Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Sign Language by Amy Ackley

Sign Language by Amy Ackley
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (Penguin Group)
First published: August 18th, 2011
Source: Received from author
Pages: 392
Goodreads Summary:
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 boy across the street. Now, her mother cries in the shower, her father is exhausted, and nothing is normal anymore. Amy Ackley's impressive debut is wrenching, heartbreaking, and utterly true.

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 I have ever experienced was my grandmother's death, and while I've missed her every day for the past three years, I also know that it's better like this. But the thought of losing my father, or any person this close to me, is sending cold shivers down my spine.

Abby North, Sign Language's main character, has to go through such a tragic experience. We get to witness her family's struggle to live with the knowledge that her father's cancer might, and will, kill him. Everyone of them - Abby, her brother Josh, her parents - is dealing with this situation differently, but exactly this is what makes this novel so realistic and heart-breaking at the same time.

At the beginning of this novel Abby is twelve years old and at the end she is fifteen. Therefore Abby doesn't only have to deal with her father's sickness, but with typical teenage problems, too. Growing up under normal circumstances can be difficult already, but how do you deal with your first crush, your first period or putting on make-up for the first time, when everything you should be thinking about is your father?

Amy Ackley's writing is incredibly beautiful and made it possible for me to identify with a young girl who has such tragic problems. It flows easily and makes reading this novel such a lovely experience - you don't even realize when you've read hundred pages and it's over too soon. The characters she created (especially Abby's best friend Spence) all play an important part in this novel and are very well written.

What I enjoyed most about this is Abby's hope to get signs from God or her dead father that they're supporting her and trying to help her get through this horrible time. Even before her life started to revolve around her father's sickness, she constantly asked her Magic 8 Ball (see cover) for advice, believing that those answers came from God. I can completely relate to her hope that little everday situations might be a sign that everything will be okay again.

All in all, I enjoyed Sign Language very much. I usually have a hard time reading very sad stories, but this novel turned such a tragic topic into a story full of hope. Don't be scared away by the knowledge that it might make you cry (because it made me cry) and read this wonderful book. It's a story that is impossible to forget.



Have you read Sign Language? What did you think about it?
Carina

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  1. This book sounds heartbreakingly beautiful...I think your review of it is equally beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. This sounds really good and I love that the book spans a few years of Abby's life as it allows a deeper understanding of what she's going through. Lovely review!

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  3. I've read the book and I completely agree with your review of it. It's beautifully written and, regardless of how many tears were shed through reading it, I loved the hope.

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I read and love every single comment you leave, so thanks a lot for taking your time to let me know what you are thinking about this post! Feel free to leave a link to your blog, so I can check it out, too!
Carina

P.s.: This is a tag- and award-free blog. Thanks a lot for your consideration though!