Release Date: August 18th, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Cover: A- I actually really like it and it fits the story extremely well.
*I was sent an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sign Language by Amy Ackley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Sign Language was an incredibly difficult read for me. I was sent an ARC and asked to review it, otherwise I probably never would have read it or requested it myself. The topic is Cancer, and since it has affected my family in many more ways than I can count on two hands, I knew going in that it was going to be tough for me to get through. And yes, there were tears. But surprisingly, I really enjoyed the story. And it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to get through. Not easy for sure, but not impossible.
Watching your dad die from Cancer as a child must be one of the most difficult things a kid can go through. I cannot imagine what life must have been like for Abby and her family. Some of the situations in this book I was all too familiar with. I lost a grandmother to Cancer and I almost lost my grandfather as well, but it ended up being Dementia instead. I'm not trying to depress you, I just want anyone that chooses to read this book realize that it's a tough read when it hits so close to home.
It's also about the aftermath of Cancer and learning how to put your life back together. And that is probably the hardest thing of all. Realizing that the one you are closest to won't be around for anymore hugs or conversations. Not being able to call that person whenever you want to talk about life. It's the little things you miss the most. Remembering something small about them when you hear a song or watch a movie or smell something familiar. I thought the book covered all of those things rather well considering it's feelings and thoughts, not words, that generally help get you through those situations.
Criticisms? Just one really. I thought the ending was really abrupt. I can't say why and won't spoil it, but I will say this. It's not as if the story wasn't wrapped up in the end. All the questions were answered, but it was almost as if the writing style changed for the last few paragraphs. Other than that, it was a great read. A difficult read, but a great one. And I want to thank the author and the publisher for contacting me about reviewing it.
To purchase a copy of Sign Language from Amazon.com, click here: Sign Language.