Title: Tone Deaf
Author: Olivia Rivers
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
His world is music. Her world is silent.
Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.
When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.
story with a swoon-worthy love interest. Tone Deaf will be
music to your ears.” —Jessica Taylor, author of Wandering Wild
surrounds a sweet, vulnerable soul that made it impossible to put down. It is
equal parts fun and touching, with a dash of humor and lot of heart. The
friendships, as well as the romance, have intense, believable chemistry, and
with a giant pitbull named Cuddles thrown in the mix, I was in love!” —Laura
Lee Anderson, author of Song of Summer“Olivia Rivers has hit all the right notes with Tone Deaf.” —A. R.
Kahler, author of Pale Queen Rising and Shades of
Darkness“The portrayal of Ali as Deaf is authentic and modern. She loves rock concerts
for the vibrations and sensory pull of the crowd. She prefers to sign but exasperatedly
reads the lips of people who talk fast or turn away as they talk. As Ali, Jace,
and the band tour amid Amber alerts, surprising emotional connections are
painfully forged and will resonate with young survivors of abuse, especially as
Ali takes small steps toward recovery. VERDICT This gripping
tale of survival has great appeal due to the parallel boy/girl narrative
structure, the portrayal of a Deaf character at home in the realm of music and
songwriting, and the overall pop culture tenor.” –School Library
I walk around the room, running my fingers over the analog mixer, the power amp, the signal processor. I still remember my piano teacher making me learn all the stage technology when I was little. I’d thrown a fit; I wanted to play music, not learn about boring sound systems. But he’d insisted, saying that part of respecting music was respecting the devices that help create it.
I trace the ridges on one of the processor’s knobs. The technology hasn’t changed much since I last performed, but now that I can never be a part of it, the equipment feels cold and foreign under my fingertips.
“You’re missing a monitoring system. How do you play without one?”
The question slips out of my mouth before I can stop it. I don’t really want to know, right? Right. I shouldn’t have a casual conversation with Jace, not after what he did.
Jace raises his eyebrows and walks over to me, his arms crossed firmly over his muscular chest. He pauses to pat a small analog mixer, like it’s a dog needing attention, and then says, “Most of this equipment belongs to the stadium, but we like to use our own tech for the important stuff. Like the monitoring system. It’s already been packed up for our next show.”
I take a step back. “So then you’re leaving soon.”
“Tomorrow afternoon, thankfully.”
I try not to wince. The way he looks at me with disdain as he says “thankfully” makes me think I’m the one he’s happy to be leaving behind, and not this city.
“When do I get my money?” I demand.
Jace looks toward the tech crew guy, who’s standing in the doorway. He’s busy taking another picture of us and pretending he isn’t hearing a word we’re saying.
“I’ll give you the check when we’re done with the tour,” Jace says.
“Forget the tour. You give me that money, and I promise to not go to the media.”
He laughs in my face. “I don’t trust promises, sweetheart.”
I feel like I’m going to explode. Sweetheart? Does he really think he can call me condescending pet-names, after how he treated me? But I guess he doesn’t think that. He knows it. After all, he’s the one with the money and the leverage. I’m tempted to call this whole thing off just to spite him.
Instead, I take in a deep breath and ask, “Why do you use an analog mixer instead of a digital? Wouldn’t a digital mixer be better for punk music? Especially with all your guitars?” If I have to endure Jace’s presence, I might as well talk about something I’m interested in.
Jace blinks at me, and his sneer slowly melts into a frown. “You know about PAs?” he asks slowly. I can tell by the way he hesitates at the word “PA” that he’s trying to test my vocabulary.
I roll my eyes. “Of course I know sound systems.”
“I’ve performed before.”
Jace lets out another scoff. “What venue would allow you to perform?”
His eyes grow wide. “Carnegie Hall?”
I nod. There’s no way I can form any words right now. I haven’t talked about my past for a long, long time, and there’s a familiar stabbing pain in my gut as I mention Carnegie. I remember that night so well—I’d been terrified but exhilarated as I performed with a group of highly advanced piano students. It felt like every single eye in the audience was glued to me as my little hands flew over the keys. Everyone was waiting for me to screw up and prove that kids don’t belong in the most prestigious music hall in NYC.
I performed perfectly. And that was the real start of my music career.
Jace’s eyes narrow with suspicion. “Tell me where the ‘h’ note is on a keyboard.”
“There is no ‘h’ note.”
“Then tell me what an analog mixer does, as long as you’re so interested in mine.”
I rattle off an explanation that leaves him looking mildly impressed. “Great. So you’ve read a Wikipedia article about them.”
“I’m not making it up! I used to play.”
“Then prove it,” he demands.
I shake my head. “I’m deaf now. I don’t play anymore.” I don’t say what else I’m thinking: that I haven’t touched an instrument since the surgery permanently stole my hearing. That I don’t think I could if I tried. That the pain of it would kill me.