Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers Review


Title: Tone Deaf
Author: Olivia Rivers
Published: May 3, 2016
Genre: Contemporary – Romance
Length: 288 pages
Rating: ★★★½☆☆

His world is music. Her world is silent.

Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

Thank you so much to Sky Pony Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I’d been eyeing this book for a while after seeing it get a lot of positive reviews in the book blogging community (also – disability representation!), so I was really excited to have the chance to give it a read. 



The packaging of this book is adorable. I loved the sound waves shown on the cover, as music plays a huge role in this book, and thought that the cover as a whole is very reminiscent of what this book is – aka, a contemporary romance. 

Writing Style:


Tone Deaf was an extremely fast read for me – and I attribute that to its writing style. It had an easy, conversational tone to it, and despite the difficult subject matter it contains (abuse), it was almost a mindless read. 

Some of my only issues with the writing style was that I felt it could grow a bit rushed at times – I thought some characters could jump to conclusions too quickly, and that certain events could happen all at once without too much buildup. <spoilers> When Ali was being transported back to LA to be reunited with her father, it all happened within a span of a few pages. It felt like Jace had a seizure, then Ali got caught, then Jace found out Ali got caught, and Ali was back in LA within 3 pages. </spoilers>




This is where I had my biggest problems with this book. I didn’t have issues with Ali, the main character. If anything, I found her to be a very strong girl who was vulnerable due to circumstance. She was written very realistically, in my opinion, and had a very refreshing voice. I also really enjoyed being able to read from her perspective, as she’s a deaf character – the way she perceived things and had to communicate made it clear that the author did her research, which I applaud her for. Basically, she was a really likable character to read about.

Jace, on the other hand. I had serious issues with Jace. He was a complete and utter asshat to Ali when he first met her, and honestly, nothing excuses it. <spoilers> I understand why meeting a deaf girl on the anniversary of his mother’s death might rattle him, but that in no way shape or form excuses how rude he was to her, and how he went as far as flipping her off. </spoilers>. I know seventh grade boys who are would handle a situation like that with more maturity. Jace also, for no reason at all, upon meeting Ali, <spoilers> refused to believe that she had musical talent or that she could play an instrument only on the basis of her being deaf. </spoilers>. Which honestly only went to show how immature he could be. 

I also had a serious issue with how he didn’t care about how he treated his fans. He was 45 minutes late to a concert, kept his fans waiting for that show that they paid for, and the only thing he said about it was that if the fans had left because he was late to his own show, then they weren’t real fans and he didn’t care about them.


This isn’t to say I hate Jace – I don’t hate him. I believed his redemption arc and backstory, and genuinely felt for him. I just think that, in a lot of ways, he can be an arrogant asshole.

I really enjoyed Arrow, Killer, and Jon, though! Especially Arrow – I found him to often be the voice of reason in situations, and I usually ended up agreeing with him. Arrow and Killer were an adorable couple, and I thought it was really nice to have such a healthy and loving gay relationship portrayed in this book.



This book was largely a romantic contemporary – so when it came down to it, not too much happened besides the developing romance between Jace and Ali (almost all of which occurred within an RV).

When it comes to my feelings about the romance between them, Arrow basically read my mind:

“I’m just saying this is happening awfully fast,” Arrow says

While I understand the circumstances behind the romance happening so quickly (Ali and Jace constantly being around each other for a week in confined quarters), as someone who isn’t even the biggest fan of romance in the first place, it all happened a little too fast for my taste. But besides the fact that it felt a bit rushed to me, I thought the romance was very believable and touching – because both Jace and Ali were victims of abuse, they were able to understand each other and help each other heal.

Besides my issue with the romance, though, I had some issues that were a bit more technical, but still bothered me. 

First off – I’m almost completely sure that Amber Alerts are reserved for abduction cases only. According to the AMBER Alert site,

AMBER plans require law enforcement to confirm an abduction prior to issuing an alert.  

In Tone Deaf, there is no mention of Ali’s father claiming that she had been abducted. All we know is that he had claimed she had run away and had severe mental health issues – which wouldn’t warrant an Amber Alert. I understand that the author was trying to paint a worst case scenario for Ali for us to see, but it bothered me that the author hadn’t done more thorough research beforehand.

Secondly, I just didn’t find the magnitude of the search for Ali to be believable – I understand that an Amber alert had gone off for her in this book, but that doesn’t mean she’s suddenly immediately recognizable by people from all around the United States. 

Ultimately, though, this plot was entertaining and a quick read – there were just some aspects of it that bothered me. 



Overall, Tone Deaf was a really fast, entertaining read that I enjoyed. It handled some serious subject matter really well, and I really enjoyed its epilogue (we got to see all the ways Ali was able to heal). It had some issues that caused me to dock a few stars, but I definitely enjoyed this book, and would recommend it if you’re a fan of contemporary romance. 


9 thoughts on “Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers Review

  1. Great review! I’ve been curious about this book and have been seeing more positive reviews than negative ones for these ones. While romance seems to be the main theme for this book, it’s great to hear that it at least also handles serious issues really well — not all books definitely do that. 😛

  2. Aw, man, I was hoping this book would be better. My tolerance for asshats is low, so I’m going to bet I won’t be thrilled with this book. Bah. Great review, though! And like Reg said, at least it handles the serious stuff well. 🙂

    1. Yeah, same here – I think I was expecting to be more blown away after all the rave reviews. Hahaha, I can agree with you on that – my asshole tolerance isn’t particularly high. I’d still recommend giving this book a try so you could decide for it yourself! 🙂

  3. I’ve been interested in this book because of its combination of talking about a serious issue plus music. I’m not really a romance contemporary fan, but when I heard about I added it to my TBR because I was too curious not to. It’s disappointing to hear the dude was an asshole, but I’m glad at least the MC was likable and it handles the more serious topics better. Great review 🙂

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