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.
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!