A year after being diagnosed with hearing loss, twelve-year-old Rayne is doing her best to live a “normal” life and act like nothing has changed.
But her hearing keeps failing her. Even with hearing aids, she has trouble following conversations and hanging out with her friends the way she used to. Her grades are slipping, surfing is now a wipeout, and she can’t understand the lyrics of her favorite singer’s new songs. Rayne’s parents are pushing for her to get cochlear implants, which could restore her hearing—though she would hear sounds differently than she did before her hearing loss. Rayne isn't convinced the surgery for CIs is worth the risks and challenges. In fact, she's terrified of it. She begs her parents to consider other options, but they're not budging. With the surgery looming, Rayne sets off on a search for alternatives. Along the way, she discovers that “normal” can have many meanings—and that even though her ears may be broken, she is not.
"Asterisks replace unheard words of dialogue in this moving middle grade novel, based on the author's own life, that follows an adolescent girl's struggle with both progressive hearing loss and her parents' insistence that she get cochlear implants."—The New York Times Book Review "Rayne is a likable protagonist, and readers will root for her. An interesting story of a particular deaf experience."—Kirkus Reviews