The Words in My Hands by Asphyxia felt a little too real despite being set in a dystopian future. Tell me if this sounds familiar: the cost of gas is so high that people park their cars, but so too, is the cost of electricity so people are also turning off the heat and the hot water to their houses. In this book, they are also eating lab-created food, which is supposed to stop diseases, but was pushed through so fast that it didn’t go through enough testing, and it is causing other problems. People don’t have kitchens because food delivered, people don’t grow their own food and there are few trees left because people keep cutting them down. And there is a food shortage and people are going hungry.

In this crazy world we live in, the book didn’t feel as dystopian as I liked.

It was also frustrating in the beginning as main character Piper is Deaf and her mom insists she be normal, so she wears hearing aids that cause instant migraines and lip reads. What she hears is what we as the reader reads, which is a lot of nothing that Piper tries to decipher what people are saying in order for it to make sense. There is a lot of guesswork. No wonder she has migraines: I got a headache and was frustrated trying to figure it out myself.

However, once she meets Marley, who introduces her to sign language, and Robbie, a Deaf woman who is growing real food in her gated backyard, Piper herself becomes less stifled and more herself. I like Piper, as well Marley and Robbie. Such interesting characters.

The book itself is cool as well and one that will look great in my library. It’s hard cover and is created like Piper’s art journal – splashes of paint, paper (which is impossible to come by – no trees) and sketches that Piper herself has created.

Great story and character, great warning about the future we are creating, but also a sense of hope that we can get through things if we work together.

Asphyxia is a Deaf artist, writer, public speaker, and art journal creator with a passion for Deaf activism and sustainable living. She lives in Australia.

This book, courtesy of Annick Press, retails for $24.95. The opinions are my own.