CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.
True Biz: A Novel / written by Sara Novic (2022)
Sara Novic’s True Biz: A Novel is an excellent read for those who are interested in learning about the Deaf community from different angles. For hearing people, such as myself, reading this book is a great opportunity to understand the different ways people can be Deaf*, and the way they interact with their community, culture, and environment.
This novel centers on Charlie, who has had a cochlear implant most of her life while taking the oral route; Austin, who comes from a multigenerational Deaf* family; and February, a CODA whose working desperately to keep the Deaf* school she works for open. The book begins in media res, and intertwines these three characters’ lives together.
Novic’s novel explores the different facets of the Deaf* community, and pulls real life experiences into her writing. She takes examples from the Deaf President Now movement, which occurred at the world’s only university that focuses on the education of Deaf* people. There is also a lot of focus on the ever present communication debate, which focuses on whether it’s more beneficial for a Deaf* person to communicate via American Sign Language or orally.
There is so much to learn in Novic’s novel, and it’s a great starting point if you’re interested in learning more about the Deaf* community. Sprinkled throughout the novel is also the utilization of ASL Glossing (ASL’s grammar structure), diagrams for different signs, and interesting Deaf tidbits!
NOTE: In alignment with the UC ASL/Deaf studies department, I use Deaf* above to include and acknowledge the different cultures and ways of being Deaf.
Review by Alice Somers, CECH Library Student Assistant | Early Childhood Education and Deaf Studies, CECH 2026