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Author of The Words in My Hands

9 Works 127 Members 11 Reviews


Works by Asphyxia

The Words in My Hands (2021) 51 copies
Future Girl (2020) 39 copies
Grimstones Collection (2015) 9 copies
Hatched (Grimstones) (2014) 8 copies
Mortimer revealed (2014) 7 copies
Whirlwind (Grimstones) (2015) 7 copies
Music School (Grimstones) (2015) 3 copies


Common Knowledge




Representation: Deaf main character, child of deaf adult
Trigger warnings: Ableism

6/10, an original and interesting sci-fi and realistic contemporary YA novel. The details on the page are amazing, and the main character Piper is complex and flawed, but she makes some bad decisions, which landed her in prison, and I can't excuse that. Also the world building started to fall apart, the dystopia was so easy to fix, just grow food and that's it? Really, that's so convenient, I don't know how the government didn't realise this, and why they couldn't just make renewable energy in an oil crisis? At least I learned how Deaf people were treated and how they lived, that's one good part of the book. The end was ok when Piper finally gets accepted into her job and I got to see her character develop when she learns Auslan and celebrates her Deafness rather than just using lip reading and the character dynamic between her and the other character Marley was good.
If you want a more convincing and terrifying dystopia, try Fahrenheit 451 or 1984 instead of this book.
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Law_Books600 | 1 other review | Nov 3, 2023 |
The Words in my Hands (November 30, 2021). by Asphyxia . Annick Press, first edition, 384 (Arabic numbeered pages). Hardcover ISBN 10: 1668835302 ISBN 13: 9781668835302. Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 - 16 years Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ HL750L Grade level ‏ : ‎ 7 - 11. PZ7 .A825 2021 AURA. (Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 388 pages ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1773215280 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1773215280
AUHS_Library | Oct 2, 2023 |
Originally posted on Just Geeking by.

I've reviewed this book as a part of an event I am hosting in September 2021 called GeekDis. GeekDis is a collaborative event for members of the disability community to talk about disability representation in pop culture. You can learn more about GeekDis here!

Everything about this book is brilliant. As the synopsis states, the story is set in the near future where the food supply has been completely replaced with a scientifically produced food that contains everything people need including medication that has wiped out most common viruses and diseases, as well as obesity. As with all future utopias, the solution is not as ideal as it first appeared, and The Words in My Hands starts right as things begin to fall apart.

The protagonist, Piper, is right in the middle of things due to her mother’s job. As the world she’s known falls apart, Piper becomes aware of whole new worlds she never knew existed. One of these is the Deaf community which she is introduced to through Marley, a CODA, Child of a Deaf Adult. As Piper’s story unfolds, so does the many difficulties, judgements, biases and blatant discrimination that Deaf people have to deal with. While ignorance most often comes from strangers, The Words in My Hands shows the reader that it can just as easily come from those closest to us.

While this is a book about a Deaf teenager, it is so much more than that. Piper’s Deafness is a part of her whole story, just as much as her art, her learning to step out of her mother’s shadow and struggling to come to terms with what’s happening to her relationship with her best friend. I started to develop my health conditions in my teens, and I saw myself in Piper’s story in many ways. When she used art to express herself, I especially understood where she was coming from, what she was feeling, and the need to get those feelings down somewhere so that they made sense.

Art accompanies the entire book, every single page is decorated in some way as if you are actually reading Piper’s journal. It makes it feel so much more authentic, and it’s visually stunning. It’s not just the wonderful illustrations providing a visual guide to items or characters, it’s the colours and the textures. Even though it’s printed 2D pages it doesn’t look that way at all and as an artist I could tell what was supposed to be made with paint, paper etc. Piper also explains a lot of techniques as she tries them out, so it was a lot of fun as I read to match up her art tests with a page.

I wondered whether The Words in My Hands would relate to current times in any way, and the answer is, yes, definitely. It was quite eerie how easy I could imagine the world going down this route, considering some of the food shortages we had at the start of the Pandemic. Since the start of certain political changes here in the UK, there’s started to be noticeably fewer items available in supermarkets and sometimes there are times when the supermarket has a shortage of something for a bit. While reading The Words in My Hands I started to recall things I was taught about plants as a child, and some diagrams, such as the one for creating a compost heap, look like they could be quite handy.

I expected to learn a lot from this book in terms of the Deaf community, I didn’t quite expect to learn as much as I did about growing plants, nor did I expect there to be a guide to sign language – although I will note that it is Australian Sign Language (Auslan), not British/American Sign Language so if you do want to learn (as I do) please note there are differences.

I highly recommend The Words in My Hands for its representation, the storyline, character development and the beautiful art journal style and illustrations. Most books offer the reader one thing, whether it’s a good story or information, and this one is giving you multiple things in one.

For more of my reviews please visit my blog!
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justgeekingby | 6 other reviews | Jun 6, 2023 |
Piper is forced to compensate for her deafness to maintain her mother’s image. The hearing aids cause headaches. Lip reading is a continual confusion that Piper would rather give up on. Piper is 16 when she is introduced to the Deaf community and alternative forms of communication.

In the midst of all this, “wild food" has started to become obsolete with the transition to bioengineered food called recon, manufactured by Organicore. Due to budget cuts and inflation, Piper’s mom lost her job as lead scientist at Organicore. The loss of income created food scarcity, limited transportation, and a housing downsize. To survive, Piper must completely restructure her life.

The Words in My Hands is a young adult dystopia. Asphyxia wrote dialogue as how a Deaf person might hear something, and reading those exchanges is heart wrenching. There is exquisite character development. Asphyxia demonstrates that misfortunes are just opportunities to reengineer current circumstances.
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RandyMorgan | 6 other reviews | Feb 22, 2023 |




½ 4.4

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