release date- August 18, 2011
Genre- Realistic Fiction
(shelfari) (amazon) (goodreads)
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.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into Sign Language, I'm not really one for those gritty "real world" novels, but sign language was definitely not what I expected it to be. Grief is a hard subject to talk about and it certainly must be a tough one to write about. Everyone grieves in a different way, and it amazes me that something that almost all people have in common*, can be so vastly different between all people. In Sign Language we got Abby's unique view in the years before and after her fathers death.
I liked the time span that the book took place in (about 4 years), life is not something that you can rush through. Ackley did an amazing job of changing Abby as she grew up, but still keeping her true to her character. Its an amazing realistic fiction story, and stayed 'realistic' the entire time, without anything to rushed or emphasized. It was beautifully written, and the characters were some of the most identifiable I've read. After a long span of adventure and paranormals, sign language was a breath of fresh air.
I also liked how there were other things going on, not just the whole cancer thing, it was enough to keep the book not completely depressing, and again true to life.
I absolutely completely whole heartedly adored Spencer. His wonderful positive personality, despite the hardships and loneliness that he had growing up. He was the perfect friend to Abby, and I wish I had someone like that in my life.
I think that Sign Language is a book that everyone will identify with, nomatter there personal experiences, and it was -just in general- a great read. Praise to Amy Ackley for her magnificant debut and I look forward to her books of the future!
keep calm and carry on,
*once, as a poll in my sophomore year health class, my teacher had asked everyone in the class to raise their hand if they had lost someone that they loved dearly, not necessarily a family member, and not a family member that you had no attachments to, but someone you loved. about 60% of the people I'm my class raised their hands.