Author: Cammie McGovern
Publication date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: ARC from publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)
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.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
Moving and full of insight, Say What You Will is a thoroughly brilliant gemstone of a novel.
Author Cammie McGovern spun an enlightening and profound story of two teenagers characterized by their imperfections. Born with cerebral palsy, Amy struggles to communicate verbally, hence, the use of a talking computer that serves as her voice. On the other hand, Matthew has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is the outcome of his irrational fear of hurting people. Matthew worries that if he doesn’t do things right, unfortunate things will happen. That greatly affects his reasoning and the way he sees things. A beautiful friendship ensues between Amy and Matthew as they try to live a normal life while dealing with their internal conflicts. The support they extend to one another strengthens their bond and breaks the walls that obscure their real selves. Amy and Matthew can be who they truly are—flaws and darkest secrets bared—when they are together. Eventually, romantic feelings develop but Amy and Matthew couldn’t express what’s in their heart.
Honest and eloquent, Say What You Will pulls every heartstring, opening a gateway for emotions to flow into the soul. The elaborate conditions that both characters are in magnified those emotions in ways that punch immensely to feel everything that Amy and Matthew are going through. In spite of their disabilities, the characters are exceptional. Amy is intelligent, loving, and compassionate. Although she has cerebral palsy, Amy is sensible and mature for her age. These I consider her strongest traits. Most of all, Amy accepts people and their flaws with all her heart. While Matthew is a sweet guy who cares very much for Amy and makes her feel special in every way.
There’s an unexpected occurrence in the story that completely stunned me and I believe it will change the way you see people with disabilities. So better watch out for that!
Say What You Will is a powerful eye-opener to the realities of cerebral palsy and OCD. Readers will understand beyond any doubt what it’s like for people who suffer from the aforementioned disorders. Stories like this are very inspiring. It makes people realize that the imperfections we human beings have are not limitations to living life to the fullest. No matter who we are and what we are, we have the privilege to live the life we desire.
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