Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Say What You Will

Say What You Will Discussion
Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Note to the readers.
I would just like to say that I completely misjudged this book by its cover and title.  I was expecting a typical YA contemporary romance. claimed that it was great for fans of Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars and I assumed this book was trying to cash in on the popularity of those two books. I was in shocked when I found out that the protagonists were a non-verbal girl with a serious case of CP and a boy suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  This is unquestionably a diverse book that I would highly recommend to other readers.  It’s unquestionably the best thing I’ve read all summer, and possible the best thing I’ve read all year.
I recommend this book to fans of Eleanor and Park—it has the same feel.  Readers who like nontraditional protagonists will find this book refreshing.

The two main characters of this book are not the ordinary sort of YA protagonists.  Amy is a straight A high school senior; she also has severe cerebral palsy.  She uses a walker to get around the school and has to use a computer to communicate.  Matthew lives with his depressed and divorces mom, and has a pretty several case of Obsessive Compulsive Disease.  He counts, taps on lockers, and washes his hands neurotically.  I love that Cammie McGovern selected nontraditional character for this book.

When Amy was a junior in high school one of her classmate, Matthew, called her out for being a phony.  Amy had written an essay about how she was lucky that she was disabled and that it gave her unique opportunities that other girls didn’t have. After hearing the essay read Matthew was angered and thought it was fake; he confronted Amy about it and told her that she doesn’t have any real friends. He didn’t do it out of spite or anger, he was merely being honest.  He said one of the reasons she didn’t have friends was because she always had a paraprofessional aid with her.  He said that teenagers didn’t want to be around adults when they socialized.
For the rest of the school year and all of the summer Matthew’s words stuck with Amy.  Amy decided to use peer aids instead of hiring an adult. Amy and her mother finally pick four different students to be her aid.  Sanjay, Chloe, Sarah, and Matthew will alternate being Amy’s aid throughout the school week.  Amy and Matthew quickly become close and become best friends, but will their friendship able to overcome all the trials they must go through?

Wow, this book was not what I was expecting about all, absolutely amazing. I don’t even know where to start.

·      I like how the book tells about how Matthew has paid attention to Amy through the years. It shows that in a way there was a connection the entire time.
·      I like the differences in Amy’s and Matthew’s families.  Amy’s mom is way overbearing and doesn’t give Amy room to fail or get hurt.  Matthew’s dad is absent and his mom is present physically, but has not played the role of mom for years.  By showing both families McGovern shows flaws on both side of the parent spectrum.  This is also good because most readers can relate to either Amy or Matthew’s family.
·      I love the slight changes in Amy and Matthew’s relationship from classmates, to acquaintances, and to friends.  It seemed very realistic and natural.
·      I love Amy’s unwavering confidence and belief that she can help Matthew.
·      I really enjoyed Sarah and am glad the book wasn’t solely about Matthew and Amy.
·      I feel like this book let me understand the world of cerebral palsy and obsessive compulsive disorder.  Yes, it’s good to read a good with interesting characters and a plot you love, but it’s especially important to learn about people, ideas, and things outside of your comfort zone.

I could go on for days gushing about this book, but I think I should stop and just suggest that you read it! 

·      I prefer to read books in 1st person, and Say What You Will was written in alternating third person.  The sections alternated between Matthew and Amy, sometimes including emails and text messages.

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