Publisher: Walker Childrens
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them!:)
Summary(Goodreads): 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.
After brooding over this book for a day or two, I’ve decided to give it a rating of 2. I usually don’t like to give the rating in the beginning, but after reading over this review, it seemed like I gave this book a 0 -which will never happen unless I hated a book so much I tore it in half (this has yet to happen, and I doubt it’ll ever happen (books are expensive!)).
It seems like lately I’ve been getting frustrated with all the books I read. I’m not usually this nit-picky. (Really!) I didn’t hate this book, but I was definitely annoyed with it. My main problem was the characters and all the other drama besides Mia’s cancer (I mean, it’s inevitable to have drama when cancer is involved, but I felt like all this extra stuff overshadowed Mia’s cancer and drew the focus away from it). It was making me stressed out- I can imagine how much worse it must have been for Mia.
Character-wise I hated everyone (okay maybe not everyone- I liked Mrs. Russo and felt only slight frustration towards Mia, but otherwise I did hate everyone else). They were all self-centered jerks, from Mia’s mom to her friends to Gyver to Ryan. I found myself getter more annoyed as the book went on, and by the time I finished, instead of fuzzy feelings for Mia (ahhh they’ve reached a resolution! Group hug!), I wanted to chuck this book across the room. (Call me heartless- I don’t care.) Besides the jerkish attitudes of all her family and friends, I hated how in the end everything was resolved so quickly and neatly. They were all like, “Sorry, I think I was wrong, but you have to understand, it was you not me,” and Mia was like, “Okay, I forgive you! I love you all!” What? (Mia wasn’t perfect, and some of the stuff she did was questionable/annoying- her habit of picking out signs is NOT a part of this; I’ll talk about that later-, but c’mon! It was not just her fault too. Besides, she had cancer and had to deal with chemo- which, goes without saying, is TERRIBLE. Cut her some slack- the poor girl needs it.) I understand a lot of the characters have bad attitudes because that was their way of dealing with the cancer and Mia’s secrecy, but in the end, instead of having apologies and healing, everything was skimmed over and neatly packaged.
Instead of an in depth description of why I hated all the characters, I’ll give you a little blurb about my thoughts on them:
Mia: She was okay. I was a little frustrated with her for keeping her cancer a secret because it caused all this drama, but I understand why Mia did it though- too complicated to really get into it, but it was SO MUCH MORE than her thinking her friends wouldn’t understand- so it wasn’t that big of a deal. What I really hated was how Mia just skimmed over things. (Like after the explosion with her mom, I was cheering for her; but then afterwards, cheering turned to booing when they both acted like nothing happened, and it wasn’t really mentioned again. I really wanted Mia to press the issue, but apparently she didn’t hear me, even though I was practically all up in her business.) Her quirkiness was enduring, and I enjoyed the scenes where Mia stopped to pick out signs (except for that part with the psychic and the tarot cards; that was creepy). Even though I personally am not superstitious at all, I related with these scenes because don’t we all sometimes just want a sign? A sign that things will get better, a sign that this won’t- or maybe will- last forever? I know I do. (Life would be so much easier if God would just point out the right way with rainbows lol. )
Ryan: He was a jerk in the beginning, but became sweeter at the end. I didn’t think it made up for what he said in the beginning though because it looked like he meant it all the way through…
Gyver: Hello there, Mr. Bipolar.
Mia’s Mom: She was so mean! Insensitive! I don’t care that that was her way of dealing with the cancer! It was not about her! It was about MIA! Mia, her daughter who was getting so much stress from her and from the cancer! (Okay, I’ll admit Mia’s mom does change a teeny bit in the end, but that was too late in the game for me. And though some part of me appreciated her sort of trying, her effort was infinitesimal. )
Mia’s Dad: Not as prominent in the book as Mom, so no real opinion about him other than wanting him to really stick up for Mia to her mom. (He did eventually, but it wasn’t as satisfying because that too was just mentioned and skipped over. It didn’t really do anything to change the relationship between Mia and her mother.)
Mrs. Russo: She was more motherly to Mia than her own mother. She was my favorite character, and she gave great advice that everyone chose to ignore.
Mia’s friends: They were very shallow and very mean/inconsiderate. I strongly disliked them (hate was way too overused in this review… it was time for a word change!:))
As mentioned before, the book as a whole had so much drama. I thought this book would focus solely on Mia’s cancer, how she dealt with it, her struggles, etc- and it did but not solely. Besides the lies and the Gyver/Ryan thing and her mom, I felt like I was the one who was suffocating from all this stuff in the book.
Overall, I gave it a 2 because I did finish it (I suffered, but I did finish it). I’ve kept in mind that this was the author’s debut novel, and despite everything, this book did have great potential. I’ll, as always, be waiting for her next books, which hopefully (and probably) will be much better than this one.
Thanks for reading!:)
Rating: 2 out of 5