by Emily France
Published: July 19th 2016
Publisher: Soho Teen
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.
Grief is a lens to look at life through.
The final 5 minutes of this book is just full of #allthefeels and now I'm just sobbing. SOBBING.
Signs of You is a little nugget of a contemporary with a bit of magic/paranormalism mixed in. It's one of those books that you'll likely consume in one sitting, not just because of it's dainty size but because the journey of Noah, Riley, Kate, and Jay is equally as mysterious as it is mesmerizing.
Everyone has experienced grief at some point in their life. For Noah, Riley, Kate, and Jay, grief is one of the things that connects them. They're a tight-knit support group of friends who are suddenly experiencing a very surreal thing: they can see their deceased love ones around town. These aren't zombies and they're not even really ghosts. What they do know is this phenomenon is connected to an old Totem they were warned against.
Each of the characters and their surrounding supports were likeable and charming in their own ways. There's very little ego in this book, just pure caring and support for each other, which is a refreshing thing to see in a contemporary novel. The story arc is not perpetuated by some awful thing that happens between characters but by a new sensation that they're all learning about together. In that sense, Signs of You is a mystery novel.
Overall, Signs of You is worth your read (or listen, because the audiobook is also fantastic) because it's something new and different that crosses genres and has wide appeal. Just be prepared for a few tears at the end!