I'm trying to read more books by and or about people with disabilities this year, which means reading them if they're authored by men, even if they're cis het white men, which is a little funny since my goal is greater diversity and understanding in my reading. John's characters do include people of color, and I was rooting for homosexual leanings. The fact that a certain hookup didn't happen gives me hope that I read the undertone right, and that a sequel would include some lady-on-lady action.
Anyway, our heroine, Piper Vaughn, is a Little Miss Perfect high school senior. She is at the top of her class, never gets into trouble, and has few friends, especially since her bestie moved away. Until she hears a band called Dumb (really) playing outside her school. Somehow, even though she's extremely hard of hearing (wears hearing aids, reads lips, prefers to sign), she is transfixed by them.
The band is comprised of brothers Josh and Will and guitarist Tash. Somehow, out of conflict, Piper is dared to take on managing the band. Even though she's deaf, she's into it because she sees something in the band...and wants to raise some money. Piper's hearing parents have raided the money her deaf maternal grandparents left her for college--to pay for cochlear implants for Piper's profoundly deaf infant sister Grace. Yep. That one hurt.
For Piper deafness isn't a disability, it's just how she is, but we come to understand how not being able to hear affects her, especially with regards to her relationships. Piper tries hard to blend in, and it's not until she owns her deafness, that she can achieve true intimacy.
The only thing that really shows that the book is male-authored is that the rock gods that inspire the band members are Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. That's partially because of the Seattle connection, but I don't think that was essential. There are good feminist moments, like female friendship, strong women, girls sticking up for each other and calling out sexism, and the obligatory makeover.