Title: Send Me a Sign
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release date: October 2nd 2012
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon
Mia’s used to being the perfect teenager: pretty, popular, smart, caring. But that was before she was diagnosed with leukemia. Now, her father has become Captain Cancer Facts and her mother is obsessed with maintaining Mia’s image. Her maybe-more-than-a-friend, Gyver, is judging her decision not to tell the other cheerleaders that she’s sick. Her life’s about to change and she’s terrified by the loss of control.My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Mia’s always been superstitious, but as her body starts to feel like it belongs less to her and more to the doctors and their needles, she becomes irrationally dependent on horoscopes, fortune cookies, and good luck charms. As chemotherapy replaces cheerleading and platelets replace parties, Mia just wants normal back. But despite searching for clues in everything from songs on the radio to her Magic 8 Ball, her future is coming up Outlook not so good.
Is it weird that I love cancer stories? I always like sad, depressing stories, and cancer stories especially - there's something weirdly fascinating to me about both the emotional side as well as the messy details and hospital scenes. And Send Me a Sign is no exception - I loved every page of it!
What sets Send Me a Sign apart from all those other cancer books is that Mia decides not to tell anyone she has cancer. The idea of keeping your cancer a secret is crazy. And it did seem a little too crazy to believe, at times - it was hard to understand Mia and her mom's reasoning behind it, but in a way, I did get it. Either way, it was fascinating to read about how Mia keeps this from her friends: the lengths she has to go to, the lies she has to think of. Even if it didn't always make sense to me, I loved reading about it.
I'm not sure what to make of our main character, Mia. Yes, she's a spoiled rich girl, and there were times she got on my nerves. But in a way, I didn't mind. I don't even know why, but after a while, I didn't even notice her bratty attitude anymore and just enjoyed living inside her head. That's how I felt about a lot of the characters, actually: Mia's friends, the Calendar Girls, are your typical popular cheerleader types, and the exploration of their personalities doesn't go much deeper than that. They're superficial, but I didn't care; I still loved reading about them. Mia's mom, too, is... let's just say she's frustrating. But again, I didn't mind - she's a realistic character, and even at her most frustrating, I understood her, too.
The romance is the storyline I enjoyed the most, for once. At first, this seems like your typical annoying love triangle between the popular jock who just wants Mia as armcandy and the geeky guy next door she's been best friends with forever and might become more than that one day. But there's so much more to these characters than those stereotypes! I loved both Ryan and Gyzer. I really enjoyed seeing the romance storyline develop in such a realistic and natural way, instead of the cliche you would expect at first. The ending is the only part I didn't love - I found it too happy and a little rushed.
Based on the title and description, I was expecting superstitious belief to play an important role in this novel. That didn't turn out to be a big part of the story, though - it's mentioned throughout, but it never takes the main focus. I didn't mind, though, because superstition generally isn't something I'd be interested in reading about. I just find it weird how much the title and premise focus on that aspect, since that's not what the story was about, at least not to me.
I know most of what I wrote in this review only seems half-positive - and there were a lot of smaller things that I didn't love. But in a way, this book is perfect the way it is; there's something about Tiffany Schmidt's writing that just makes it all work. It flows so nicely; I couldn't put the book down. Even though I love sad books, what I turned out loving most about this one is the entertaining, breezy quality to it; the serious topic is more than balanced out by a regular teenage girl living her life, boys and drama included. Send Me a Sign is an entertaining coming-of-age story in an unusual situation. I highly recommend it, even if you tend to stay away from darker stories, since this is one entertaining read despite the sad premise.