Updated: Mar 19, 2021
About the Book
Book: Seeing Voices
Author: Olivia Smit
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Release Date: April 15, 2020
Skylar Brady has a for her life—until a car accident changes everything.
Skylar knows exactly what she wants, and getting in a car accident the summer before twelfth grade isn’t supposed to be part of the plan. Although she escapes mostly unharmed, the accident has stolen more than just her hearing from her: she’s also lost the close bond she used to have with her brother.
When her parents decide to take a house-sitting job halfway across the province, it’s just one more thing that isn’t going according to plan. As the summer progresses, Skylar begins to gain confidence in herself, but as she tries to mend her relationship with her brother, she stumbles upon another hidden trauma. Suddenly, she’s keeping as many secrets as she’s struggling to uncover and creating more problems than she could ever hope to solve.
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About the Author
Olivia Smit loves baking, visiting small towns, and writing stories that face hard truth with hope and encouragement. Olivia has an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing, English Language, and Literature and lives in Canada with her family. Seeing Voices is her first novel. Learn more here.
The book starts out slow but with a lot of unanswered questions about Skylar's accident and her brother's strange actions. Those questions kept me reading until I really got to like and care about the characters. I've never really taken the time to think about what it would be like to be deaf and have to live among the "normal" people, and Olivia does a great job portraying the struggles-- I really felt for Skylar and can't imagine losing my hearing.
There's not a whole lot of action in this book, but every little thing that happens is a big deal and shapes Skylar's growth. She struggles with why God let her suffer the accident, wondering if He's out there and loves her. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but her breakthrough at the end is one of the most beautiful and emotional moments I've read in a long time. When I finished the book, I had to sit and think about life for a minute.
I love books that make me think, that challenge me on my worldview, and this book did that. I recommend this book to girls who are searching for the hard answers-- why God allows suffering, how to cope with family dysfunctions.
More from Olivia
Although “Seeing Voices” is not the first book I ever wrote, it is the first one that felt like it held a little piece of my heart. Skylar and her older brother, Mike, popped into my head one afternoon, both coping with the aftermath of a car accident in totally different ways. It took me ages to figure out what kind of story they belonged to, but right from the beginning I knew it would be a story about siblings and families, pain and guilt, and also (perhaps most importantly!) togetherness and love.
In so many ways, “Seeing Voices” was for me, before it was for readers. I wrote the rough draft when I was 18, fresh out of high school and still figuring out a few tricky situations within my own family. As I wrote about Skylar and Mike, I poured a lot of my own confusion and emotion into the pages, trying to make sense of my own feelings of responsibility, frustration, and ultimately, hope. Words from the book still float through my mind when I’m in certain situations, little reminders of lessons I learned once and need to hang onto with both hands.
I prayed my way through the writing process, trying (and failing) to find a story that fit with Skylar and Mike, who felt so much like real people. I prayed through querying, trusting that if God wanted this story out there in the world, He would find it a home … and if He wanted Skylar and Mike to be a story just for me, I would be okay with that, too. In so many ways this process has been a team effort, and I feel convinced that this isn’t my story, after all — it’s God’s, and I’m just doing my part to help tell it.