Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. – Goodreads
When the list of ALA signings came out and I read the blurb for El Deafo I knew I needed to have it and not just because of my new found love and appreciation of graphic novels. The blurb spoke to me and I had this need to meet Cece and not only was Cece one of the nicest people I’ve met, she was a pleasure to talk to, also! We also bonded over the fact that I’m an Ashley and her brother is named Ashley!
El Deafo did not disappoint. I devoured it and then re-read parts of it because I loved it that much. Not only do the illustrations give me a warm feeling, it was extremely relateable. Everyone feels like they don’t fit in it, Cece just believes it is different for her because she wears this beast of a hearing aid and while that is partly true, it is also because she’s in elementary school and everyone goes through that phase.
What also drew me in was her family and friends and how they tried to do the best for her and what the believed would work out for her in the end (Spoiler: she’s happily married with two kids! Everything worked out fine!) Cece’s friendships also spoke to me. The mean friend, the friend who worries about hurting you, the friend who you wonder if they really are that nice (and yes they are). I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book, I enjoyed it that much. Not only did the storyline keep me in, but the drawings did, too AND this is the ARC that I read, I cannot wait to read the finished product and see how the color adds to it. This is one I would recommend with no hesitation.