Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Published: June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Source: Finished copy courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"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."
First line: "You want the whole story, but you don't realize- it's impossible to tell the whole story. "
Thoughts: Going into this novel, I had my doubts. I mean, when a book is being compared to such authors as John Green and Rainbow Rowell, it kind of sets the bar quite high. After all, these are two of my absolutely favorite authors. I have read other books that claimed to meet up to these rockstars' standards, and they most certainly did not. The verdict? I really, really liked it! It's clever, well-written, and just so different than other novels out there. Considering the millions upon billions of YA books out there, I think that's quite an achievement!
Diversity in novels nowadays seems rare. It's like every year, more and more books fall into the "next big thing" category. Remember when TWILIGHT came out, and practically every bookstore in every country was pushing vampire novels? Same goes for THE HUNGER GAMES. So, so many dystopian novels were being shoved into my face, I thought I was going to suffocate. Don't get me wrong, I love both vampire and dystopian novels, but I just got so burnt out on them. With THE FAULT IN OUR STARS movie coming out, it seems like a lot cancer or death related contemporary books are being released. These authors want to make you cry! Eek!
Well, SAY WHAT YOU WILL is a book about two people who don't have a disease that will kill them, but rather conditions that disable them from leading what society deems a normal life. Regardless of the cards life dealt them, they both strive for normalcy. Alas, Amy has a hard time making friends. Matthew (who suffers from OCD) is one of several people her mother pays to be friends with Amy. Matthew is also the only one who isn't afraid to tell Amy what he really thinks. Sometimes harsh, Amy can't help but be fascinated by Matthew's honesty.
They are both outcasts and yet help each other grow in the most beautiful way. I love that their relationship wasn't based around insta-love, but rather real, developing love. Their relationship is, at first, confusing and blundering, but oh so sweet. Besides, isn't that the way first love (especially teenage first love) really is? The author did a great job of conveying this, and I loved it even more because these two aren't your normal characters.
Overall, I really liked SAY WHAT YOU WILL and believe other readers out there will like it as well. To be fair, this isn't a book for everyone. Regardless, everyone should at least give it a try. Aren't we, as readers and bloggers, always complaining that there aren't enough original novels out there? Well, here you go! Here's a book that's not only original, but inventive, charming, and heart-tugglingly honest.
"“This feeling will pass. The fear is real but the danger is not.”
“I am not a victim of fashion or cultural pressure, because there is no place for me in the culture I see. In having fewer options, I am freer than any other teenage I know.”
“Freakishness could happen to anyone at any time.”