Send Me a SignFeatured
Compelling, Gut-wrenching Debut.
Thank you Netgalley and Walker Children's Books for this e-galley. I read this in one sitting, staying up until 1:30a.m. in order to finish it, something I almost never do. It's well written with engaging characters, but make no mistake, this book will break your heart and ugly crying may ensue. Your reaction may be more severe if you happen to know kids who are battling the same kind of cancer as Mia. (Talk about a "sign".)
Mia Moore is obsessed with "signs". She looks for them in anything and everything making life choices based on what she perceives as an answer. The problem with this way of thinking is that is doesn't account for coincidence nor does it allow her to see what's right in front her because she's so focused on seeing what she wants to see. Finding out she has Leukemia completely blindsides her and sends her into a tailspin of questioning her life, family, friendships and the validity or her "signs". Mia is surrounded by lots of people who care about her but Gyver, her longtime BFF and neighbor is the only person she tells at first. She fears that if her friends or her would-be boyfriend, Ryan knew, then everything would change because they might treat her different. The problem is, everything already changed the minute she received her diagnosis.
I liked Mia but there were times she drove me crazy, especially where Gyver was concerned. It's so blatantly obvious how he feels about her but she somehow manages to miss that "sign". She worries too much about what other people think and her Mom is to blame for that. Their relationship is one that revolves around perfection and Mia struggles with how her cancer has marred that facade of her life. Most of the time her mother seems to worry about how Mia's cancer is affecting her. She's incredibly selfish and many times I wanted to smack some sense into her.
Mia's friends are oblivious to her condition throughout much of the book and in all fairness to them, Mia never gives them a chance to be supportive. Ryan, the hot guy she's been hooking up with for the past few months seems like a player at first, but once he discovers her secret, he redeems himself in big ways. I liked Ryan and felt bad for him at times but if I'm honest, I wasn't completely sold on his intentions.
Gvyer is the one constant in her life and the time she spends in the hospital is no different. He's always there, holding her hand, reading to her or making her a new playlist. He doesn't flinch when she's puking her guts out or squirm around the numerous needles, and when she loses her hair, he still tells her she's beautiful. His flattery, compared to Ryan's, seems genuine and without an ulterior motive but he can be distant at times. They've been friends forever so he's used to all of her superstitions and usually calls her on her crap but he reaches his limit when she begins to put too much stock in her "signs" where her cancer is concerned. Their back and forth was really frustrating at times and I wanted to shake both of them and yell, "Get together already!"
Mia works hard to keep her illness a secret and when it finally comes out, as the truth usually does, she'll have to face all of the people she's hurt and the bridges she's burned. Wanting desperately for everything to go back to the way it was, she tries to make amends but when she lands back in the hospital, Mia will realize those "signs" she's put so much trust in are pointless if you lose those you love.
An Emotional Ride, But best of 2012
Background: Mia is a teenage, cheerleader, who loves to look for signs. She is superstitious and she just found out that she has cancer. Send Me A Sign follows Mia through her life as she tries to hide her illness and her realization that it isn't something she can accomplish without hurting those around her.
Review: Why has it taken so long for me to read this book?! I am suck a slacker and I am kicking myself for it. Tiffany Schmidt did a wonderful job writing this contemporary novel. I was apprehensive to start reading a book about someone dealing with illness, this is why I stay away from contemporary so often, they are depressing and never the turn around I hope for in characters. This was different, I felt like I could relate to Mia and her struggle and her reasoning (some of the time...not all), I think the impact it had on me really made me question my high school years and how I would have been impacted by such an enormous change in my life.
By reading this novel you get a few things, yes there is a love story, yes there are depressing and sad parts, and parts where you want to rip your hair out because of Mia's stubbornness, but what you really get is an inspiring, information tale about a teen dealing with the stages of cancer and how to deal with the physical and emotional struggle. The physical was hard to read about, but the emotional really hit home and I applaud the author for this book and wish her the best in everything else she writes.
If you like contemporary-get this, if you like teen romance-get this, if you are a sucker for sob stories- get this!!!
As you can probably tell, I love this book. One of the best of 2012
Cancer sucks. Big time. But, this debut novel by Tiffany Schmidt certainly does not.
Mia is a superstitious girl with a deep-rooted fascination in finding signs that point her towards a certain path; a path she thinks is intended for her. She’s gearing up for the summer before her senior year and all that awaits her during that time- fabulous friend moments spent with her three besties and fellow cheerleaders, lazy days spent by the pool or at the beach, and occasionally hooking up with the hottie soccer captain, Ryan. However, all her carefully crafted summer plans go awry when Mia’s body becomes splattered with bruises and she goes to see a doctor about them. Then she’s hit with a bombshell and the only person she feels the need to confide in first is her ever-steady best friend and neighbor, Gyver.
“Are you okay, Mi?”
“No.” I swallowed against the tightness in my throat, the fear that piled like stones in my stomach. “I’ve also been really tired and I had a fever. Mom and I went to the doctor and he took some blood. He called me back the next day for more. We went to Lakeside Hospital for tests yesterday- the took a sample of bone marrow from my hip. Today we met with the head of oncology.” I felt detached, as if narrating the details of someone else’s life.
“What is it? Just tell me.” His hand curled around my arm, hitting the bruise, making me wince.
“Leukemia,” I whispered, the word sharp and acidic in my mouth.
When all the signs point to her friends not handling the news well, she decides to keep her month long hospital stay a secret from them, especially when her mom thinks it’d be for the best. So while her friends are out having the summer fun in the sun that she was supposed to have, Mia’s in the hospital enduring an aggressive round of chemo under the guise of visiting her sick grandfather in Connecticut.
What’s the reason for all the secret-keeping, you ask? It’s quite simple, actually. Mia doesn’t want to be “the cancer girl.” She doesn’t want people’s pity, she just wants to do the things she has to do to get rid of her stupid cancer and get back to being the girl everyone knows and loves- the happy, healthy version of herself.
Her time in the hospital wasn’t an easy one, but Gyver’s constant vigilance made her feel a comfort she didn’t believe she’d have there. Once home, though, Mia, as well as her mom, expect everything to return to exactly how it was before she was diagnosed. She tries so hard to be present– to go back to cheerleading, school, dating, and being the bubbly Summer girl friend– but it isn’t as easy as she thought it’d be. When further rounds of chemo leave her frail, sickly, pale, and losing her hair, it’s almost impossible to keep up the whole charade, and when Mia’s secrets finally come unraveled, nobody comes out on the other side unscathed.
My Thoughts: This was a book that ran my emotions through the gamut. There were times that I cried, laughed, pulled my hair in frustration, and found myself angry and helpless. Cancer is a serious topic that can influence a range of emotions, but sometimes I feel like authors either dramatize or glorify it too much. However, this is not the case with Send Me a Sign. I feel like Ms. Schmidt found the perfect balance in her writing and bought a true tale of how cancer not only effects the person plagued with it, but also those around them. It was a learning curve for Mia and all the people that loved her in their own way. Their reactions, though not always ideal and sometimes harsh, seemed genuine and made me appreciate the hard truth that comes with dealing with such a terrible illness.
In short, this book is about the journey of a girl who finds herself, love, strength and friendship through the toughest of times. Also, Gyver is one of the swooniest guys I’ve ever had the privilege of reading about in a book. I love him.
Verdict: Cancer sucks. Big time. But, this debut novel by Tiffany Schmidt certainly does not. Made significantly better by the three-dimensional characters that you’ll love and hate in the same breath, this is a novel that I won’t be forgetting for a while and I definitely think you should check this one out.
*Note: An e-galley of this title was provided by Bloomsbury's Children Books via Net Galley.