Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Quick Review: Signs Point To Yes

Rating:  1/5

Summer is here, and that means spending afternoons reading cute  and summery YA novels.  One of the first books I decided to get my hands on - one that's been on my TBR list for a while - was Signs Point To Yes by Sandy Hall. I figured this would be the perfect book to kick off summer.  Unfortunately, a pretty book cover can be deceiving . . .

Signs Point to Yes follows the story of Jane and Teo, who both thought this summer would be uneventful but unexpectedly find themselves spending their summer  falling for each other.  Along with this, though, they have their own personal conflicts: Teo's search for answers on his biological father, and Jane dealing with being in her sister, Margo's, shadow while fighting off the pressure from her parents about her going to college.

I really wanted to like this book.  I really did.  Between the cute love story and an adorable front cover to match, I was gearing up for a really delightful read.  But from beginning to end, I couldn't stand this book, and by the time I brought myself to finish, my first thought was Thank god, and I couldn't click the 1-star rating on Goodreads fast enough.  That may sound harsh, but hear me out pretty soon.  First of all, there were some aspects of this novel that seemed really promising, like:

 Pointing out how sexist it is that it's okay for boys to tease girls because they "like" them.

A bisexual character!  Yes!

 Communicating the message that it's okay to not want to go to college right away, especially if you're undecided about your future.

Alas, this is pretty much where the pros end here, as overall I found Signs Point to Yes to be poorly written, juvenile, and complete fluff.  To me, the book reads more as a girl in middle school who decided to write a love story one day, rather than coming across as a published novel.  The writing seems really undeveloped, and the story itself is so overwhelmingly cheesy to the point where it's not enjoyable or at all realistic (There is actually a scene that involves the word "cooties" and one character being hit in the arm with a pillow.) 

To recap, the story  essentially revolves around Jane and Teo;  Jane gets a summer job babysitting Teo's siblings, and without fail, the two fall in love. Their budding romance is built on every cheesy romance cliche in the book, including awkward silences where each ends up looking at the other at the exact moment and then quickly turning away, blushing.  The romance is incredibly forced in this novel, characterized by everything you'd expect from middle school romance, from people "falling in love" for no explicable reason, to staring at each other among a group and having their friends say, ever so tactfully, Why don't you guys just make out now! Hahaha! 

On that note, the other big issue with this novel is that the dialogue is so painfully unrealistic.  There were very few lines of dialogue within the story that sounded authentic and like they could've been spoken by actual people.  The majority of dialogue has an incredibly scripted, lackluster feel to it and either sounds robotic or like something out of a really bad rom-com.  The character dialogue and behavior is just not at all genuine, with characters saying and doing things that people wouldn't normally do.  An example of this is whenever Jane embarrasses herself.  Rather than try to hide it like a normal person, she makes a point to openly out herself, like so: HAHA, I'M SUCH A MESS, IS THERE ANY WAY I CAN MELT INTO THIS FLOOR RIGHT NOW?

I'm sorry, but I have to say it:

My WORD, everything about this story is flat: the way it's narrated, the dialogue, the characters . . . I couldn't at all connect with any of it because it's just so cliche and reads as so artificial, again bringing us back to the whole "reads like a middle-schooler wrote it," especially with this line: "I volunteer as tribute!"  Now, I don't know what the rules are with quoting YA within a YA novel, but come on.  A Hunger Games reference?

Which brings us to the character who spoke this line . . .

RAVI IS THE MOST OBNOXIOUS CHARACTER ON THE PLANET.  He's Teo's best friend and is overly possessive of Teo, wanting him all to himself to the point where he has an extreme hatred of Jane and can't stand any moment where Teo isn't with him instead.  In this way, Ravi is extremely immature, and 99.9% of his interactions involve him pouting, being overly dramatic, and finding nothing to do with his time other than being terrible to Jane.  Seriously, if I could summarize Ravi's entire time in the novel in a single segment, it would be this:  *crosses arms, glares*  "God, Jane the Pain.  Doesn't Jane suck?  I hate you, Jane.  I'm always going to hate you.  You're so dumb, Jane."

That's all he does.  It gets to be so excessive, so needless, that you spend the entire book wondering, Why the heck does this guy hate her so much?  It isn't until the last twenty or so pages in the book that you finally found out: The reason he hates Jane so much - get ready - is because they were partnered together on a project once and got a B.  No, I'm serious.  That's it.  That's the entire reason why Ravi has this lifelong vendetta against Jane to where he feels the need to be awful to her face every time he sees her, and why he says he will continue to never like her.  Over one B on one project.

All together now: Are you KIDDING ME?

The other big letdown in the story is that the bisexual representation of Margo, Jane's sister, doesn't actually go anywhere.  Throughout the entire novel, Margo expresses that she'll come out to her parents when she's ready.  When she finally does, it's when their parents are yelling at Jane, and it goes a little something like this: "Honestly, Jane, why can't you be more like Margo!... What's that, Margo?  You're bi.  Oh, well, that's nice, dear.  We'll support you no matter what.  NOW, BACK TO JANE BEING A DISAPPOINTMENT..."  No big moment, no... anything. The only original, diverse aspect of this novel ends up getting overshadowed by Jane and her superficial love arc *looks into the camera, The Office-style, unimpressed* 

Despite its bright and colorful exterior, I found Signs Point to Yes the opposite: dull, artificial, and lacking any vibrance in its characters and its writing.  Cheesy lines and overly done cliches are so constant that nothing feels fresh or original.  For these reasons, I sadly just couldn't get into this novel. 

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