Bell, Cece. El Deafo. New York: Amulet Books, 2014. Print.
image from: www.amazon.com
I'd seen this graphic novel discussed on blogs that I follow. I didn't dismiss it after I realized it was middle grade, but I didn't purchase it for the high school library collection, either.
This summer, I was able to start reading it (Thanks to the Dick Smith Library @ Tarleton State University) http://tarleton.edu/library/ and then I ended up buying a personal copy so I could finish the story.
This narrator of this story is an elementary aged student, but the themes discussed in this story are ageless.
Cece is deaf. She must wear a special device that helps her hear. She hates being singled-out and "different" from the other kids. As the story progresses and Cece grows older, she realizes that we all are different in some way. Being different is a GOOD thing. However, as a child, she doesn't get that realization. Because of the hearing device she wears, she creates an alter ego--El Deafo--a super hero who faces and overcomes the things that Cece can't.
One of the things I liked about the story is the concept of friendship. Cece changes herself to be liked. She hides her true feelings to be liked. She doesn't stand up for herself to be liked. Yet, she is miserable. When she allows herself to be true, real friendships develop, and she is happy.
After reading this, I think I will donate it to the high school collection. I will have students pick it up because it's a graphic novel, but they will read it because they will identify with the story (even if they aren't deaf--again, we are all different).
The story is over 200 pages and is a Newbery Honor Book. It is also based on the true life of the author, Cece Bell.