Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
Published by Walker Children’s
Publish Date: October 4, 2012
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. –(summary excerpt from Goodreads)
My Thoughts: I told some of you that I was going to tackle three YA contemporary “issue” books this month. Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt is number three. Fact about #3: There is leukemia in this book. (This is not a spoiler.) I hate leukemia, probably more than anything ever in the history of the world. So I questioned my ability to get through this one. HAHA! I made it through! And I really liked it! I am pleased with this.
Since Mia is diagnosed at the beginning of the summer, it is relatively easy to fabricate a story about an extended visit with relatives in another state when – in reality – she spends more than a month as a hospital inpatient with chemotherapies and medications, being sick and having Gyver at her side constantly. Then, summer ends and she is released to go home. Then…back to school.
The biggest thing about Mia is that she is a very superstitious girl. She looks for signs in everything: song lyrics, her Magic 8 ball, horoscopes, etc. She can’t seem to make a decision on her own. This is one of the reasons she keeps delaying the big reveal of her physical condition to her friends: the signs never tell her that she should tell her secret. Nearly EVERYTHING she did was based off of a sign of some sort. I find it interesting that Mia’s friend Gyver seems to be the only person in the book that takes notice of this and tries his best to talk Mia out of looking for signs all over the place. (It was just one of the many things I liked about him.)
(At times, Mia is also one of those characters that I wanted to reach through the book and grab by the shoulders and tell her to GET A GRIP. When your world is falling apart like hers is, you need people around you…)
…and speaking of people – I liked what the author did with the characterization in this book. Mia is written very well. Sick Mia is written well. Superstitious Mia is written well. Teenage, highschooler, cheerleader Mia is written well. I totally got her and felt her story. Gyver too – he was great. There was another guy character that played a romantic interest – Ryan – and I think he was written well, but he was less likable to me for several reasons. Mia’s parents – not likable at all. Just, no. But I completely felt the way the author was going with each of them, even when they weren’t necessarily characters that I liked.
The leukemia story line is not the most pleasant of stories, because it never is. But it is not awful either. I never cried. I NEVER CRIED. Somehow this author managed to tell a cancer story that didn’t make me fall apart. I think it was because she included not only Mia, but all of the people around Mia. What I mean is that she included what Mia was dealing with – both physically and emotionally – and she did the same thing with Mia’s friends and family. They were all exhausted and they were all trying to cope as well as they could. On the flip side, the author allowed us to understand how Mia’s unknowing friends and classmates were coping with her “weird” behaviors – after all, they didn’t know why she was looking different, missing so much school, and suddenly no longer able to keep up with the rest of the cheerleading team. Something must be going on, right? Could it be drugs? Anorexia? Or GASP something else? Her best friends were flat-out angry with her. Some acted out against her. Some refused to talk to her. They knew Mia was keeping secrets from them, but still she would not cave and share her problems and let them be a part of this change in her life.
Of course, there is romance too. It is interesting, if not a teensy bit predictable. I liked reading it and ultimately the comfort of that predictability helped with that could have been a tough story (but wasn’t).
There is actually a lot of meat in this book. I am hoping that people do not pass this one up. There is a huge opportunity for discussion in this one, even if just between two or three readers, and when you think you are reading about one or two issues – after you think for awhile, you realize there is tons of stuff hidden in this one. Nice debut.
I recommend Send Me A Sign to people that love those YA contemporary issues books and those boys-next-door. You all know who you are!
YA Contemporary with Issues
Romance: little bit of a triangle!
Send Me A Signby Tiffany Schmidt