Signs Point to Yes
Author: Sandy Hall
Release: October 20th 2015
Genre: Contemporary, YA
If only Jane’s Magic 8 Ball could tell her how to get through the summer. With her “perfect” sister, Margo, home for her “perfect” internship, Jane is not going to be able to spend the summer writing fan fiction, as she had planned. And her emergency babysitting job requires Jane to spend the whole summer in awkward proximity to her new crush, Teo, a nerdy-hot lifeguard with problems of his own. With his best friend out of town, Teo finds himself without anyone to confide in…except Jane. Will Jane and Teo be able to salvage each other’s summer? Even the Magic 8 Ball doesn’t have an answer…but signs point to yes.
Honestly, I don't quite know what to feel about this book. On the one hand, it was entertaining enough and its characters were likable in a cute and clumsy way, but it also felt so crammed and empty of value that I'm left wondering if it was actually any good.
You see, the thing that annoyed me the most is how Sandy Hall tries to stuff as many pop culture references into this novel as humanly possible and it just gets annoying and tiresome after a while. Just when you think that you are finally free and she couldn't possibly squeeze in some more, she goes ahead and does it anyway. It's aggravating.
You know, I loved the detail with the Magic 8 Ball, that Jane is always dependent on asking its advice first before making any kind of decision, it was quirky and fun in a way that made the book much more memorable. However, everything else was just a desperate attempt to make the book and the heroine seem more relatable, because anyone who also watches Doctor Who or Veronica Mars will be like "!!! Hey, I like that, too!" However, for me it didn't work.
The relationship between Jane and Teo was very shallow and never went any deeper than it did, they were cute in a way and I can see how they'd fit; also I liked the way Teo defended Jane against his best friend, it was a very admirable thing to do. All in all, these two weren't bad characters, but even on their own they never had any true depth and so together they don't have any depth either. There's no real connection between them or something that only they understand, I honestly couldn't tell you why they even like each other in any meaningful way aside from "it's just young love, no reason."
Similarly, Jane's relationship to her sister Margo could have been so much more developed, there's only ever one side shown and that's it. Jane is supportive of her sister's bisexuality and doesn't care, but then Margo never really confides in her about it nor do they ever have a true heart-to-heart about ... well, anything. They had a very positive relationship, but I would have liked to see some other sides of it.
And I think, ultimately, that's the thing about this novel: It's just way too happy-go-lucky for my taste. I kind of knew, or expected, that going in, but the whole story seems so plastic a result. Even Teo's best friend, who supposedly hates Jane, isn't ever truly an issue and even comes around to liking (or tolerating) her in the end. There was no real struggle, not even the main climax was very climactic at all, reading this simply felt like letting out a long breath and nothing more than that.