Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Narrator(s): Rebecca Lowman
Series: n/a
Length: 9 hrs 2 mins
Publisher: HarperAudio
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

Nope. I do not agree with that statement at the beginning of the synopsis up there. If anything, the relationship between Amy and Matthew reminds me more of the one in Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy...a ton of give and take, push and pull, the two main characters either super close or at each other's throat. And I loved Side Effects May Vary, so I mean that in the best possible way.

And as with that novel, I think this is going to be one of those stories that readers will probably either love or hate. There are going to be times that you'll completely forget that Amy has CP and you'll see her as a normal girl, and then she'll do something or make some regrettable choice, and it'll be blatantly obvious that she's anything but normal. You might even hate how some of her "hired" friends seem to use and take advantage of her. But don't let that fool you. Amy is not a push-over and she knows what she's doing. For the most part, anyway.

With Matthew, there's the possibility that he can overcome his diagnosis, and he does manage it -- with therapy and medication -- once he admits that he does need help. Amy is not so lucky. They both face their share of challenges, but it's the significant misunderstandings and miscommunication between them that challenges their friendship the most. They're both fairly honest and forthright, but it's often what they don't say that causes them the most problems. And this may cause a lot of readers, myself included, not to connect with them or even like them at times, but I think that's the point of the story:  making friends in the face of adversity and the diverse group of people that comes along with that.

I received a copy for review, but I didn't make it to it, so I downloaded the audiobook from my library as soon as it was available. And I probably enjoyed it that much more because Rebecca Lowman narrates it. (She has narrated all but one of Rainbow Rowell's books, FYI.) She's great for a story like this, told in 3rd person but from two different perspectives. Her voice is feminine enough but she can also take it into a slightly deeper vocal register for male characters. Actually, it sounds more like my sarcastic voice, when I talk out the side of my mouth, but either way, it works.

I think it's okay to empathize with Amy and Matthew, but I think it's even better to pull for them and hope that they'll rise above their illnesses and become everything they want to be, individually and together. They find each other. They make mistakes. And they find each other once more, only to do it all over again. No one said it would be an easy journey, but I think it's an honest one, and that's what I liked about it.

GIF it to me straight:
It wasn't nearly as sad as I was expecting. Instead, it was rather uplifting.

About the author:

Cammie McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, but moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She is the author of three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch. Say What You Will will be published by HarperTeen in June, 2014. She currently lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

Find Cammie:

Website | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. I actually was really angry at this book! >_< Oops...Amy really frustrated me, but I mean, so did Matthew. I totally agree to the Side Effects May Vary comparison MUCH more than the Rainbow Rowell/John Green comparison. That's a bit batty. x) What I didn't like though, was how Matthew's condition was treated as something he needed to get over. Plus with Amy really honestly setting out to change him. People with anxiety need help, sure, but I know people with anxiety and I felt Amy was pretty offensive in how she treated Matthew! Eeh...maybe I was just too close to the subject matter, but this one ruffled me all the wrong ways.

    1. I understand your frustration...I didn't see it as her wanting to change him so much as to help him get better since he had the ability whereas she didn't. But I thought she pushed him too hard at times, too, when she was the one making TERRIBLE decisions. Geez. Still, I'm glad you found my comparison more appropriate. :D

  2. I felt pretty middle ground about this one. Aspects really bothered me like Cait but I could see the appeal. I'm glad I read it but not something I'd ever want to read again. Great review Jen!

    1. Yeah, this isn't one for my shelf, for sure, but I was entertained by it.

  3. huh, I have never heard of this one. Ooh but I really hate when books are compared to... this book meets this books. It makes me expect things I do not get. lol. I think I'll pass on this one. It doesn't seem like something I'd enjoy all that much.

    1. I hate when they make those types of comparison, especially because they're usually not very apt.


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