Sign Language

Amy Ackley


Sign Language by Amy Ackley plot was Abby North's father was diagnosed with cancer, terminal cancer. Meant that the cancer was very deadly and he was going to die. Abby knew her father had cancer, but never bothered about it or understood it. Also she had a guy best friend named Spence who she friend zoned, Spence had a really big crush on her and treated her right. She has eyes on this other dude, her older brother Josh's friend. Abby and Spence relationship broke, but after the break it made their relationship even stronger.

Plot Overviews


The story takes place in Summer Drive. Abby North is about 12 years old turning 13 in the beginning of the story. Abby has two best friends Lesile and Spence. Spence was like a brother to Abby and Lesile was a friend since forever.Abby North is the protagonist and the antagonist would be the cancer. It would be cancer because that was the force against her, her father having cancer was the main problem.


In this novel Abby North, the protagonist had many conflicts in the story. Abby had to deal with internal and external conflicts. The main conflict was that her father had cancer and it was terminal cancer. Abby did not know how to deal with her feelings that her father was going to die.

Rising Action

The rising action of the story was when Abby realized that her father was going to die. Her father came home one day and told Abby and Josh her brother that the cancer was too far advance. The doctors could not help him. Abby's father was just laying in bed with a tube in his arm. Later on he got a tube to his month when the cancer got worst. Abby had other problems too, with her love life. She had a crush on her brother's friend and he was not paying attention to her.After about a year her brother's friend finally ask her out and she was the happiest person, but not for long.


The climax of this book is when Abby's father died over night. Abby was shocked and did not know how to react. She was sad that her father died, but did not cry. She was just in the moment and could not believe it, but after that day she was never the same. No one was really shocked because they knew it was coming, but did not except to hit Abby's family so hard.She became quiet but on the same week of her fathers death her crushed finally asked her out. She was astonished and it lighten her mood and took her mind away from her father. She was happy with her crush and realized the guy she fell in love with was not the same person she is dating.

Falling Action

After the death of Mr.North the family starts to have money problems, the family has no choice but to move. They moved, but Abby was not ready to move. She had all her memories her of her father and her mother just wanted to leave it. They moved at the endpoint of town. Abby was sad and could not bare being in the new house, all her memories are fading and the house was the only thing she had to remember her father. Also her mother burned all his clothes, she wanted to forget about him because tears would come to her eyes when she was in the house. With her crush she broke up with him because he was making her father's death even worst for her. She had realize the love of her life was with her since she was 3, Spence. After the death she pushed him away and did not know if he felt the same.


Abby's family final settle down and began a new life without their father. The mother has started to date and Abby finally told her feelings to Spence and Spence felt the same way. Abby and Spence is in a happy relationship and she started to talk more. She still does not understand her father's death, but dealt with it and lives with it.


The theme of this novel is that things happen and somethings will never be understood. Like Abby and her father's cancer. Dealing with things over time can be the best healing medicine. Abby did not question the cancer, just watched and when her father died she did not grieve as much as other family members. She just kept quiet and dealt with her pain of her father death, she just dealt with that feelings and after a while she healed. Healing takes time and for Abby it took about 1 year and 6 months. One other theme is when something bad happens something good comes out. Like with Spence and Abby, after her father's death she realize that her true love was there with her through the darkest times. She would have not realize that without the death of her father. Something good can come out of something horrific.

Point of View

The point of view of this novel was third person. The narrator was a limited one. This effected the reader point of view because we could not see what Abby North's thoughts or the father's thoughts. Knowing what the father's thoughts would have been way more interesting knowing what was it like to have terminal cancer and the feeling of dying slowly. Losing everything you ever had and leaving your family.


There was a lot of foreshadowing in this novel. When the father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was going to die in the story, but it was going to be slowing over time not in a month of being diagnosed. Abby and Spence were bound to be a couple because they have been friends since forever and if you know someone for a long time in that situation you will probably fall in love.


In this novel their were two parts. The tone Ackley used for the first part was happy and seemed like everything was going fine. Then near the second part the whole mood changed because Mr.North was diagnosed with cancer. The tone became gloomy, like there was little happiness because he was going to die and the family is praying he will not, but he does. The second part of the novel the tone was completely dark, there was no sign of hope or happiness. It was death all around and near the end of the novel it lighten up because the family was healing. Ackley had the perfect tone for each scene and it was a page turner because you wanted to know if they will ever find hope because of the words she was using.

Situational Irony

Situational irony because the father died in the middle of the book, I was expecting him to die near the end. Another one is that when she got asked out by Josh's friend I thought he would never asked and I thought Spence would make his moves earlier than he did in the book.

Book Review

I would totally recommend this book to someone. It is a 5 star, it was so good. The beginning of the book is not even boring like in other books. This book plot was heartbreaking and touching. I knew that the Amy Ackley had dealt with death because the way she wrote this. She knew how the characters would feel exact like if I was in their position I would feel the same. Spence was my favorite character because he stuck with Abby even though she went out with a total jerk and even through her father's death. He dealt with Abby through her phases and put up with her. If I was him I would have alright stop talking to her. Spence was so nice and charming I do not know how she did realize that he was the love of her life. The most depressing part is after the death, the mother did not come out her room for 2 days straight. How the mood change after it was gloomy and horrible. It was such a sad book, but the ending was so cute how she dealing with it and how it is not a pain, but a memory.