Monday, April 28, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

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.
~Goodreads

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 352
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Ellie, age 17

This book came recommended to me from a fellow book-reviewer and I’ll admit that, despite the recommendation, I was a bit apprehensive. The blurb seemed fine, but I was afraid that this would turn out to be a cheap novel capitalizing on the John Green-inspired wave that is currently sweeping YA literature. After all, the back of the book says that it is similar to The Fault In Our Stars, a book I love-that was bound to create high standards. Thankfully, I can say that Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern stands on its own two feet as a solid, captivating, and moving novel.

The book follows the dual stories of Matthew and Amy, two high school students who each struggle with their ability to relate to others-Matthew because he has severe OCD that he won’t admit to having, Amy because she has cerebral palsy and, as a result, is unable to verbalize unless aided by a machine. They slowly become friends throughout their senior year, amidst all the drama and tumult of high school.

This book isn’t one that will shy away from playing with your emotions. It is equal parts funny, sad, and joyful-often all on the same page. Amy and Matthew stand as separate and unique personalities, and their respective situations and experiences in the novel help us view high school at both its highs and its lows-depression, friendship, love, betrayal, anxiety, etc.  Character development is one of the strongest parts of the book-the character changes seem natural, unforced, and are intriguing enough for me to finish the story in a flat twenty-four hour period. Is this book like The Fault In Our Stars? Not exactly, as the problems and characters are very different. However a main theme of friendship through trial remain.

Complaints? Nothing major-this book is probably not for everyone due to a somewhat slow pace, necessary for the themes and tone of the novel to really sink in. If you were looking for a James Bond-esque thriller novel, you’ve come to the wrong place. However, were you looking for a tale of friendship, love, and some life hurdle-hopping? Well, then you’re looking at a book that will fulfill all of those checkboxes.


I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique, moving teen novel that has both heavy themes and some laughs; fans of John Green would not be disappointed.

This book hits shelves June of 2014! 
Buy Hardcover | $17.99

Happy reading!
Ellie, age 17

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~Youth Board