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.
I am not a fan of cancer books, and neither is Mia. So when she's diagnosed with leukemia, she hides it. She doesn't want to be cancer girl. She wants to get through that first round of chemo then be her normal, happy, perfectionist self, surrounded by the girls she's been friends with and cheerleaders with forever.
But it's not that easy and can't be that easy. She's told one person her diagnosis: Gyver, the boy who has been her best friend and neighbor since the beginning of time. The boy who has always been a steady person for her. The only person she feels won't make her cancer girl.
In the midst of chemo rounds -- which happen during the summer -- Mia is able to live somewhat normally. She's getting signs from Ryan, one of the popular guys at school, that he's interested in her. Seriously interested in her. The thing is, she's not ready for him. She doesn't necessarily see him as the kind of guy she wants to date. He's got a little bit of a reputation for not being serious with any girl, and Mia's just not sure whether she has feelings for him like he does for her. It's more than that though: she doesn't want to have to tell him about her cancer. She doesn't want to be the person who scares him away.
She doesn't want to be that person, period.
Schmidt's debut worked for me because this book tackles cancer and the cancer genre of books with the approach I take in reading them. That is, it pushes against them, challenges them, doesn't want to acknowledge what it is they are or they are not. Mia is a strong girl tackling something that is literally attacking from the inside out. But rather than allow herself to be pitied, to be doted upon, she wants to keep it a secret. She doesn't want people to be scared or worried because she herself doesn't want to be scared or worried. When her parents begin to make her more nervous about what cancer means for her, she further pushes herself away from the diagnosis and from the reality of her physical illness. She strives to operate as though it's not a part of her.
The romantic tension in this book was palpable and sweet and hit all of the right notes. SEND ME A SIGN is about that choice of who you let in and who you do not let in. And it's not necessarily about a right choice or a wrong choice but about choice all together.
I loved the weaving of superstition and signs into the book and felt like they really fleshed out the whole of who Mia was while giving readers the opportunity to be surprised right along with her. Never once did this feel like one of those stories where cancer makes someone smarter, more insightful, more worldly or more experienced. Mia was a teenage girl and remained a teenage girl. Her problems were the problems of high school girls. That's not to belittle the weight of what cancer is in a story but rather to maybe give it MORE weight.
Even though at times it got a little bit hard to separate out Mia's three best girl friends, it didn't matter a whole lot in the end. I do wish there had been a little more up front -- I wanted a bit more of getting to know Mia and her ways earlier in the story, prior to the diagnosis. However, how much she grew as a character over the course of the story was fantastic. I loved getting to know the boys and finding both of them to be realistic and flawed and frustrating and loveable.
This book will be a go-to for those who love Jenny Han's writing, and without doubt, those who were fans of her "Summer" series will want to read this book.
I approached SEND ME A SIGN with the knowledge that many readers had high expectations for this book, though I didn’t really have any myself. What I got out of my reading experience was that this debut novel squandered a good opportunity to discuss cancer in eye-opening ways and opted instead to be a perfectly, irritatingly run-of-the-mill YA contemporary novel about high school relationship drama.
SEND ME A SIGN could’ve used Mia’s cancer diagnosis as an opportunity to reflect on people’s belief in superstitions: What is the significance of signs to people? Why do people often look for signs in the course of their life, and how is the significance they place in signs affected in light of a life-changing event? Instead, Mia’s superstitions are a mere gimmick that fails to mask the truth about this book: that it is a totally average, totally unoriginal “cancer tale” featuring a hopelessly selfish heroine who never realizes the extent of her privilege and concocts wildly immature justifications for the predicaments she gets herself into with her own narrow thinking.
This book wants us to sympathize or empathize with Mia, the popular, she’s-got-it-all cheerleader whose life unravels from something out of her control—but Mia is no Sam from Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall or Parker from Courtney Summers’ Cracked Up to Be. Sam and Parker’s are bitchy and self-centered, but we readers could see their flaws and see how they can become better people.
Mia, however, is—oh, how can I put this delicately—inexcusably, horrifically, disappointingly f*****g selfish. I could see the series of decisions she made to end up the way she did, but I wasn’t sympathetic at all to her self-imposed plight, and I didn’t believe at any point in the novel that Mia’s character was redeemable.
Actually, part of me sees this as a problem with the form of the fiction novel. The very fact that Mia refused to give up the appearance of perfection even when inside she was falling apart was easy for her friends and us readers to see: Mia succeeded much less than she thought she did at fooling her friends, and of course, with this book being written in first-person POV, we weren’t fooled at all. This premature understanding on our part of Mia’s Tragic Flaw, however, meant that the majority of this overly long novel was just a cycle of the same events and situations over and over again: Mia has an opportunity to tell the truth, something prevents her from doing so, and she gets into even deeper shit. It’s painfully repetitive with no point and adds nothing to the story’s character or plot development. Most of the story’s major conflicts were set early on, in the first few chapters, and then the characters don’t arrive at any sort of growth until the last few chapters! Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t need to read nearly 400 pages for the MC to learn something I already knew she had to learn by Chapter 3.
SEND ME A SIGN suffers from a naïve belief that its “deep and sensitive” subject—cancer—will automatically evoke readers’ sympathies and keep readers invested in the story. Uh, no. That’s Fiction Writing 101: even the most intriguing premise can be made into a cure for insomnia by shoddy storytelling. What SEND ME A SIGN really is is a basic high school friendship/love triangle tale with “I’m different because I’m about cancer!” written on its figurative forehead. There is a maybe-maybe-not jock love interest; a group of cheerleaders who try and fail to be more than just an easily forgotten group of privileged white teenage girls; and oh, yes, apparently there is some dude named Gyver who’s supposedly the love interest but kind of just flits in and out of the pages and conveniently forgives Mia for her appallingly selfish behavior because he’s been in love with her his whole life. Like we haven’t read that before. Honestly, if Gyver were half the guy this story wants him to be, he would have never put up with so much of Mia’s crap. It’s pure wish fulfillment, is Gyver. And that is how this book’s romance failed for me as well, adding yet another black mark against it: if you didn’t do the cancer storyline well, couldn’t you at least have done the romance a little better?
The following quote, which appears at 77% in my e-galley, kind of sums up all of what’s wrong with this book for me:
Cancer had cost so much: friendships, grades, cheerleading, my whole sense of who I was. I needed to know: would I beat this and have time to fix things?
No, Mia, your cancer didn’t ruin your life. Your self-centered personality did. And this book isn’t a cancer book: it’s about the relationship drama of a protagonist who—by the way—has cancer. You get no pity from me.
Initial reaction: This is probably one of the few books on its subject matter that, generally, I was unimpressed with the presentation for. I don't know - I'll have to think over it with the possibility of upping my rating, but I wasn't taken with it.
All right, I'll bite in discussing this book with a short and sweet review: I didn't like "Send Me A Sign" very much at all. There were very few redeeming factors about it and the protagonist came across to me as a self-centered brat whose friends came across with the same kind of bratty qualities (either that or they were *too* perfect). This book wasn't as potent as I think it aimed to be, with meandering passages and feeling so overly long that after a point, I just had a difficult time caring one way or the other.
That said, this book is one with a central focus on revealing Mia's diagnosis with cancer to her friends, family, people around her. But Mia's characters was extremely self-absorbed and I personally found it hard to sympathize with her, as well as found the relationships in the novel to be a bit contrived and outside the point of reality. I'm not going so far as to say the narrative was pretentious, because it does depict the reality of Mia going through procedure after procedure to fight against her diagnosis, and also her helplessness and isolation through it all. The high school aspects/focus were a bit pretentious though, at least with the constant media dropping (which shows it age in some respects). I understand having some music, movie, TV and other media references here and there, but in this - for me it was too much without necessarily having that much intimacy.
I don't judge Mia for not wanting to tell her friends about the diagnosis - I can understand that and the reluctance. I just...couldn't wrap my head around the fact that she was so self-centered most of the time. Her friend Guyver is the only person she tells anything about the diagnosis, though she keeps that relationship under wraps from her friends as well. I found that I couldn't really connect to the other characters for the fact that they were all stereotypical cookie cutter without much flesh. Not to mention HIGHLY judgmental. And Mia's parents don't really feel that realistic either. On one hand, I understood Mia's mother's denial, but on the other hand, for me it didn't resonate as realistic.
Things hit the fan when Mia (who takes far longer than the narrative could adequately support) reveals her diagnosis (not necessarily by choice in some measures). I wasn't surprised at the fallout, but I didn't take it to be Mia's cancer diagnosis to be the cause, but rather Mia's neglect and denial as the narrative went on.
Coupled with the meandering love triangle and taxing drama, after a point, I was just reading to see what happened in the end. I didn't care about it, I didn't feel it hit home with any kind of palpable resonation or changes. Mia was not the kind of protagonist whom you could see for flaws and redemption the way you could for the protagonists of Lauren Oliver's "If I Fall" or even Courtney Summers' "Cracked Up to Be." I didn't feel the intimacy in the perspective - it just felt like one long slog that could've been significantly edited down and had more potency and potential.
In the end, not one of the best books on its subject matter I've picked up. I think it had some moments that were sweet and realistic, but it was drowned out by the meandering plot and underdeveloped, unlikable characters.
Overall score: 1.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Walker Childrens.
There's no time wasted, tossing us right into Mia's world, getting to know her wonderful, sort-of-perfect life. Really, her life is as good as it gets for a teenage girl. She’s got a dedicated group of friends, known as the Calendar Girls (each one gets a season, rather than just one measly birthday). Summer Girl Mia does great in school, has a good relationship with her parents, and there’s the yummy boy that’s really into her, Ryan. Not to mention, she’s got Gyver, the sweet next-door neighbor she’s grown up with. Oh, and a cute little kitty, Jinx (note to authors: do you want me to turn to mush? cat/owner relationships).
But then she’s diagnosed with leukemia, and all signs point to keeping it a secret while Mia deals with treatments. The only person who knows is Gyver, and she’s glad she has him. He’s there for her during her first rounds of treatments, unflinching, remaining a solid rock for her to lean on. But when it comes time to return to the real world, Mia’s still not ready for anyone to know. She’d rather keep it a secret, to allow herself a more normal experience in high school, and in her personal life. This way, there’s no interruption with her good times with her friends, and this new boy Ryan won’t just dump her for someone who isn’t, you know, sick.
But person by person, the secret comes out – and that’s the best part. Mia tells Ryan, and he has a better reaction than she imagined. Mia’s convinced her cancer is the end of the world for her, socially and personally, but the only person who thinks that way is her. Which is understandable – it’s a huge thing to deal with, and sometimes friends like hers don’t always have your back. We can totally understand why Mia’s so bent on keeping the secret, even if we know it’d be better if she just tells them. It's kind of like a horror movie, in that you're trying to get the person not to go through the door. Except in this case, we want her to do it. Mia learns everything the hard way. After all, it’s hard for someone to keep a secret that big, and still be a girl on top.
Without a doubt, the strength of this book is Tiffany Schmidt’s writing. Through it, Mia and her world come to life. I cared about her so much, based on even the littlest interactions between her and her cat. But it’s not just that – all of those little pet peeves we form when we’re reading a lot of books? SEND ME A SIGN didn’t trip any of mine. Her parents aren’t just there, they’re involved. Not just because Mia is sick, but because that’s how they are. Her Dad is a logic-and-list sort of guy, paying attention to facts and collecting all of the data he can. That’s how he relates to Mia, and to the world. Mia’s Mom takes a different approach, and there is a lot of tension that builds between the two of them because of it. The building frustration between them is palpable and believable, never once over-the-top. If you're a teenager, or were a teenager, and you had those fights with your Mom, you'll understand it. She isn't cruel, by any means, but she just doesn't get it.
I had a hard time with the Calendar Girls. Maybe it’s because I’ve never known a group of high school kids to actually have a name for their group of friends? It sounds very middle school, and following that, their behavior seemed equally cheesy (at one point, someone mentioned how Gyver is such a LONER, and I wondered if it was a typo from loser, but it was stated again later). The fights they had were immature, and it really did feel like it belonged back in middle school, rather than in high school. It felt a little off to me, and maybe it's because I wasn't in the world of high school cheerleading, but the friends' reactions didn't seem real to me. Maybe that's how it is, but with friendships that go so far back?
The other part was that none of them really stuck out to me, and I think that’s a symptom of having a cliquish group in any book, and even if real life. Their relationships blend, and most of the time, they’ll become the same person, with minor differences. There are always "types" in any group, and outside of those "types" it's hard to peg a solid personality on any of them. But I don't think this is a weakness of Tiffany Schmidt's writing, necessarily. I think that's just how it works.
The romance is carefully woven, and moreover, completely realistic. We have Gyver and Mia, who have been friends since the days of sand and juice boxes. They took two different directions, socially, but still make time for each other. Then we have Ryan and Mia, who are in the same social circle, and it makes sense. Ryan’s a nice guy, and he's the clean-cut, nice boyfriend a lot of girls would dream about having in high school. But Mia isn’t really sure that he’d be serious enough with her – but when she tells him about her cancer, he steps it up a notch and shows how much he cares, and how much he’ll do for her. And while some of us might be rooting for Gyver, or rooting for Ryan, neither one of them is a bad choice. Ryan treats Mia really well, he’s there for her, and he even encourages her to be honest when the time comes. Gyver makes her mix CDs and connects with her in his own way. But it looks like Gyver's dating Meagan, and Mia doesn't think she can compete with that.
Really, I loved that the romance didn’t revolve around two people, with one person being the clear winner with no chance for the other. That’s not how it is in real life all the time, and with all of the more important decisions has to make, it wouldn’t be fair for her to linger over something silly.
In the end, you will remember Mia Moore. You’ll remember her struggle to keep her identity, and you’ll relate to the choices she makes. You'll remember feeling scared for her when she's neutropenic, and sad for her when she feels alone. If you're a sap like me, you might cry when You’ll find yourself really caring about Mia, about her family, and about her relationships. Mia is a character I’ll remember for a long time, and Tiffany Schmidt is absolutely on my list of authors to watch.
I really, really enjoyed this book--and I generally avoid 1) cancer books and 2) books about popular girls--especially from new-to-me authors (this is a debut). And Send Me a Sign has both. But, it was incredibly fresh and an emotional novel that surprised me.
Mia is a super popular cheerleader with a perfect life (seriously--in the first chapter, I was all, "I'm not sure I can spend 300+ pages with a super popular cheerleader, those girls hated me in high school.". Her friends has the perfect summer before their senior year planned. Except Mia is diagnosed with leukemia. But, she doesn't tell anyone. That is, she doesn't tell anyone except her neighbor Gyver (yes, like MacGyver), who's a childhood friend. He's there for her during her stay in the hospital and is all around wonderful.
After she returns home following a month in the hospital and having successfully concealed her illness (egged on by her mother in a sadly realistic case of WTF denial), she continues her deception, while being pursued by The Jock aka Ryan. There are lots of complications in their relationship, and even though Ryan wasn't the guy that I wanted for Mia (obviously her sweetie pie musician neighbor Gyver is the boy you've got to root for), I LOVED that Ryan was never portrayed as a bad guy for the sake of Gyver being the boy for Mia. Does that make sense? Both boys' reactions to dealing with Mia's illness rang authentic and it made me care about each of them.
I also was very intrigued by the parental dynamics in SMaS. Mia's mother becomes obsessed with hiding her illness, pretending that everything is normal, while her father is obsessed with accumulating as much knowledge about her disease as possible. Both reactions felt realistic (see, there's a theme here!). Mia's mother really bothered me, to be honest, because she's so obsessed with her daughter being popular and having an outwardly perfect life and this just feels yucky to me (note my aforementioned discomfort with the notion of popularity), but at the same time, it also seemed "real."
Anyway... I do wish that the friendships in SMaS had been explored more. Or maybe not more, but perhaps in a way that I ended up being more sympathetic to Mia's circle of popular circle friends. In the end, I still was uncomfortable with them, as much as I'd grown to like and care about Mia.
Well, I meant to write a quick reaction to this so I could jog my memory when I write my "real" review, but this got a bit rambling. Definitely a recommended read--if you avoid cancer/illness books, SMaS may be one to check out anyway, as it's different and very, very well-done. The payoff for all the characters is hard-earned, and not just because of Mia's illness, and I LOVED that.
Considering I cried my way through this book, fell in love with The Boy, and my heart is STILL aching in a good way...I think I loved this book.
end Me A Sign is one of those extremely rare books that took me beyond the mere act of reading a story, and actually propelled me into the story itself, until I felt like I was living the events taking place. I clicked immediately with Mia; who of us hasn't searched for a sign to tell us which direction to go, how to make the right decision? My heart went out to Mia as she struggled to understand what having cancer would mean to her, her family, and her friends, and ultimately, decided to keep the truth from those most important to her. Mia was a sympathetic character who made some mistakes throughout Send Me a Sign, but I adored her, as well as this heart-felt, heart-wrenching, poignant story about life, death, and courage.
Author Tiffany Schmidt brings Mia and her family to life with clarity and a wonderfully told story. From Mia's fact-obsessed father to her image-obsessed mother, and the boy next door who cares so unabashedly for her, and the friends who love, but don't understand her, I found something to like in most of the characters. I enjoyed the evolution of Mia's relationships with her parents, and loved watching her become her OWN person. I didn't always understand their reactions and motivations, but what I DID love was the way Mia interacted differently with each of them. She played so many roles, and while most of them were genuine: daughter, friend, girlfriend, the one that stood out most to me was her relationship with Gyver.
Of all the signs Mia searched so ardently for, she missed every single one pointing her to this sweet, steadfast, loyal boy, choosing instead to pursue a relationship with her crush, Ryan. Ryan turned out to be an amazing supporting character, but it was painful, watching his devotion to Mia, and the ramifications of how their relationship was tested by Mia's illness. I kept praying for Mia to make the right decisions in several aspects, but especially when it came to Ryan and Gyver. Both boys had a lot to offer her, and both had a lot to teach her about life, and about how to be truly brave. I won't say how it all turned out, but I WILL say I shed a lot of tears, some sad and some happy!
Send Me a Sign is a spectacular, heart-breaking look at what cancer means and does to people. It's a story about family coming together. It's a story about friendships being broken, and repaired. It's a story about choosing: life over death, hope over fear, love over isolation. It's a story I will never, ever forget.
Send Me a Sign is a really good book that held my interest. Mia, the main character who is diagnosed with leukemia, decides to keep it from her friends. This turns out to be a decision that adversely affects her and her friends' relationships when they
This book is a definitely must read. Although it is a "cancer book," the author is able to teach us about friendships and how our decisions affect others.
It's official, Gyver Russo is my favorite male character ever!!!!!!!!! When this book started out, Mia's life was perfect. she had a perfect boyfriend, the best friends, more that great grades and popularity. That all suddenly changes when Mia gets diagnosed with leukemia. As you may know from the synopsis, she decides not to tell anyone except for Gyver, her guy best friend. And the story starts from there. I loved this book, it was great and my only complaint is that she didn't hook up with Gyver until the end and no this isn't a spoiler because we all know it was going to happen. Other than that the book was great. I loved all the characters except for her mom. I hated her mom so much, but i guess each person copes differently. I was really surprised about the ending. i was expecting one thing but got something totally different, which is great. All in all this book was beautiful, however i do recommend a big box of tissues.
This book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.
MY THOUGHTS 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.
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.
IN CONCLUSION 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.
Let's acknowledge, first things first, that Send Me A Sign is a novel with cancer in it. But it is not a Cancer Novel. It is a novel about a Person with cancer, not a person with CANCER. So those of you who, like me, grew up morbidly fascinated by novels with titles like Time to Die My Love Who Is Dying or Mommy Don't Go And Die Because It Is My Turn To Die Too Young: this is not the kind of book you think it is.
Mia has cancer. Mia also has a near-perfect GPA, a spot on the cheerleading squad, a trio of amazeballs (but difficult) best friends, a hot and beloved next-door neighbor who would do anything for her, and an equally hot hook-up who wants to become more. Oh, and a crazy-self-involved mom and list-a-holic dad. All of the above get about equal screen time, and everything on that list affects everything else on that list. This reads like any other contemporary, but with more medical terminology and above-average characters.
It's not that the book makes light of cancer. The thing is, when you're a senior in high school, all of those things that I listed kind of feel as serious as cancer. That's why we love contemporary YA--the stakes can feel SO HIGH even when the book is about, like, who the protagonist is gonna make out with. But what's amazing about Send Me A Sign is the way Tiffany Schmidt balances all of Mia's problems. Cancer does make the stakes higher than usual, but for Mia it has the effect of just making all the hard things harder: amplifying every emotion, every decision, every reaction. By the end of the book, I was completely immersed in Mia's life. And really, that's what the book is about, much more than her illness--it's about her life. So even if you normally give Cancer Books a pass, you might want to give this one a shot. I think it will surprise you (and suck you in and make you neglect your to-do list for a whole afternoon. Not that I did that or anything.)
I received a free advance e-book copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I could never resist picking a dandelion gone to seed, and I couldn’t resist the beautiful simplicity of the cover of SEND ME A SIGN, either! The summer between Mia’s junior and senior year is supposed to be the best time of her life, but instead of partying with her cheerleader friends and soccer star boyfriend, Mia ends up in the hospital battling leukemia.
But SEND ME A SIGN isn’t just a story about cancer . . . it’s about fighting for control over your life, about friendships, secrets, omens, letting go, holding on, but most of all, SEND ME A SIGN is a phenomenal love story.
Tiffany Schmidt is a fellow Apocalypsie debut author and I am thrilled to be one of the first in the group to have had the chance to read an ARC of SEND ME A SIGN! This is one of those books where I ignored my family, friends and messy house because I had to know . . . what happens?!? Mia just wants to pretend everything is normal, but how does she explain so much time off from school and her mixed bag of symptoms? Tiffany has a gift for creating realistic dialogue and her characters are genuine, multi-layered and at times, you'll want to yell at them, “Hey! Be nice to Mia! She’s sick!” As a writer, I can often predict how certain plot threads will unfold, but SEND ME A SIGN kept me guessing right up until the end.
Brilliant, beautiful and alternately heartbreaking and hopeful - if I could blow on that cover dandelion, I would wish that Goodreads had more stars for me to shower this amazing story with!!
I really dislike cancer books. To me, many of them are too dramatic and incredibly predictable – for instance, in some of the books, it seems incredibly obvious that one of the characters will die due to cancer. While I have liked a few books that deal with topics of cancer, such as Before I Die and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, most books in this genre I tend to avoid.
However, I very much enjoyed reading Send Me a Sign. Why is this? At a glance, it seems like a typical story about a girl diagnosed with leukemia. But really the story is less about cancer than that it involves cancer . Cancer is never really the main point, and while the treatments and such are discussed, the story is more about how cancer affects people.
Mia is a golden girl. She's got a great group of friends – dubbed the "Calendar Girls" – and a boy who's interested in dating her. She gets great grades, has a great family who's proud of her, and is happy in her life. She has a great friend, Gyver, who she's known for years. All she cares about is having a perfect senior year. Until she starts getting bumps on her leg. Until her mother, worried, sends her to the doctor to have her checked. Until the doctor tells her that she has leukemia. Until Mia realizes that her perfect, golden life is slipping away from her.
See, Mia's less concerned about the cancer than she is concerned about her friends finding out about the cancer. She doesn't want the Calendar Girls to know. If they find out, surely they'll end their friendship with her. And then her perfect life will come apart. Mia's mother, wanting her daughter to have a perfect life, comes up with a plan: Mia will hide her secret from her friends and keep up her perfect façade and they'll never know. Except, as Mia starts treatment and starts feeling sicker, it gets harder and harder to hide her secret from her friends.
What I really loved about this book, like I mentioned before, was how it wasn't about cancer and more about how people are affected by cancer. The book shows how people are affected by the cancer, by the issues going on – for instance, Mia's mother becomes overprotective and Mia's father becomes engrossed in all of the facts about cancer. The book also shows how Mia herself deals with the issue, as she wrestles with the fact that she might die, and the fact that her life has truly changed. It also shows how she deals with the fact that she's lying and hiding from her friends.
While, at the same time, showing how people are affected, the author also shows the actual treatment, as Mia goes through chemotherapy. I really loved how superstitions and charms were woven in through the story. Mia is always searching for signs. A necklace on the ground, a piece of paper she finds – everything means something to her. She frequently reads the horoscopes with her friends and wears a good-luck-charm necklace. And when her world gets turned upside down, she is looking for a sign that everything will be alright, be okay. I really loved the aspect of the story.
And as regarding the plot, I liked how it ended up being more about friends and family than cancer. It was a will-she-or-won't-she scenario as Mia decided whether or not she would tell her friends. The book twisted and turned a few times and I didn't find the story to be predictable, and the ending was perfect, leaving open a few loose ends while wrapping the whole of the story together.
If there was anything I disliked about the book, it was mainly based around the characters and the romance. The Calendar Girls were hard to tell apart from one another, but that might have been done purposefully, since they were so close that they had almost all become cutouts of one another in their friendship. The romance – it was easy to figure out the one that Mia would end up with. However, it was a fun journey and the contrast between Ryan, the jock that Mia has wanted (and has been "dating") and Gyver, her old friend, was interesting.
Tiffany Schmidt has really beautiful writing. Her writing is beautiful, easy to read, and sounds like a teenage girl. She manages to keep in her lovely prose while interjecting a strong voice for Mia. I'm very interested to see where she will go next and I'm very excited to read her next book, Bright Before Sunrise
This book will have lots of appeal to teen girls, and people who liked stories like Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty and books like Before I Die and other books with fun stories and some serious elements. People who dislike cancer books will probably really enjoy this one as well, as it twists the tropes of the cancer genre.
I am always a little hesitant to read books that confront issues like life changing illness because it is so easy to either be completely depressing or preachy. However, Send Me A Sign was neither one of those things. What I found was a story that was sad, yes, but also funny, romantic, honest and hopeful. Tiffany Schmidt's storytelling really brought me into Mia's life and showed me the contrast between "before" and "after". I was especially interested in Mia's mother, who will probably annoy and anger a lot of people when they read this story. I thought that she was written very well, though, and I could really relate to her need to control the situation and pretend that everything was normal and would be ok. The author doesn't hold back when writing for Mia's mom, but she was an excellent combination of vulnerability and insensitivity without being totally unlikable. Part of the catalyst for Mia's realizations about her illness came about because of her mother's behavior and I thought that part of the story was very well structured.
Send Me A Sign captured the confusion and uncertainty that comes with a sudden illness, especially at an age when you feel invincible. Much of the conflict of the book revolves around Mia's reluctance to tell her friends that she is sick. It is that struggle that presents Mia's flaws the most strongly because it's a decision that I, as a reader, did not agree with at all. Mia's need to keep secrets ends up producing negative outcomes for many of the personal relationships that she holds so dear, but it also makes her a believable character that I loved and could relate to. Each relationship in Mia's life seems to reflect a different aspect of her grieving process. From her must trusted friend, Gyver, to her cheerleader besties, Mia presents a different part of herself to everyone she knows. Meanwhile, the inner turmoil that comes with facing illness chips away at her until she is forced to confront the very thoughts she has been working so hard to avoid. All of this was presented in a very realistic and unflinching way. In the end, it is an uplifting book that manages to present a story of hope without burying the reader in hearts and rainbows. I was enchanted by its combination of bitter and sweet and I won't soon forget Mia's story.
I was worried this would be a Cancer Book. I am a bit of a hypochondriac, and I’m convinced reading all those Lurlene McDaniel books about dying girls as a teen broke my brain a little. But guess what? SEND ME A SIGN is awesome. It’s funny and bittersweet and swoonworthy. Mia is far from a tragic heroine; she’s scared and sad and sometimes she makes bad choices, but they aren’t stupid choices; I always understood why. She’s also engaged in a fantastic love triangle – one of the best I’ve read, honestly! While I had a strong preference myself (I’m always a sucker for boys next door, and guitar-playing ones in particular), I felt like Mia was really lucky to have both of them in her life. And her friends feel so real – all girls that I alternately wanted to slap and hug – each with their own distinct personalities and quirks. I can’t share the entire email I wrote Tiffany when I finished reading the book because of spoilers, but here’s part of it: "It’s so good. Seriously. Amazing. I started reading at 10:30 on the computer while my Nook was charging. Steve went up to bed, I said “leave the light on, I’ll be up in a few minutes,” and it’s now 2am and I’m still downstairs on the couch. I will read it again tomorrow more savoringly but I had to know that Mia would be okay before I went to bed."
I enjoyed this book but it was exhausting. It was really long and felt really long. There was a point in the middle where I just hated everyone for a long time. Then it came back to goodness. The beginning was great. There was a lot of tension and drama and sadness and it felt real. But then it got really soapy... which is interesting for a cancer book. I didn't feel like it tried to be lofty. Mia buckles under her lies and she takes a big crash. But I thought her friends were way too shallow and so was Mia and Gyver was strange as well. Actually, I think I liked Ryan the best because at least he was trying really hard for a long time. I liked the book, I did, but it was tiring to read. I feel like a lot should have been wrapped up much quicker than it did. The main plotline (which is a romance, not so much about the cancer) just draaaaaged and I wondered how Mia could really be that oblivious when she really is a smart girl. But there were times when it was heartbreaking and the writing is great and I did appreciate how despite all this cancer going on there was still the shallowness and stupidity of high school in everyone around. It made the book feel more real. However, the well-deserved ending was a long time coming. That was really my only complaint.
I had mixed feelings with this book. I liked it and i didn't liked it. What i didn't like was how Mia couldn't bring her self to tell her friends she has cancer and the "suspense" of her telling them dragged on too long, it made the story frustrating to read. I hated her mom, she just annoyed the shit out of me. But one thing i did love about it was the romance & friendship between Mia, Gyven and Ryan, i thought it was really adorable on how both of the guys took care of her through the process and story. And it was sweet.
When Mia is diagnosed with leukemia her mom treats her cancer treatments like a trip to a spa. A month of chemo, and life will go back to normal. But cancer is Mia's new normal. And getting used to life with it is nothing like getting your nails done.
Make sure to read this one with tissues on hand. Mia is such a realistic character I wanted to pray for her. Instead I'll send my thoughts to anyone who is currently dealing with cancer. I hope we find a cure soon.
Without a doubt, the cover is the best thing about this book. Mia has epic plans for the summer with her best friends the Calendar Girls. But Fate has a way of interrupting the best laid plans of mean girls and cheerleaders. Mia is diagnosed with cancer. Aided and abetted by her annoying parents, she decides to keep it a secret and tells only her boy-nextdoorfriend about it. The secret comes back to haunt her as her life implodes. I found Mia beyond annoying. I understand the devastation of a cancer diagnosis but the author presents her as a user of people. Everything is about her. I also question some of the things the author allowed in a hospital setting. The only reason this did not get one star is Gyver, the boy-nextdoorfriend. He was the only redeeming feature.
Pretty deep, tough story. Some parts made me want to throw the book against the wall in an effort to slap the character, but overall was a meaningful and sweet story about relationships and the hardships they must endure. It got pretty suicidal looking there in the end, but it rounds out cute with the main characters getting together. Overall, if you’re looking for a quick and sweet read, go for this book!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Mia Moore is a popular girl at school. She has good grades. She is on the cheerleading squad. The handsome soccer-captain is falling in love with her. Her mom is very proud of her. In her life, she has never really flat-out fail at anything. But when she is being diagnosed with cancer, Mia does not know how to deal with it. Should she share her medical condition with all of her friends at school? Can she pretend that nothing bad is going on with her health? Can she hide her pain from her parents? Can she continue to be mom’s proud daughter? Can she find love when her life is tumbling out of control?
Unquestionably, Mia is a beautiful teenager and competent student. But for many years, she has been been making her decisions based upon the lyrics of a random song or the number of petals on the flower that she picks. This totally baffles me when I first learn about her habit. Why would she do that, right? I mean, I can understand the occasional urge to seek signs but doing that all the time? Seriously?? But as I get to know Mia, I begin to understand why she subscribes to horoscope and relies so irrationally on her good luck charm. I start seeing why she needs to count petals before making up her mind to say something to others. You could say she is superstitious but as the story unfolds, I learn her reasons. I learn why she feels despondent. Her health condition may have brought her level of anxiety to new height but it’s definitely not the cause of why she is always looking for signs or why she constantly fidgets with her good luck charm.
While this story has its focus on a medical condition, I like that this is not just a story about cancer. Mia is certainly going through a lot because of her condition but she is not the only one coping. In the story, there are people who do not know how to cope with Mia’s condition. There are people who are genuinely wise and caring but get misunderstood. There are people who assume they’re ready to deal with just about anything at first and then realize the pain of helplessness as they face their limitation. I like that there is no exaggerated expressions of emotion here. Although there is wailing, the drama feels real. And to me, this makes the story even more poignant and believable.
I also like that this story makes me think, and while I don’t dwell too much on things like philosophy and theories, somehow reading this story makes me wonder if a little piece of us could die every time we tell a lie. Look at Mia, for instance. Because she thinks she must hide her true feelings about her sickness in order to seek the approval from those who are around her, she feels like dying even though her health condition may not be as bad as she feels. And because of the way how she feels, she believes she won’t get better physically and starts making decisions based on what she believes. Is she a horrible decision-maker? Probably, but her way of hiding the truth does play a part in why she feels so helpless about her situation. I guess we may all have our interpretations about what to make out of the story but to me, what I just said is exactly why I enjoy this story so much! There is nothing preachy being shared in the book and yet I find something special that I can take away with and contemplate upon and that I believe is the power of a beautifully written story.
As you can tell, I absolutely, irrevocably LOVE this story!!
If you like stories that are bittersweet, honest and touchingly heartwarming, you’ll find Send Me A Sign meeting, if not exceeding, your expectations. I can genuinely say that this is unarguably one of my top favorites of YA contemporaries in 2012!
Send Me a Sign begins with a teenage girl who discovers news that nearly shatters the life she once knew right before her eyes. Cancer is something we all face whether it be from the people around us or in ourselves and we all know it’s a tough thing to overcome. In Send Me a Sign, Tiffany Schmidt creates a beautiful and refreshing novel that allows us to experience someone literally dealing with life and death and the consequences of secrecy.
Mia believes in signs. Before deciding on any big decision, she feels she needs some kind of sign to move forward. When Mia finds out she has leukemia, she continues to look for signs whether to tell her friends or whether she will live or die. In the midst of this, Mia is afraid people will pity her or run away from her because of her illness. Throughout the book, Mia struggles with acceptance, alienation, and wanting to live a normal life. No matter how strong and brave Mia appeared to be, deep down she was terrified and barely holding on. Keeping up pretenses of being healthy was just slowly killing away Mia’s spirit and strength and it hurt so much to see her slowly give up. Mia tried her very hardest to keep her parents happy and even when she nearly crumbled, I always thought Mia was a good person who was just scared for herself.
The romance in Send Me a Sign was one that certainly touched my heart. I loved how Schmidt was able to make me fall in love with both of the love interests. My heart swelled and raced and broke for both and I won’t be surprised if other readers have a hard time choosing as well. Ryan, who starts off as a player, later shows his true feelings. He becomes the ever faithful and devoted boyfriend that Mia could ever want. He stays with Mia even after knowing about her illness. While I loved Ryan and deeply ached for him, I could not help but adore and love Gyver even more. Gyver was Mia’s best friend from childhood and they’ve always been close. He was sweet, charming, smart and super cute. He was always supportive of Mia, but he never sugar coated his feelings and always told Mia what he felt and thought straight up. Mia cared for both Ryan and Gyver, but only one really captured her heart and seeing her have to choose and lose one was very hard to read. It was difficult because both guys were just wonderful and either one would have been perfect for Mia.
The writing in Send Me a Sign is incredible. Schmidt’s writing really shows depth and power. She was able to really touch me in ways I don’t think I ever thought I could be touched. Just a few pages in and I was already feeling all kinds of heart wrenching emotions. Schmidt really sets the pace beautifully, building up to end that really got me sucked into the perspective of someone struggling with cancer. It became vivid and descriptive and really intense, I could not stop myself from reading. I really loved how Schmidt brought in the fear of death, of giving up, losing hope and then believing and fighting for life. She really weaves in Mia’s superstitions into the story very well. Not only does this book tackle cancer, but it also tackles relationships, friendships and family.
Overall, Send Me a Sign was fantastic novel about the belief in fighting back, the meaning of communication and learning what you really want in life. It’s a book that will definitely capture the hearts of many and more.
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt is about a girl who gets diagnosed with Leukemia, and ends up struggling with health and relationship problems. She believes that everything is a sign, this helps her make reasonable decisions.
Send Me a Sign is undoubtedly a book worth reading. The suspense grew in some parts of the story, the drama caused unsureness and the wish to continue reading. It tells a story about the secrets the main character was willing to keep from people knowing not just because she wanted them hidden, but her mom did as well. It is very easy to understand why she made certain decisions and why she avoided others.
SEND ME A SIGN by Tiffany Schmidt was another of those books that I randomly selected, based only on the cover or the title, without having read any reviews or heard any plot or character descriptions. It can be refreshing to start a book without any preconceived ideas, which can be difficult when you read and watch as many reviews as I do, but I was excited to give this one a try when I saw it on NetGalley.
Starting with the plot. Mia is a high school student who definitely understands what it's like to be a perfectionist. Her parents are always stressing the importance of maintaining the perfect grades.. the perfect popular friends.. the perfect "almost" boyfriend (who ALL the high school girls wish was their own!).. right down to the perfect hair style and the perfect athletic skills (on the cheerleading squad, at least). Consumed with her quest to always seek the ideal, Mia has fallen into an obsessive compulsive fixation on superstitions. Making most of her decisions based on a system of self-imposed rules, Mia has very little experience with really knowing what SHE wants out of life.
Everything changes overnight when Mia learns that she has an aggressive form of leukemia. She must spend at least a month in the hospital and her mother urges her to keep her illness a secret, deciding that her popular friends and her perfect "almost" boyfriend might misunderstand or judge her based on her present weakness. Alone and afraid, Mia has nobody to console her outside of her best friend Gyver, a guy so far from their vision of perfection that Mia's parents barely know he exists. So, they think nothing of the situation when it seems that Gyver is wanting more than friendship from their daughter...
Mia feels that the signs and the superstitions are definitely not in her favor, and it seems much easier to just give up the fight than to try to maintain her grades, friends, boyfriend, and hair -- oh yeah, and she also has to fight cancer. Can Gyver get her attention enough to teach her how to look inside herself and find the strength to see beyond her fears?
I thought this story was really adorable and I definitely enjoyed the read. Although it dealt with a heavy, depressing subject, the book itself really didn't feel overly burdened or drawn out the way I might have expected from a novel dealing with a potentially life threatening illness. I'm really not generally a fan of romantic triangles, but the characters felt relatable and realistic enough to make it work in this story, I think. Sure, it seemed pretty obvious who Mia would ultimately choose by the end of the book, but the focus on self-discovery and the emphasis on personal strength was enough to overcome any weaknesses on the romantic side.
I think I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, realistic, contemporary young adult novel. If you like a little bit of love, a side of rebellion, and a lot of courage, give SEND ME A SIGN a shot. It was a quick easy read and I'm glad I had the chance to review this story!
My Thoughts: Wow, what a novel! This one was awesome! Even though Mia was sick, it was still a thought provoking novel.
I usually hate cancer novels, who doesn’t? We hate cancer, it's bad, and hard to read about.
We are introduced to Mia who believes in horoscopes, lyrics in songs, and mostly everything else that can be told through fortunes or signs.
Mia is enjoying her summer days with her best friends, when she gets some really bad news. Mia has cancer. Mia doesn’t tell anyone except her parents (of course they know), her doctors, and her best friend and boy next door Gyver.
Mia’s life had started to become pretty good before this. She had the attention of the school popular boy Ryan, best friends, school, the idea of college, cheer-leading, just about everything a girl could want.
She decides not to tell her friends and spends most of the summer in the hospital while she tells her friends she is elsewhere.
Mia goes through the treatments with Gyver by her side. Man, where can I get me one of these Gyvers? Gyver was such a sweet boy. For some reason, I kept picturing him in my head as the blond headed kid from Jane By Design Billy. No idea why. That is how I seen him in my head.
Mia gets out of the hospital and tries to go back to her old life. She’s dating Ryan and hanging out with her best friends, until they start to get suspicious that something is happening but Mia wants to keep it a secret so she loses some of those friendships along the way for a bit.
Send Me A Sign is a great debut. Yes, it's sad but it’s also really addicting. I stayed up until 4 in the morning to finish this one. Once I started reading, I had to know what was going to happen.
There were times I wanted to slap Mia because I wanted her to be more open and accept that she needed to be, but she was scared and she had a hard time coping.
Send Me A Sign is a novel everyone should read. Even if you end up wiping tears away from your eyes a few times, it's one you can connect with on so many levels and plus there is a cute sweet boy in it!
Overall: Loved this one. One of the best debuts I’ve read this year. I felt so bad for Mia but I also wanted her to overcome this and get stronger! And I loved how she interacted with Gyver. Such a sweet yet heartbreaking novel.
Great characters, great plot, what more to ask for?
Cover: Love it! It’s so pretty yet makes me want to cry!
This book was really sad and adorable and crazy good, and hard for me to read for a few reasons. For one, one of my best friends is named Mia and the though of her having to go through what this Mia did broke my heart, another reason was because one of my other really good friends did go through this, and although the experiences were different for Mia and my friend, the thought of what she had to go through breaks my heart. (It happened while in college and we lived in different places to start with.)
Anywho, I knew that this book was going to be all about Mia and how she grappled with cancer and she had to deal with what kind of an impact it would have on her life. One of her biggest decisions was if she should or should not tell her friends about what she was going through, and she would look for signs to see if she should.
She does tell her neighbor Gyver about what she is going through after hearing a song that prompts the decision, but she chooses not to tell the "Calendar Girls" her friends who each represent a different season. I felt that her decision was fueled mostly by her mother who will not be getting any mother of the year awards in this book.
I felt that her decision not to tell her friends was frankly a dumb one, and it was not the only decision that I didn't agree with. But more about her friends, I felt that her mother's pressure not to tell them was wrong, and that although it would have been awkward and uncomfortable at first, all she did was hurt herself by not having that extra support when she needed it most.
I did like that the book went into the treatments that she had and the side effects she felt. I loved that this book didn't belittle cancer treatments and what happened to Mia as she went through her Chemo, it was brutal and honest and I really respected that.
I did wish that Mia had stood on her own a little more. She relied so heavily on her signs that it almost seemed that she was incapable of making a decision for herself. I loved that Gyver got her a black cat named Jinx, and that he tried his best to put the cabosh on her sign obsession. I loved how supportive and caring he was even though she was with Ryan, and he didn't approve.
I adored the book and these characters as they all struggled with Mia's diagnosis and her decisions along the way. I can't wait to see what Schmidt has in store for us in her next book.
Send Me a Sign was such a cute yet shockingly realistic portrait of what one might go through if diagnosed with cancer at such a tender age. I expected this novel to read like one of those Lurlene McDaniel books I frequently read when I was twelve, but it's not sappy and overly sad as I had predicted. Instead, this book takes a tragic situation and makes it a learning experience, a lesson in love and betrayal.
Alienating her friends was probably the worst decision Mia made through this whole battle with cancer, and it truly comes back to haunt her. When they do finally find out the truth, they feel betrayed, and Mia is left feeling more alone than ever. She's on the brink of self-destruction, and the one person she would normally turn to isn't there for her. Mia's pushed even her best friend away with her lies. This book is nothing, if not brutally honest. And I loved that.
I was first drawn to this novel by that cover. I've always loved dandelions...even when my dad was complaining that I was only making more weeds for him to mow down by blowing the feathery tuft of the plant into the air. But to me, a dandelion was full of possibilities, a hundred unspoken wishes, floating on the wind.
This book is about taking chances, risks, and living life to the fullest with no regrets. It's about following through and following your heart. For every sign Mia found, Gyver was there to ground her. He was her rock throughout her ordeal and he tried to keep her safe and sane when her world threatened to fall apart, even when she took the looking-for-a-sign thing a little too far.
The characters are all very realistic and funny and quirky in their own ways. I had a good idea how this novel was going to end, but it took a very different path to get there than I expected, which I found delightful, even if it was kind of sad along the way. I found this novel very enjoyable, but if you need more than my opinion, the awesome Courtney Summers also loved it. Yeah. :)
Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for providing a copy for review.