Give Me a Sign
"I have to listen very hard to hear what he says. Watching his mouth helps but it makes me blush. He’s staring at mine. Just like he was staring at that girl’s the other day. So maybe she’s not his girlfriend, after all..."
Do you ever feel that life isn't turning out quite as you planned?
Meet Liz. Bullied at college, disillusioned at home and seriously lacking in self-esteem, Liz has to contend with the Russell twins, a man in pyjamas sharing her mum's bed, and size 9 feet.
Do you ever wish that you could find someone who really 'gets' you?
Meet Doug. Gorgeous, strong willed and unlike anyone Liz has ever met, Doug transforms the way Liz looks at herself and her life. And for the first time ever, Liz is actually happy.
Two great people from very different worlds = one amazing relationship.
They say opposites attract. But will the gap between Liz and Doug prove too much to handle?
Struggling with the loss of her father, and the hostility of bullies at school, when Liz meets Doug she sees a chance for happiness. But discovering that Doug is deaf brings a whole new challenge into Liz’s life. As Liz and Doug’s relationship unfolds, Give Me A Sign offers a story about how we interpret ourselves as well as others; about the similarities and differences which make us who we are, and the gaps we bridge when we follow our hearts.
Whilst experiencing the dysfunction of the adult world, as Liz learns sign language, misses text messages and gets confused about emails, she is led to discover the place in herself where she must root her life.
Everington creates a convincing and magnetic voice of a teenage girl trying to face her every-day challenge with self esteem, self discovery and making sense of the world. Written with the tone of a diary, Give Me A Sign is an accessible and contemporary story of teenage romance, communication and understanding.
Praise for Give Me a Sign
Give Me a Sign was selected by the Exclusively Independent Initiative as one of the first ‘Independent Picks of the Month’ in December 2008.
"Fantastic writing that handles issues sensitively and with total confidence. Liz and Doug's story is one anyone and everyone can relate to – and that's the magic of this book. I couldn't put it down."
Rae Earl, author of My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary.
"Sensitive, confident and thought provoking, Shanta Everington writes with a convincing awareness and in a persuasive teenage voice. Liz and Doug offer a contemporary twist in a story of first love, first heartbreak and the finding of self. What lifts this story into a socially aware and worthwhile read for any young adult, is the exploration of the prejudices that govern reactions and opinions."
Caroline Smailes, author of In Search of Adam
"This is a story of first love and finding yourself, and Everington manages to write about a range of issues - deafness, teenage insecurity, cultural pressures - with authenticity and a light touch."
"Oh, I did enjoy this short and sweet book. It's all about growing up and the desperate desire to fit in conflicting with the need to find individuality. And it's hinged around a first love affair, so intense, so sweet, so heartbreaking. Everington taps right into the wavering self esteem of a teenage girl and Liz is an utterly believable character...A short, bittersweet story of growing up, first love and difference. Sparely written with concentration on the emotional landscape, it will appeal to even the least habitual reader."
"I found it very hard to put this book down once I'd started reading; I immediately cared about Liz and I felt involved in her life and problems. The book touches on many issues, including coping with bereavement, bullying, love and prejudice, but these topics never swamp the story...a consistently well-written and engaging story of first love and finding your place in the world. Highly recommended."
"This is truly a 21st century love story with a strong message: Be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you what to do. However, this story is strictly for over 13s only due to strong language and love scenes. My verdict: Buy this book now and I guarantee you won’t regret it!"
“This book…left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside…if you really want to read a book that isn’t set in the US, you should definitely read this one!”
Avni Gupta (age 15) for Reader Views Kids (USA)
"Everington's book is funny and observant...A fantastic book for young adults - and for more middle-aged ones, too."
One in Seven magazine
"A bittersweet story of first love, with a disability twist... I would recommend this book to the young (perhaps not the very young, because of the references to sex!) and the young at heart..."
I see him later on the way out, walking down the concrete steps in front of me, his crazy hair sticking out in all directions. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do, how to be but what the hell, I tap him on the shoulder. He turns round. My heart jumps. I don’t know what I was thinking. People push past us. He grabs my hand and I’m shocked. I look down at his dirty trainers. His jeans are frayed. I don’t even know him. The only people that grab me are the Russells. But somehow I don’t think he’s a bully. He pulls me down the steps to a quiet space. He lets go of my hand and I can breathe again.
He stands to face me and stares. It’s quite disarming. His lips are dry. He licks them. He’s wearing a baggy black sweatshirt. His collar is sticking up. He’s got a nice neck. He’s wearing a chain. I notice all these things while we stare at each other.
‘That’s better,’ he says in that strange voice of his. Now I know why. He can’t hear himself speak. ‘Now we can talk.’
I look at him. I don’t know how to talk to him if he can’t hear me. Sweat beads my forehead and it’s not even that hot out.
‘I wan-t-ed to sa-ay so-r-ry.’ I speak very slowly and loudly, which is absurd because he can’t hear. ‘For, for snapping at you. I didn’t realise. I did-n’t r-e-a-l-i-s-e you were d-e-a-f.’
He laughs and shakes his head. He holds out his right hand, sticks out two fingers and shakes it twice, like he’s firing a gun. I stare at it. My cheeks burn.
‘Again,’ he says. ‘Speak normally, not s-l-o-w.’
He smiles at me. He’s laughing at my ignorance.
‘Sorry, God, I’m sorry.’
‘Stop saying sorry.’
I have to listen very hard to hear what he says. Watching his mouth helps but it makes me blush. He’s staring at mine. Just like he was staring at that girl’s the other day. So maybe she’s not his girlfriend, after all.
‘I, er, I…’
‘Relax. Just be yourself.’
Be myself. It’s such a simple statement. Such a beautiful statement. It brings tears to my eyes and I don’t even know why. God, I’m so pathetic.
‘My name’s Doug. You?’
He draws his index finger across the palm of his left hand, then touches it to his middle finger, then brings down his fingers and moves his right hand to touch his left. I watch, bewildered. He nods and does it again as he says my name. I like the way he says my name. It means Liz! He keeps doing it until I copy him. I don’t notice people coming down the steps anymore. We stand there together and I spell my name on my fingers. He smiles. He’s not Owen Wilson. He’s Doug. And he’s lovely.
‘How do you do ‘Doug’?’
He shows me as he talks.
‘My name is Doug.’
‘What are you studying?’ I still can’t seem to talk normally. I am talking to him like he is five years old. I’m surprised he hasn’t told me to piss off.
‘GCSEs. Maths and English. Retakes. It’s important.’
‘Oh.’ I can’t think of anything to say. So the class that was concentrating like no other were the ones who failed last year, who know they can’t afford to mess about throwing paper at each other.
‘You?’ He’s staring at my mouth. I want to kiss him.
‘A-A-A Levels.’ I’m not trying to talk slowly but I can’t seem to help but stutter. ‘History, French, English Lit and Sociology.’
‘Wow. You’re clever.’ He smiles. I really want to kiss him. My heart is beating too fast. I need my asthma pump but I don’t want him to see.
‘You okay?’ He gets a crease between his eyebrows.
Oh God, I’ll have to. I open my bag and grab the inhaler and take a deep breath.
‘Better?’ He’s still here. He’s still smiling at me and watching my mouth.
‘A lot better. A whole lot better.’
I’m grinning and I’m laughing and I feel stupid and I feel crazy and I feel like once just once in my stupid little life somebody might actually like me might actually fancy me might actually let me be myself.