Tuesday, March 5, 2019

REVIEW: Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

Send Me a Sign

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. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.

This is a difficult book to review. I was very much invested in this book, but the characters in the book are not really likable and made some dumb decisions. Yet, they are all dealing with a difficult situation.

This book is about Mia. She and her friends have plans for the summer. Except Mia has been getting large bruises lately and a visit to the doctor tells her that Mia has leukemia. Instead of getting a tan this summer, she will be spending time in a hospital getting treatments. Mia does not want to tell her friends what is happening. She tells them that she is spending the summer in Connecticut, but when school starts and she is still sick, she keeps piling on the lies. All the while, Ryan, the boy she occasionally hooked up with, wants to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Then there's Gyver, her neighbor and one of the few people who know her secret and who she has grown closer to during her treatments.

This book did keep me interested throughout the book in such a way that I did not want to put it down. Part of this was hope that Mia will see this through and hope that she will finally tell everyone what was happening. Mia keeping her cancer a secret was a big problem of mine. I really wanted her to tell everyone because I knew that the longer she went without telling, the worse the outcome would be. Mia bottling up her secret was a stupid decision and it frustrated me. Part of my frustration was that Mia seemed to think that it was her choice to do this when in fact her mother was to blame. Mia's mother was passive-aggressive throughout the book, she would say what she thought Mia should do and Mia felt like she could not disagree with her mother. It was her mother's idea to not tell Mia's friends and when time went by and Mia wanted to tell her friends, her mother would convince her once again to not tell them.

Even though I had trouble with Mia's character, I place most of my blame of her unlikable character to her mother who influenced so much of Mia's behavior. This is why this book is complicated to review because even though many of the characters were unlikable, I can't really judge them because they are also in a really tough situation. Mia has her mother influencing her while Mia is also trying to keep up normal pretenses and undergo treatments. She also has to deal with the idea that she might not survive this. She keeps most of this bottled up because she does not have friends, for the most part, to rely on. She has Gyver and, later, Ryan, but she can't even always depend on them.

Which brings me to Mia's friends. [highlight to view spoiler] I wish I could say that when they found out about Mia that they were supportive of Mia, but they weren't. When her best friend learns she drops Mia as a friend. Great friend, right? She treats Mia terribly after that in such a way that I couldn't really understand how they could've have been friends in the first place. This is where the unlikable and character morals come in again. I can understand that her friends are hurt that Mia told others before them and that backing away was their own way of coping with the fact that Mia might die, but there are ways to be much better friends. I won't excuse their behavior, at all, but this is such a difficult situation and none of the characters really knew how to react to this kind of trauma. [end of spoiler]

There is also a slight love triangle in this book. This was odd to me at first because I don't typically see love triangles in contemporary YA, but this book was published during the heyday of love triangles. There was not as much of a focus on romance in this book per se because Mia is having enough trouble as is, but she does struggle with some feelings. What I did like is that both guys were there for Mia and tried to help her out. Neither one was perfect, but everyone in this book (and in real life) have their faults.

Overall, even though I struggled with some of the characters, I did like the fact that it portrayed people having faults and trying to help understand the difficult situation they are in. Many of the characters, in fact, grew and changed throughout the book. I did think this was a great book even though it deals with tough subjects. This is the first book I read by this author and I may look into her newer titles someday.

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing.

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