeaked, "I love you."

Not everyone is as accepting as Edward and his family, however. Many people think that the Deaf are not their equals, that they are beneath them in some way because they cannot hear. Those who are not simple-minded know this not to be true. 'Voice for Me' will show you every side of a very touching story, winning over you heart with every chapter that you read.

You can also catch some extra chapters with the Alice & Jasper Outtakes.

You can also follow both authors on Twitter: KylaPricky and KymClark.

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