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Sign Language

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Twelve-year-old Abby North's first hint that something is really wrong with her dad is how long it's taking him to recover from what she thought was routine surgery. Soon, the thing she calls "It" has a real name: cancer. Before, her biggest concerns were her annoying brother, the crush unaware of her existence, and her changing feelings for her best friend, Spence, the bo ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published August 18th 2011 by Viking Juvenile
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Autumn Abby waited to tell her mom because she was mad at her. SHe decided to wait until it was too late so that her mom would be sad that she didn't listen …moreAbby waited to tell her mom because she was mad at her. SHe decided to wait until it was too late so that her mom would be sad that she didn't listen to Abby. In other words, Abby was being selfish. If you are asking why she got the pains in her stomach it's because many people experience grief differently. Some people experience grief in being sad all the time. Some shout. Abby bottled all her emotions up inside of her and that is why she had stomach pains she wouldn't let herself express any feelings so her body deided to cope with it another way.(less)
Addison I read counting by 7's once, a couple of years ago. This book is just as good, if not better. I highly recommend this book to you. Willow Chance in co…moreI read counting by 7's once, a couple of years ago. This book is just as good, if not better. I highly recommend this book to you. Willow Chance in counting by 7's is only 12, while this book is about Abby North who is also 12, but it goes all through her high school years. This book is sadder and definitely has more romance than counting by 7's. I think you would still like this book if you enjoyed counting by 7's. I would give it a try. (less)

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Sep 30, 2011 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to oliviasbooks by: Amy Ackley
With a few rare exceptions (i.e. Saving Francesca, Putting Makeup on Dead People, Saving June or also If I Stay) books about grief and me are usually not compatible. I am a big worrier, I have a lot of vivid imagination - the combination of both tends to keep me awake sometimes - and I primarily read for fun. It is nice when a book gives me insight or understanding as a bonus, but when I pick up a book I want to enjoy myself.

Therefore I think it was a very brave step of the author to offer me a
Stephanie A.
This book hurt so much to read. By the halfway point I was crying so hard every few pages I had to take it away from myself for the night. The biggest qualm I had was that she seemed really childlike for 12-going-on-13, and I worried about how the author was going to make her voice grow up -- but by the end, to my pleasant surprise, I felt like I was reading a regular YA novel after all, so I really like that we were able to follow so much of Abby's journey both during and after her father's dea ...more
My review was posted at

WOW. I knew it would be an emotional story and I knew I would like it but I had absolutely no idea what effect it was going to have on me or how I would feel after reading it. Sign Language is an emotional roller-coaster that renders you speechless within the first hour of reading it. It's heart-breaking, it's touching and it's going to teach you some life lessons along the way. I wasn't familiar with the author's work before but I
Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
Sign Language is a bit of a cross between a middle grade novel and a young adult novel; it also has nothing to do with sign language itself. The sign language part comes into play because at the start, the main character Abby, a twelve year old with no worries and a loving mother and father, likes to talk to her magic eight ball and ask it for a sign regarding her nonexistent – but very much hopeful – love life.

Abby’s life quickly goes from being normal, to being the façade of normal. Her father
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Oh. My. I knew a little about what would happen going in, but I had no idea how much of an impact this book would truly make. I was on the verge of tears for most of the first half and the second, I found myself in tears for some pretty intense parts. It was a very emotional read. And I'm glad I read it.

I was able to connect with Abby right away. I wanted to comfort her, protect her and it was hard to watch her experience this at such a young age. Reading through, it was obvious that Abby knew h
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, this book had me in tears, smiles, and sometimes angry with the characters!! But over all this book was amazing. It contained a mix of sad tragedies, awkward situations, and beautiful romance. I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female!!
Dave Moore
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It drew me in and kept me there. I could not put it down!
Wandering Librarians
Abby's father is dying of cancer. Abby deals with this mostly by pretending that it isn't happening, until her father really dies. Now Abby has to figure out how to get through her days, with little help from her mother who has fallen apart. Abby knows her friend Spence will always be there to support her, but Abby finds she's pushing everyone away who tries to help.

The book is split into two parts, "Before and During" and "After." The book spans about three years; the year Abby's father is dyin
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sign Language has nothing to do with the sign language you may be thinking of, trust me I was thinking of ASL when I read the title as well. This book is about a twelve-year-old girl who struggles with finding out her father has cancer.

I cried the most during this book than any other book I’ve ever read. I used to have a book in mind I would mention whenever someone mentioned crying while reading; this book has taken its place. The first-half of the book was gut-wrenching. I put the book down a
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Posted on Book Chelle.

4.5 stars

I had to push Amy Ackley's Sign Language to the front of my reviews. This book deserves a lot of buzz and everyone I know should read this. Ackley talks about the sensitive topic of cancer, and in a beautiful way. My experience with cancer was from the patient point of view, so I didn't fully understand the point of view from a family member or loved one. So, if you have ever experienced this in some way, I suggest to read Sign Language. If you want to read a great
My Rating: 4.5 / 5

First thoughts:
How do you write a review for a novel that has left you completely speechless? Sign Language is an incredibly beautifully written and heart-breaking story of a young girl who has to deal with losing her father at a young age. And despite being incredibly sad, I loved the hope that it conveyed.

More detailed:
Reading books like Sign Language always makes me appreciate my easy life a lot more and makes me hope that it will stay like that forever. The only severe loss
Sign Language is a book that made me want to cry, shout about and be happy. I never usually get that many emotions in one book. This book shows the brave perspective of 12 year old Abby North, who really grows as she deals with her father's illness.

Amy Ackley breached a serious topic with young adult and she did very, very well. Cancer, I think, is very easy to mess up when writing about. There are so many little things that you can't forget. Amy displayed all of them in a nice manner surroundin
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
Having a parent die at a young age can be really hard. Although it's quite different if it's sudden or if it's slow. In Sign Language Abby's father has been suffering for a long time. In the book we see bits and pieces of the real details, but enough to understand. What was heartbreaking is how Abby comes to terms with her fathers death. She's young, so she's given just enough info to let her know what's going on but not more than the family thinks she can handle. I appreciated the chapter in wh ...more
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
What's it like to lose your father? What if you didn't know you were losing him? For Abby North, only a 13-year old, she has to deal with both these questions at far too young an age. Her dad is dying from cancer, and her parents don't even tell her what It is until it's close to the end. In the first ever Amazon Breakthrough YA Novel winner, author Amy Ackley weaves a heartbreaking story told through pain, shadows, tears, empty stomachs, and hope. We follow Abby through her highest highs and lo ...more
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The theme of this book is loss and survival which the author embraces whole heartedly. Abby and her family is dealing with the fact that her father has cancer and he has only been given months to live. As his illness progresses, the whole family has to find their own way of dealing with what is to come. Her father often takes a light hearted approach which her mother hates. Her brother becomes more of a caregiver than a son and Abby feels lost in the shuffle. She has moments when she is sad but ...more
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Check out more reviews at Books to the Sky.

(I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.)

So it took me awhile to decide what I even wanted to rate this book. It was great but it wasn't bad. It was good and I enjoyed reading it, but I was just unsure. The beginning of the book was a little slow and it wasn't until the last 100 pages or so that I was really into it!

The main character Abby is dealing with a lot of things for a girl her age; father dying, mother grieving, c
Books to the Sky
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Check out more reviews at Books to the Sky.

(We received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.)

So it took me awhile to decide what I even wanted to rate this book. It was great but it wasn't bad. It was good and I enjoyed reading it, but I was just unsure. The beginning of the book was a little slow and it wasn't until the last 100 pages or so that I was really into it!

The main character Abby is dealing with a lot of things for a girl her age; father dying, mother grieving, c
Scribbler King
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
SIGN LANGUAGE is so sweet, and so sad. ACKLEY makes you really go through the journey with Abby as her dad gets sicker and sicker and then finally dies. The book is long, but very worth it. You really feel her pain. Your heart is sick for Abby. But it's not so bad that you finish the book feeling terrible. I think it was a good choice of ACKLEY's to finish the book a year or two after her dad died, showing some of the healing.

Perhaps this book touched me even more because someone in my family is
Chelsea Denisse
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
Amazing, incredible, great, fanastic, excellent etc. etc. etc.

Characters: All the characters I think were amazing, they each held what personality I thought was appropriate for people going through that time. I felt sorry for all the Norths and I couldnt help want to help them with all their problems. They each had their own way of dealing with life and I loved that and each character I could see actually living and I actually felt like I wanted to meet them and talk to them about life and thats
Sally Kruger
Abby's parents explain that her father is having an operation to remove one of his kidneys. He comes home from the hospital and seems a little tired, but other than a scar on his stomach, he doesn't seem any different. Abby learns that he will be going back from time to time for treatments, but he assures her everything will be fine.

Life goes on. Abby hangs around with her best friend Spence. She goes to school and does her homework plus all the extra credit. She fights with her brother and disa
Olivia S.
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In “Sign Language” Abby North has a normal life. She gets good grades, she has friends, and she has the popular Logan Pierce as her secret crush. But her life turns upside down when her dad finds out he has cancer after having a recent kidney surgery and the cancer is spreading quickly through his body. Abby’s mom now cries in the shower and is so filled with grief that she won’t pay attention to anything but Abby’s dad. Sooner or later Abby’s dad dies, and Abby’s mom turns depressed and her who ...more
A beautifully heartbreaking story about loving, losing, and growing up during both. This story was so touching and made me realize once again how blessed I have been. I cried and cried while reading this book because even if this isn't a true story, it really is. This happens so often that it was really easy to relate to.
Ackley did such a wonderful job of making the characters real that they felt like people you have known your whole life. Even though I occasionally wanted to yell at Amy to get
Emily Benoit
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Concept/Ideas: 5/5
Storyline/Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars



From the very first page I was absoloutely HOOKED!
The storyline is commonly used, yes, BUT, it was written in such a interesting, heart breaking, tear jerking, wonderful way, that you can't help but look at it in a different light.


From page one..... I loved it.
The writing is so well done, and altho
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Part One: Before and During - Abby is 12 and understands that her father is seriously ill; she even realizes that he has cancer, even though the "C" word hasn't been mentioned in her home. While trying to cope with the change of having Dad retire from teaching and be confined to a bed, Abby's teenage life continues--her unrequited feelings for the popular boy at school, the lovely relationship she has with Spence, her BFF, and the conversations she has with the magic 8 ball.

Part Two: After - Her
Lori Henrich
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Abby North is only twelve-years-old when her life begins to change, and she doesn't even realize it is coming. The only indication she has that something is wrong, is that her father is sick. He is going into the hospital for what Abby thinks is a routine operation. What she doesn't realize is that this is just the beginning of the end for her dad.

A thought provoking story. I was angry at the parents for not explaining what was happening to Abby and her brother Josh. They were left in the dark w
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
I read Amy Ackley’s Young Adult novel, Sign Language, in one day. It is a well-written but sad story about Abby, a 13-year-old girl, who loses her father to cancer. Her father dies less than half way through the book, and the story really centers on Abby and her families as they come to terms with the death, grieve, and ultimately go on with their lives. It will definitely make you cry.
Abby never really understood that her father would die. Her family didn’t speak about “It” and as Abby puts i
Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit)
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Abby North is a twelve year old who is trying to deal with normal adolescent woes when she starts to notice her dad is not feeling very well. Amy Ackley does a great job of writing from Abby's point of view and keeping it in an age appropriate tone of voice and maturity level.

I wasn't expecting Sign Language to be so focused on Abby's dad's cancer, but Ackley does an excellent job progressing with Abby as she moves from discovery of the illness to dealing with what happens afterwards. It was ver
Mar 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, chicklit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily M.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
It's not that this wasn't well-written, or well thought out or any of that, but when reading a book there needs to be at least a spark of connection with the main character. SOMETHING that has you rooting for them and what their goal is in the end, but I just couldn't connect with Abby. She was so unbelievably self-absorbed and so completely undeserving of some of what she said and did. She was more whiny than Harry Potter in Order of the Phoenix and I really just couldn't get past that. The wri ...more
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Amy Ackley is a mother of three whose career has run the gamut from public administration to labor relations for top automakers. A storyteller since childhood, Ackley left home at the age of sixteen and the need to support herself caused her to abandon writing fiction for many years. She picked up a pen again after her first child was born, and she began writing Sign Language seve

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“The Earth never stops spinning, Abby, no matter how fast you run in the opposite direction.” 4 likes
“Spence, who had seen Abby at her worst, would most appreciate her at her best.” 1 likes
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