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Freak City

Freak City

4.0 1
by Kathrin Schrocke

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When 15-year-old Mika and his two friends follow and yell catcalls at a hot-looking girl, they are goaded by her cool nonchalance as she ignores their obnoxious behavior. Mika, on the rebound from being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, is not about to lose her trail. When he finds her once again, playing pool in a café, he learns that Leah is deaf, and he must decide whether to move forward or move on. Unsurprisingly, his ex-girlfriend resurfaces and flirts her way back into his life, and he seems blind to her insincerity as she works her magic to rekindle his interest. Meanwhile, he and Leah begin to see one another more often. He knows that a relationship with Leah means a serious and unusual commitment; he must learn sign language so they can communicate. There is much for the teens to navigate through here: romance, sex, understanding, and coming-of-age milestones. Mika begins to see his friends through Leah's eyes and it dawns on him that their dumb cruelty is perpetuated by their social ignorance. Even Leah's immediate family is oblivious to the daily struggles that permeate and affect her world. The romantic conflict and the tension of Mika straddling the hearing world vs. Deaf culture elevates the book from typical teen angst drama to thought-provoking novel. Readers are left knowing that the strains of understanding between two cultures are complicated but not insurmountable.—Alison Follos, formerly at North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Hormones, hearing and "Deafness 101" collide to form Schrocke's offbeat novel. When a beautiful girl ignores the catcalls of Mika's horny friend, Claudio, and walks into traffic, Mika stops obsessing about his breakup with catty aspiring singer Sandra for a second. When he meets the girl at the Freak City cafe, he realizes that Leah is deaf. Undaunted, he begins learning sign language in hopes of a relationship, but the stress of negotiating the Deaf and hearing divide might send him running to Sandra. Boys particularly might relate to Mika's alcohol-and-hormone–fueled insights, and his exasperated love for his little sister, Iris, lends a realistic touch of humor. Trivia buff Leah's portrayal is less successful, mostly accomplished through the device that finds other characters reciting facts about deafness. Still, she's agreeably feisty, and her frustration with her nonsigning family rings painfully true. Subplots, such as Mika's father's extreme disdain for signing and hints of an affair, dangle. Numerous clichés and awkward slang, perhaps a result of translation from German, frequently distract from the narrative, but insertions of apropos We Are Heroes lyrics and a performance by real-life deaf rapper Signmark enliven the proceedings. Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb (2010) expresses the Deaf/hearing culture clash with more attitude, but this outing adequately captures the aches and dilemmas of new relationships. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.39(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.79(d)
550L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Freak City 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago