Review: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
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Release date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: SwoonReads (Macmillan)
Length: 288 pages
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: Signs Point to No
The author of A Little Something Different brings you the most adorkable romance ever.
Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo.
Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.
In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.
I quite enjoyed Hall's A Little Something Different, despite an instance of very problematic girl-hating. But what made ALSD an enjoyable read to me was that it had a lot of personality and humor. It's hard to pull off ~15 or so first person POVs, and she managed to make them all mostly distinct and amusing. So it's really baffling to me that Signs Point to Yes ended up being so utterly devoid of...well, anything, really. Which sounds like an awful thing to say, but really, SPtY was pointless, bland, unswoony, and dull. The signs didn't point to anything.
I almost felt that this love story needed a few more rounds of series edits, but truth be told, it's a low conflict set up from the get-go. Jane, a "superstitious fangirl" per the blurb, does indeed shake a Magic 8 ball every now and then, and she does indeed reference reading fan fiction occasionally, but she doesn't have enough substance to be characterized as either supersititous or a fangirl. Maybe this book would have been better suited for first person POV so that maybe Jane or Teo, the "new crush", could have accrued some glimmer of a personality.
So anyway, Jane becomes the new babysitters for Teo's younger half-sisters in a super contrived manner, and a super contrived crush is born. A crush with...no obstacles or conflicts, really, besides the fact that Teo's best friend inexplicably HATES JANE, the innocuous, slightly dim girl with all the personality of beige wall paint. (Then again, Teo seems to have the personality of a folding lawn chair, so idk, maybe they're suited for each other.)
|That's it. That's the whole basis of it.|
I'm being cruel. This is a harmless book going for a cute, sweet thing. Lots of blushing. Lots of flustered moments. Really awkward, lame, blushing scenes, which, I'm sorry, do not a ship make. Like, it's cute in the way that teeny tiny tweens are cute when they get crushes and you're like AWW PRECIOUS BABIES, ASK HER TO SLOW DANCE WITH YOU, YOU'RE SOUL MATES WHO WLL BE BROKEN UP IN THREE HOURS. Like, Jane and Teo were one emo tune away from swaying on the spot, tentatively touching each other's shoulders with enough space between them to fit the holy ghost.
Add a whole bunch of meh storylines that sort of limply tie together and you've got a rather weak brew of a book. I don't know why the whole business of Teo wanting to find his birth father was here, to be honest, since it seemed to derail the plot and the romance entirely. But then again, the romance was pretty tepid anyway, so that's hardly an extraordinary feat.
Also, my god was the dialogue awkward. So much no. Like not just that the characters were awkward, but it was awkwardly written. Every time Jane and Teo tried to flirt banter I just...ughhh
The only things that had any potential were 1) Margo, Jane's older sister, struggling with telling people about her bisexuality (you know, BARELY, because god forbid there be any true character conflict in this book beside the melodrama of Teo's birth father) 2) the issues between jane and her parents about her college path and life choices, which took a backseat to the aforementioned blushing and flustering 3) the tension between Teo and his stepfather, which could have been a really interesting story about blended families and losing culture, since, after marrying a white guy, Teo's mother no longer speaks Spanish with Teo, nor does she teach it to her new kids. I found that super interesting, but it's BARELY touched upon.
And with regards to Margo...well, again, so pleased to see bisexuality portrayed in books, but like, Margo didn't feel like a real character? Or had much purpose? Or? I don't know. Good intentions, very vague follow through, I suppose. Also midly confused about the inclusion of Ravi. Basically, this book had no focus, no purpose, no message. It just kind of...rolled along. Being all blushy and blah. With a bizarrely soap opera ending.
Ultimately, I found myself wondering what the POINT of this book was--as in, why was it written and why were we paying any attention to these people at this time in their lives--and I hate that.
Big meh, alas. And I love my fluff and summer romances, but this, sadly, was just not one that worked for me.