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True Biz  By  cover art

True Biz

By: Sara Novic
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan, Kaleo Griffith
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Publisher's summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • A “tender, beautiful and radiantly outraged” (The New York Times Book Review) novel that follows a year of seismic romantic, political, and familial shifts for a teacher and her students at a boarding school for the deaf, from the acclaimed author of Girl at War

“For those who loved the Oscar-winning film CODA, a boarding school for deaf students is the setting for a kaleidoscope of experiences.”—The Washington Post

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: NPR, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Booklist


True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.

This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

©2022 Sara Novic (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Part tender coming-of-age story, part electrifying tale of political awakening, part heartfelt love letter to Deaf culture, True Biz is wholly a wonder.”—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

“Sara Novic is one of the best writers of my generation—not just the novelist of Deaf culture, but of human nature writ large. Do yourself a favor and get this book—it is inimitable.”—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

“A coming-of-age story that explores the complexities of community and the ways in which language defines us.”Kirkus Reviews

Featured Article: Best of the Year—The 15 Best Fiction Listens of 2022


To say it’s a challenge to select the top fiction listens of the year (and this year especially!) is an understatement. But as hard as it is, it’s an even greater honor for our team to be able to listen deeply to so many amazing stories and then highlight the best of the best to you. Fiction is a big category—one that includes everything from epic family sagas to clever short stories, from historical fiction to near-future speculative works.