Signs Point to Yes // by Sandy Hall

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//published 2015//

I read Hall’s debut book last year, A Little Something Differentand actually found it surprisingly enjoyable.  It was relaxing fluff,  happy and funny without a lot of angst, swearing, or sex.  Plus A+ cover!  However, Hall’s second book, Signs Point to Yes, was, quite frankly, terrible.  The story made no sense, every time any of the characters did anything it just seemed like the most ridiculous and unnatural action to me ever, relationships between the main characters and their parental figures were pretty bad and never resolved – and speaking of never resolved, this book just sort of stopped without actually fixing any of the issues.

We start the book with Jane, our main character, being all angsty and annoyed because her mom has just landed her (Jane) and unpaid internship at the small college where Jane’s mom works.  Jane, we find out, doesn’t want to work near/with her mom, doesn’t want to go to college, and really appears to just not want to grow up.  In a desperate attempt to find a good reason to reject the internship, Jane agrees to work as a babysitter for her neighbor.  With a paying job lined up, her mom gives up in the internship.

The neighbors consist of three little girls, their parents, and their half-brother (conveniently close to Jane’s age).  Once Jane starts her job, it’s basically just this long boring story about her crushing on Teo, Teo crushing on  Jane, and Teo wanting to find his birth dad, whom he’s never met.

Okay, from here forward, there will definitely be spoilers to the story, because it’s impossible to get up a really good rant for this type of book without some spoilers.  Personally, I think I’m going with a 1/5 for incredibly poor plotting and irrational characters/actions.  Still, ironically, I actually liked Jane and Teo has a pair and thought their relationship was the only thing about this entire book that even kind of made sense – but it just wasn’t enough to redeem the “story”.

So.  I’m going to try and break down my reasons for thinking this story was ridiculous.  Spoilers below.

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A Little Something Different

//by Sandy Hall//published 2014//

A_Little_Something_Different_for_sitejpgOkay, so I have to say right out of the box – I actually enjoyed this book.  I don’t really know how I’m supposed to categorize it (YA???), but it’s a super adorable little piece of chick lit, well-written, and so sweet it almost sends you into a sugar coma reading it.

Which, in my mind, is exactly what chick lit should do.  This book does a really fantastic job of being funny, cute, and engaging, without a whole lot swearing or shagging.  It also manages to dodge the insta-love ploy, building up a love story that actually seems completely plausible.

A Little Something Different is written, as the cover says, from multiple viewpoints.  These viewpoints are from all sorts of random people/objects/animals who see the two main players of this little love story (Gabe and Lea), around campus.  Some of them are close friends and relatives, others are people like a bus driver and a barrista at the local Starbucks.  Everyone can see that Gabe and Lea are perfect for each other, but they’re both super shy and awkward, and just don’t seem to be able to get their relationship off the ground.

This book was surprisingly (in a good way) wholesome.  It was just so nice to read a story where everyone is likable and no one is trying to normalize substance abuse or make fun of virgins.  Although Lea’s friends come up with some fake ids so they can get into some local bars and do some drinking, even that has a little caveat –

“I take it the IDs worked well?”

“They did!  Though I don’t know, I feel like something gets lost in translation by not waiting until you’re twenty-one.”  She shrugs.  “I’m not sure how often I’ll use mine.”

It’s not a big deal, but somehow Hall conveys, throughout her story, the beauty of letting things unfold naturally, of waiting, of patience. In a day and age where everyone seems so anxious to rush to the next experience, it was genuinely refreshing to read a love story that valued a slower pace.

That’s not to say that this book was without its flaws.  I really wasn’t all that interested in hearing the Bench’s thoughts on various butts that sit on it (really?  As a kid, we were never allowed to say the word “butt”, and it still just smacks of juvenile absurdity to me every time I hear someone use it), or the Squirrel’s passionate raptures about acorns; while their observations did provide a bit of insight to the story, they really just came off more as cutesy filler to me.

There was also a lot of similarity between the voices.  While overall Hall did a decent job of making different characters sound different, several of her characters were similar, and thus their voices were similar.  Gabe’s brother and Gabe’s friend, in particular, sound a lot alike.

The story is in first person present tense, which I rather hate as a general rule, but it works in this story because there are so many different voices.  Thus, the story is wherever the action is, and present tense works because I don’t have to hang out listening to the boring bits of someone’s life in between actual interesting story-moving points.

Overall, I really enjoyed the upbeat message of the story, and the way that everyone was rooting for Gabe and Lea, but not in a weird, pushy kind of way.  This is a happy, easy-going book – a perfect evening relaxation.  4/5.

(queued)