Genres: Contemporary, Disability, Young Adult
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
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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.
When I first heard about this book, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it but as the reviews started rolling in and many people I knew liked it, I became more and more interested, so that’s why when I finally picked Say What You Will up, I had soaring expectations. They were met at first, but that eventually changed and a twist near the end of the book was too much for me. It made this book take on a soap opera-like feel and there was just too much unnecessary drama.
Amy, at first, was a very fun character. In fact, the first thing I wrote down in my notes about this book was how I already liked her. She had an optimism surrounding her that was infectious and I liked that in spite of everything she could be cheerful. EVEN when Matt told her that he saw right through her façade. And perhaps it was a façade, but she realized it and owned up to it and tried to make changes in her life to help change that. Her need to be a ‘normal’ teenager, however, got to me. I may sound harsh, but.. she wasn’t a normal teenager and she won’t ever be one.
Matt was absolutely adorable. He was shy and sensitive and so, so sweet. I loved his awkwardness and I loved seeing him finally admit to having a problem and then going so far as to actually get help. All the progress he made over the course of the book was admirable and I was so proud of him. The problem that I had with him was his insecurity. Sometimes, even though it added a dimension to his character, I just got fed up of him questioning everything. In fact, both of their insecurities led to so much drama that I really just couldn’t.
They said they were best friends, yet at times I wondered why they were so insecure about their relationship. I understand their insecurities, but they are best friends and sometimes, sometimes, communication works wonders. With that said, their relationship was definitely interesting. They contrasted each other in many ways and it was so fun to watch the two support one another and help each other morph into people who were more confident about themselves.
I also liked how although both had an air of maturity around them, they were still teenagers and prone to making many silly mistakes, because really, if you were perfect then you wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow as these two had.
Another thing I really liked was that while Amy’s disability faded into the background at times, it was never really forgotten about. The reader was always aware of it. The author normalized Amy, but at the same time, she never made it seem like Amy was normal because she wasn’t.
The secondary characters were an interesting set and perhaps not as well developed as I would have liked. Amy’s parents, though, played a major role. At first it seemed that her mother was annoying and would turn out to be a ‘bad parent’ (some of the things she did..) but the author never let that happen. Her mother could be too involved and overbearing but she was a mother who was just overprotective and with a child like Amy, you couldn’t really blame her.
With me saying all these positive things, you might wonder why I didn’t enjoy this book. I mean, the narration wasn’t an issue, even the dual POV worked out pretty well, I didn’t have many issues with the characters and her parents were good, too, so what was my problem? My problem was the drama. OH SO MUCH DRAMA.
Perhaps I sound insensitive but I am the kind of person who has never in her life enjoyed unnecessary drama. Drama is good, wonderful even if done well but in this book, it served no purpose or at least in my opinion it didn’t. I found myself getting annoyed that these two wouldn’t say the three words they both so desperately wanted to and they kept on messing up again and again. They’d make up and hide their feelings and then something else would happen that would tear them apart. The one ‘twist’ in the end was just so unbelievable for me and so dramatic that at that point I kind of just gave up. After a certain point, this book wasn’t fun and humorous; it was drama drama and DRAAAMAAA. It seemed like it was about all the obstacles the two would have to jump over to get to the HEA they both wanted.
In the end, I fell out of love with this book and was sorely disappointed when I didn’t get what I had hoped for. There will be people out there who will love this but if drama for no reason is not your thing, I’d say skip it or if you’re curious, beware for you have been warned!
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