Published by Swoon Reads on October 20, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Source: BEA 2015
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.
Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism
Racial-Ethnic: 1 (Teo is Puerto Rican, Ravi is Indian, Asian girl in the background)
QUILTBAG: 1 (Margo is bi and her LI Kara is either gay or bi)
Funny thing: most of my friends fell in love with Hall’s debut novel A Little Something Different (I did not for girl hate-related reasons) and most of these same friends have been left unimpressed by Signs Point to Yes. So why did I bother with that kind of reputation? Because main character Jane reads/writes fanfic. That’s it. Don’t be me and make a decision on reading a book due to something so small because reading this was a horrible mistake.
The characters start out as bland and stay bland with no real growth happening. Jane’s love of fanfiction is really all that distinguishes her from a wet towel, and attempts to set up Margo as a narrator scared of coming out as bisexual to her family are abandoned after a handful of chapters in favor of Teo and Jane’s flat-soda romance. It’s not adorkable or even awkward-cute. Just lifeless.
Don’t even get me started on the fact Teo’s best friend Ravi hates Jane because a diorama they had to make for a groupwork activity got a B in junior high. That’s 0% funny and 100% stupid–and I say that as someone who despises science in part due to that being the only subject I ever got a C in and that was in fourth grade. Teo’s troubles with his stepdad? Told more than they’re shown.
But what can you get me started on? Jane saying at one point she knows the pain of finding fanfiction for one’s fandom and then it turns out her thing is Doctor Who crossovers. ‘SCUSE ME? I normally ain’t one for fannish snobbery, but when any Doctor Who fan acts like they can’t find fanfic, I get mad. They make me want to shove them face-first into my tiny fandoms and show them how hard it is to find any fic at all, let along good fic.
Anyway, the book overcomplicates itself and lets too much rely on coincidence. Jane just happens to have a brochure with a Teo-looking guy in it and his last name is Rodriguez just like Teo’s dad. Never mind Rodriguez is a very common last name and even unrelated people can look like they’re related. Then instead of saving money, time, and potential embarrassment by emailing the man first, Teo wastes a good chunk of money to fly out to the man’s college and leads to Jane, Margo, and Ravi’s’ road trip. The characters don’t indicate why the complicated route has to be chosen over the obvious solution. It seems more like Hall had to manufacture a conflict and didn’t write a way for the characters to believably end up in that mess, so readers get characters being shoved into a contrived conflict.
I really should know better by now considering my history with Swoon Reads imprint titles, but I’m either a glutton for punishment or an idiot. You won’t need your Magic 8 ball to tell you Signs Points to Yes is a big fat NO.