Sunday, June 8, 2014

Say What You Will

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 352
Keywords: friendship, high school, disabilities
Format Read: ARC via publisher
Get It: Book Depository
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.
To begin, I want to talk a little about comparisons. Book comparisons. I'm starting to really not like them. This one was compared heavily to those of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. With those two comparisons, there is an extremely vivid image of what this book is going to be and how it's going to be written, and maybe it was because of these comparisons, but to me, the book fell short.

Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it didn't have that same factor or blow me away. Instead, it left me frustrated and confused at my own opinions. I had to take some time to think about this one. Right at the very beginning, Matthew, who at this point, does not really know Amy, speaks up during a class where everyone is raving about one of her essays, and he says he does not think it is true. Later on, Amy approaches him and asks why, and they get to talking, and he finally states what's on his mind — she can't have had any friends while growing up because no one wants to be friends with someone who has a teacher by their side all day. So Amy decides that for her senior year, she'll get student helpers instead. After all, she thinks Matthew was right and she wants desperately to make friends.

*This next part is a teeny bit more spoilery, but not really. So, use your judgement. I'm still talking about the beginning of the book, so it's not ruining the ending.*

I liked the second half of the book better than the first. It represented more realistic struggling and character development than anything in the first half. It was very soon in the book that Amy decides something about her and Matthew's relationship that I kind of struggled with. Instalove is not my favorite, and it happened super early on with this one, and was not reciprocated. And she keeps pushing. Which makes it creepy.
You know the Dobbler-Dommer effect that HIMYM talks about? If an act of romance is seen as cute and reciprocated, it's a Dobbler. But if the other person has no interest, that same act can be seen as super creepy and death-like?
That's what this kind of was to me. The second half calmed down, which is why I think it represented a more realistic version of their relationship.

*End spoilery stuff! There will be no more!*

I was still interested in what would happen to the characters, and I thought Matthew was a much better one to read about than Amy. He seemed more down-to-earth and true. He also developed a lot more than Amy did, and while Amy had her own issues and problems throughout the book, I don't think she handled them well or learned from them along the way. I really loved Matthew and the way he progressed.

Read When: I'll be honest, I have mixed feelings. I think it's great to have these disabilities spotlighted in a book, and McGovern was true to them and represented them well, but I had other issues with the book that I just can't move past. It's a read-at-your-own-risk one for me. I'm sad I didn't like it as much as I thought I was going to. 


  1. It's a shame this book didn't completely win you over. I could see why it would be difficult, it definitely tackled the story in a way I didn't think it would but I didn't mind it at all. I felt like Amy was someone who had very little experience relating to people and knowing how to act with them, while Matthew's behaviors were a product of his parent's divorce and his mom's depressing. It seemed to work for me, and even so, I never felt insta-love going on. I think they both felt affectionate toward each other but they never knew what that meant exactly. Were they relating? Would sex become an issue? I think McGovern wrote a super realistic novel... at times, I almost forgot that M had OCD and A was disabled? I liked the parental control aspect of this too & the dive into college.

    1. I did like the dive into college, the time span was great, and it worked really well. I don't know, some things just didn't sit right with me and didn't totally make me fall in love with it like everyone seems to have. I still liked it and will be recommending it for such a realistic depiction of teens with disabilities, it just wasn't one of my favorites unfortunately.


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