Sara Novic


True biz (adj/exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk.

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history final, and have doctors, politicians, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.

A story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. This is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.


Sara Nović’s first novel, Girl at War, won the American Library Association’s Alex Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is an instructor of Deaf studies and creative writing and lives in Philadelphia with her family.


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