Say What You Will
(Image from bubblegumpost.com)
Trigger Warnings for the book: Death mentions, disease, alcohol use, drug mentions
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.
Yes, I ripped the description off Amazon. Sue me, I hate trying to summarize contemporary books. Anyway, this book... *sigh, runs hand through hair* How to describe this book...
Let me start by saying I did not hate this book. I also didn't love it. But I can't say my opinion was neutral, either. There were a bunch of high points, but also some low points, and instead of cancelling each other out, it just dizzied my opinion on the book. So I'll section this review into two parts- positive and negative.
(I wish I could make that rainbow and sparkly, but, alas, I don't know how to do a glitter effect. Maybe another time.)
Point One. This book was honest. I saw it compared to The Fault in Our Stars and just kinda... Well, the Fault in Our Stars isn't an honest book. It's pretty romanticized (listen as the nerdfighters gasp and plot their revenge against me). Say What You Will had an air of, "This is just how it is. There's no need to doll up the truth." Which, I've gotta say, I love. Thank you, Ms. McGovern, for giving the book the most genuine feel I've ever read.
Point Two. Stories about disabilities that aren't completely, "Look, people with disabilities! Existing! So brave!" are hard to come by. Inspiration may be nice, but there's no need to used disabled people as your pawn in the inspiration game. Another thank you to the author for not making Amy an object to gawk at. Amy (and Matthew) went way beyond the feel-good-story characters I expected.
Point Three. Not only were the characters people, they were good people! Interesting people! Honestly, if at the end of the book there was a little note that said "Surprise! There is no Cammie McGovern! This is a joint autobiography!" I might not actually be surprised. They sounded so real.
Point Four. Frrriiiieeeennnddddshhhhiiiiiipppppp. Instalove and enemies-turned-lovers are my two least favorite kinds of romance. Friendship based love is totally the best. It's realistic and warm and fuzzy without the lustity-lust-lust atmosphere I get from love at first sight, or basically anything where the Love Interest(TM)'s first description is that he/she was so hot that you'd melt looking at them.
Point Five. The romance was pretty darn great too. It didn't morph their relationship into something weird and unrecognizable. [Congratulations! It's a spoiler!] And then, when sex did come up, it wasn't an immediate take-off-your-clothes-we're-not-even-gonna-think-about-it thing. Why does that keep happening? I have no idea. But it's nice to get a break from it. [The spoiler disappeared, never to be seen again] Okay, I'm gonna have to say, it was pretty cute. There. You heard it from me, folks.
Sadly, we'd have to get to this eventually. Even with all the good stuff there was:
Negative Point One. [Wake me up... when the spoilers end] The baby. Yup. Third novel on here with a useless baby. It's not that it wasn't important to the plot, really, it's just there are so many better plot points that could have been used. I don't want another novel with the main girl getting pregnant. I don't need that. No one needs that. It's getting old, people. I'm also absolutely terrified that the book I'm reading now is going to do that. At least in this book the baby's put up for adoption. We really, really don't need another BABY. BABY ALL. ONLY BABY NOW. BABY LIFE. BABY BABY BABY. Story. [Goodbye, spoiler! We'll miss you! Write home!]
Negative Point Two. Near the end, the book went from awesome to a bit weird. Like the author wasn't sure what else to day after [Yeah, one more spoiler.] Amy went missing. [I knew your spoiler. It was a good man.] It became harder to really feel for the situation.
Negative Point Three. More of *sigh, flop onto the couch* The Other Girls. And here's the confusing part. Amy had a more mild case of The Other Girls syndrome than Matthew. She at least accepted them like people. Matthew went so far as slut shaming and acting like Amy was the only decent girl. That's, like, a stage four Other Girls case. All I can say is "no".
(If you total it up, it's two points. A mediocre book is zero points. So, uh, above average, I guess?)