Release Date: June 3, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.
Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.
When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.
Say What You Will is hands down, the most surprising novel I’ve read so far in the year of 2014. Everything about it–the characters, the twists, the romance, the plot; all of it was remarkable. I do have my qualms, but this is going down as one of the most incredibly unique novels I’ve read. EVER.
Cammie McGovern’s novel is surprising and unique for one main reason: the characters. Amy was born with cerebral palsy and cannot walk without the aid of her walker or talk without a screen that speaks what she types for her. Her overbearing mother decides that for Amy’s senior year that she should have peer helpers to look after her throughout the day and make friends. Matthew is one of those peer helpers. Matthew has problems of his own as well; he’s got obsessive compulsive disorder and is constantly wanting to wash his hands and make sure no one is hurt. McGovern characterizes these characters brilliantly. Rarely have I encountered novels where such illnesses are written realistically and so unflinchingly. It has definitely left it’s mark in that sense.
My biggest gripe with Say What You Will is how it was written. The writing was beautiful and emotional. I could see that. But I couldn’t really feel it. I wanted to laugh and cry and scream and curl up into a ball of anxiety for the protagonists. However, I just didn’t really feel it. Say What You Will is written in 3rd person and that’s what makes it so hard to connect to the characters. I found it to be a huge difficulty to get under the characters’ skin despite them being so well written and authentic. Additionally, I personally would have liked more on the other characters in the story. I felt like this book was a little too narrow with the characters. I wanted to know more about Matthew’s family as well as Sanjay, Sarah and Chloe.
The second half is definitely more eventful than the first. Both have their quirks; the first half is definitely more about setting up these two protags and watching them fall for each other whereas the second half was packed with shocking new truths and twists. I definitely got some odd looks thrown my way on the train when I was reading this. I can most certainly see people shedding a few tears in this novel. It does have emotional potential, but I guess I was the minority for that aspect.
I guess I do agree with the pitch that was given to this novel. I don’t like it when popular books are included in pitches because like…seriously? But this did feel like a dash of The Fault in Our Stars plus a bit of Eleanor & Park. This being said, they are not all that similar in the sense of characters or plot line but I can see where the pitch was coming from.
In all, I really liked Say What You Will. It delivers a strong message and I know this book won’t be leaving my mind any time soon.
~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this copy!~
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