Publisher: Walker ChildrensRelease Date: October 2nd 2012
Summary: 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.
Review: The thing about this book is that it's a cancer book, but it's also not. While the catalyst of this entire novel is cancer, this book is by all means not a typical cancer story.
Mia is a popular girl who has it all... until she doesn't. After lots of random bruising and a trip to the doctor's, Mia is diagnosed with leukemia. What makes this book so great is that it is realistic. There isn't any pretending on Mia's part. Well, that's a lie. Mia pretends everything is fine and lies through omission by not telling her friends and sort of boyfriend for fear of them treating her differently. But getting into her mind and seeing her thought process allows readers to see the storm of emotions raging conflict that she holds in.
Truthfully, Mia's decisions are spurred by her parents' reactions. Her father is a fact-spitting machine. He gets his comfort through knowledge, and after Mia's diagnosis, he throws himself into all the cancer books known to mankind. Her mother is this preppy and proud woman who loves her daughter's life. What's not to love, right? Her daughter is popular, a cheerleader, smart, and has a cute boy that's interested. But the way she reacts to the news is almost crazy, frantic, desperate. She's the one that convinces Mia to keep her secret, well, a secret. And Mia agrees because, really, who wants to be treated as the pity case?
But then there's Gyver, who has been Mia's best friend since forever. He never clashed with her group because he's sort of out there. He's a musician, dresses differently, and just doesn't fit in with her other friends. Not to mention, he's completely swoon-worthy. He's the only person that Mia trusts with her secret, and through everything that happens in the book, he's the best possible friend out there. Mia and Gyver have this chemistry that you can't ignore. It's constantly there, and to be honest, at some points, I wanted to smack Mia because seriously, are you kidding me right now? Open you eyes and see what's right in front of you. Sheesh.
Although this book is a battle against cancer, it's really a book about the battles we have within. Mia is the perfect example of someone who is fighting herself. She's in a state of denial at first, but then finally accepts the fact that she has cancer. She agrees with her mother to not tell her other friends about her cancer because saying it out loud makes it real. It's natural to be afraid and Mia's character shows the reality of what happens when one is overwhelmed.
Beautifully written, Send Me a Sign is a gut-wrenching story of how to overcome the hurdles of life. The characters all realize something life-changing by the end, and despite the fact that the ending was great, I would have loved to read more about Mia's story. Even though there were parts of this book where I was seriously annoyed with Mia, I loved her quirky character. She was constantly looking for signs, and quite often, read into them too much. And of course, there's the surprisingly compassionate sort of boyfriend Ryan. And Gyver. Always Gyver.
There were some things that I personally wished would have been different, but this book had me in my own storm of emotions. I laughed, I teared up, and I screamed with frustration. Send Me a Sign is definitely a book worth reading.