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 WillFeatured
Left Me Wanting More: As much as I wanted to connect with the characters and their romance, it just didn’t move me as much as I was hoping. It was just okay for me. I understood each of their inner struggles and sympathized with them, but as for the love, I didn’t really feel it. I would’ve been fine with them dealing with their own drama and just having a meaningful friendship, really. The romance was just lackluster, which would’ve been fine for young teens, but these two are in their late teens (senior year and college years), and they have to face some very adult decisions in this book. I also didn’t really care for Matthew much. It was interesting to see his struggles, but I just didn’t like him.
Final Verdict: The premise is interesting enough and the writing is fine. I think I would’ve enjoyed this more if I had a better connection to the characters and their relationship. In the end, I just felt blase about the whole thing, but it was still a okay read.
Amy has Cerebral Palsy and just wants to feel like she belongs. Matt has OCD and is unaware of how it is affecting his life. But underneath it all, without them knowing it, they want what everyone at school wants- to fit in, to belong, to feel like they matter. Amy and Matt are lovable characters. They aren't perfect and they have their struggles, but their struggles are real.
What I liked best(besides the entire story and its cover) is reading how the events unfold from both characters' perspectives. As a reader, I felt I really got to know both Amy and Matt like they were friends I had in high school. The two perspectives allows the reader to see the bigger picture.
Although Cammie McGovern is being compared to John Green and Rainbow Rowell, Say What You Will stands out on its own. It is a must read for fans of contemporary YA. It is a moving story about how relationships develop, how we as a society treat others around us, and how absolutely amazing true friendship can be. Highly recommended- I even went out and bought a second copy. (One to share and one just for my bookshelf!)
I liked how you got to hear the story from both Amy and Matthews POV but I think it would have been even more insightful if both POVs were written in first person instead of third. I liked Amy, she was strong and funny and it was very interesting seeing how she changed in good and bad ways, over the course of the book. I still think she made a very bad decision in the middle and then at the end she said some things to Matthew that made me see her differently. So I liked her a lot less at the end of the book.
I had mixed feelings about Matthew, at the start of the book he was so weak and had so little self confidence that he was kind of depressing to read about. Towards the middle though he really started to change and I enjoyed him a lot more at the end when he was more outgoing.
Something happened in the middle of this book that I never saw coming and I'm still very surprised that the story went the way that it did. The ending was very unsatisfying and I think there could have easily been 50 pages more. The story just wasn't finished and I was left with a lot of questions.
Altogether though this was a great emotional read. It was heartbreaking and funny. Highly recommended! That ending though...
I admit, I was a little nervous going into this book knowing it had a character with cerebral palsy and one with OCD. Would the portrayals be realistic? Would the characters be all about their disabilities as if that was the only thing important about them? Or would it be constantly mentioned they had OCD and cerebral palsy without showing how it affected their lives? So many things could have gone wrong in how these characters were written without even getting into the plot. But Cammie McGovern put my fears to rest pretty early on in this book. The way she wrote these two characters was amazing, a perfect balance of showing them living and coping with their disabilities and their lives beyond their disabilities.
This was especially the case for Amy as we got to know her both through her POVs and Matthew’s. This was a girl who never had any friends but we learn that she was smart, empathetic, funny, and really just seemed like a great person to know. She was such a great character to watch as she went through her growth arc, learning about friendships and other things through her aides and experiencing new things. I enjoyed Matthew slightly less but still a lot. We really got to see his struggle with OCD and how much it affected his life. Together, it was really sweet to see them first getting to know each other then trying to help each other and slowly realizing their feelings. Again, such great characters. I was in love.
The plot had some twists that I really enjoyed, others that had me wanting to curl up and cry because of the emotion from the characters. As well as being told from both Amy and Matthew’s POVs, there was also e-mail exchanges and text messages as a means of communication between the two and their banter was so fun. Since Matthew is half of the main pairing, he overshadows the other aides a bit but it was still nice to see the different ways Amy would interact with her other aides. I especially liked Sarah.
Overall, some parts did feel a little dragged out but the writing and characters more than made up for it.