Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Was Lucky To Get My Hands on this ARC...

... of Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt.

What you can't see in this picture is how I managed to break the binding (oops) and had to gingerly flip through the middle pages
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. (From Goodreads)
I don't read "cancer books." I've known too many people who have died of cancer or have suffered through chemo and radiation and, frankly, being attacked by your own cells gone rogue scares the hell out of me. As amazing as I hear it is, I won't touch The Fault in Our Stars with a ten foot pole. I also went through the Lurlene McDaniel reading binge/cryathon back in middle school and I think that turned me off of cancer books for good. Cry-fests about characters with terminal cancer and books with names like I Don't Want To Die (Seriously, Ms. McDaniel and Random House???) give me migraines.
How illogical is it, then, that I really wanted to read this book, even though the main character, Mia, has leukemia? Let's be honest... I had heard good things about the book, loved the part in the description about the "signs," and was ready to put down the book the second it became another "omg, shoot me NOW before I shoot myself" cancer book.
I didn't put it down. From the moment I opened these pages, I fell in love with Mia's "voice." Tiffany sucked me in right from the start, carrying me from poolside to Mia's diagnosis to her first hospital visit. I loved Mia's superstitions and quirks.
And Gyver. OMG, I'm in love with a fictional character named after MacGyver. And he's NOT a fictional dead boy.
 Here's the deal. Cancer is in this book, but it isn't the book. This is a book about a girl with cancer, but it's so much more. It's about friendship and making bad decisions. It's about falling in love and dealing with likes-and-maybe-loves and misunderstandings and families. And the pressure to be someone you're not. Anyone who has been a teen (or is a teen) can relate to Mia because we've lived those moments... just maybe not through the lens of someone with a frightening diagnosis.
I cried in a few spots and wildly grinned through others. And stayed firmly head over heels in love with this book. I can't wait to get a non-gym-manhandled hardcover when it comes out October 2nd! 

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