BOOK REPORT for Signs of You by Emily France

Cover Story: Popular on Instagram

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

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Talky Talk: Spiritual Suspense

Bonus Factor: Religious Mystery

Relationship Status: Kindred Spirits

 

Cover Story: Popular on Instagram

This cover image definitely looks like an image one might stumble across on Instagram’s Explore page. That’s not to say that it’s not super pretty, however, and quite well composed, because it’s both.

The Deal:

Riley’s mom died two years ago, and Riley still struggles with the grief. So when she sees her mom in the bubble bath section of the supermarket, she first thinks she’s just seeing things. But then she talks with her best friends—Jay, Kate, and Noah, who’ve all experienced terrible losses themselves—and realizes that two of them are also seeing similar things.

The group soon realizes that their unusual situation is connected to a mysterious relic discovered by Jay’s late father, and take it upon themselves to investigate.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

For all she thinks, she’s an oddball and unlikeable, but Riley’s a really great girl. She’s a leader, and willing to take charge when no one else will. She’s very smart, and it’s a good combination of both common sense and book learning. She’s had a rough go of things since her mom died, and she’s a bit shut off because of it, but there’s a light at the end of that personal tunnel. I’d be honored to be the person who helps her get there.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Since they met, Riley’s had a thing for Jay. But she’s never told him, and she’s pretty sure he doesn’t know. She’s afraid to let him know, for all the reasons anyone’s ever afraid to open themselves up to the possibility of rejection. But what Riley doesn’t realize is that, while she’s pining for Jay, she’s missing out on some alternate (and delightful) possibilities.

Talky Talk: Spiritual Suspense

At first, it seems like Signs of You is going to be a pretty traditional novel about teenage loss and grieving. The spirits that Riley and her friends see could easily be explained as tricks of the psyche, or the effects of not dealing properly with trauma. Thankfully, Emily France introduces a mystical and mysterious aspect into the plot that keeps the novel from becoming purely an Issues book. (While those sort of books can be important and engaging reads, sometimes they can come off super preachy and unenjoyable.) France based the religious aspects of the mystery on a real-life historical story and religious ideas, too, which adds to the believability and interest of the whole thing. Plus, her characters are all pretty adorable, even with their flaws; they’re people I could easily imagine knowing.

Bonus Factor: Religious Mystery

Say what you will about Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code books, but there’s something intriguing about the mysteries at the heart of his stories that are hard to resist. (I find them appealing for the same reason I find the National Treasure movies to be such gems.) History is filled with interesting stories and artifacts, and a lot of times the truth surrounding said stories and artifacts is full of possible plot holes and/or mysterious aspects. The mystery in Signs of You doesn’t take Riley and her friends on trips around the world, nor are they being followed by members of a strange and dangerous sect, but it’s actually all that much more believable because of its simplicity.

Casting Call:

Jodelle Ferland as Riley

Relationship Status: Kindred Spirits

I wasn’t sure what to expect from you, Book, when we first got together. I thought perhaps the spirits you were seeing were purely figments of an overworked mind, but then you revealed it was something more—and I was entranced. I’m glad I could get you to see that we’re both intrigued by similar things, and I truly appreciate you opening up to me and trusting me with your mystery.

Signs of You is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.