Sunday Street Team comes from the fabulous brain of Nori over at ReadWriteLove28. Basically we act as a street team for a particular author (or authors) every month, promoting their book and basically flailing about (we do that right?). To learn more about it you can visit the Sunday Street Team page over on Nori’s site.
Today I will be talking to you about Signs of You by Emily France. This is one of the first contemporary books I have review for Sunday Street Team, and I am so excited to share with you!
Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.
When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.
When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.
This book took me completely by surprise. I don’t know if I just didn’t fully take in the synopsis or what, but I was not expecting the book that I got. This may sound like I see this in a bad way, but I don’t. What did I expect? I expected a book about the loss of a family member. I expected to see someone struggling to get by because they just could not handle it. I expected to see people leaving the main character and her just kind of trying to overcome things. This book is none of those things, and I honestly can’t believe I even thought that. It makes me wonder what made me decide to read this book if that was my initial impression. Here’s a few things that I did get from this book…
- A fresh take on grief. If you don’t know it by now…I am drawn to books about grief. At 13 I lost my father to a battle with cancer, and grief is something I have dealt with ever since. You might wonder why that makes me drawn to books about grief, but I think it’s because it helps me see that I’m not alone, that there are many ways to handle it, and that it can be tolerable. I felt that this unique telling of grief didn’t bog the reader down with feelings of sadness and sympathy towards the main character, but I think it helped the reader relate. I think that it almost gave the book a hopeful tone instead of the tone of helplessness and sadness. Obviously there were some intense moments, but it didn’t weigh the book down by any means. I think that if you have not experience this kind of grief you should definitely look for Riley’s take on it. Because it was unique, and it came with an adventure and a mystery.
- A tight-knit group of friends. I thought it was so amazing that Riley had a group of friends that were also fighting their own battles with grief. Though all battles came from different situations, a lot of the feelings can relate. I think that THIS is what helps Riley through. This is something that would have helped me through the worst of my grief. To have friends who understood would be so incredibly huge. I think that I would have been more open to talk about my feelings, which I think was huge for the characters that we see in this book. Without this close group of friends…well some of the mystery wouldn’t exist but I also think that the book would have been along the lines of my initial impression and not what actually happened.
- Adventure and mystery. It seems odd for me to say that a conteporary book that dealt with grief had mystery and adventure right? Well, this one does. It was a mystery that I honestly couldn’t figure out for the longest time and it kept me going through the book. I think this part of the plot was why I was able to finish the book within 24 hours (a pretty rare accomplishment for me). I can’t really dive into this further without giving things away, but know that this is a thing in the book and it changes EVERYTHING as far as a book about grief.
Bonus: I learned something new about the Jesuits and things that they believe, MY SHIP FRICKING SAILED GUYS!
All in all, this was a really well done book. A book that gave me a taste of something I already felt I knew well in my own life…but with a twist.
About the Author:
Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. Signs of You is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at http://www.emilyfrancebooks.com and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.