Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 343 Pages
Published June 2014
Summary: 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.
Goodreads describes this book as a cross between The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park, which immediately sparked my attention because I loved both of those books. Margot and Aubrey also talked up a storm about this book during Tea Time with EpicReads a couple of weeks ago, and hearing about how much they loved it made me eager to pick it up.
And may I just say, I'm glad I did.
In a couple of ways, Say What You Will reminded me a lot of two books I had read a long time ago, Rules by Cynthia Lord and Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. All three of these books had to deal with physical and mental challenges that made living and expressing the thoughts and emotions of the characters pretty hard, and as soon as I started reading this book, the other two came to mind.
First, I'm going to talk about Matthew. He was a great character, he really was. McGovern captured his issues of OCD perfectly, even in third person, which isn't always an easy task. She painted a picture of how helpless and unhappy Matthew was with his condition, and the reader got a chance to crawl inside of his head and see all of the distress (and small glimmers of love and a little bit of hope) floating around in there.
Amy was another great character that made me smile. Even though she had cerebral palsy and couldn't talk that well, she laughed at herself. She saw the brightness in things. Even if yes, it was just a front and she was really broken and lonely and just wishing she could have experiences that other people she knew could have, the front she put on was spot-on and actually had me raise my eyebrows a couple of times, impressed with her gall.
This book spoke to me on so many levels. I laughed when I should have, cried when I should have, cringed and peeked between my fingers all when I should have. Amy and Matthew were both brilliantly developed, and I thoroughly was pleased while I watched Amy struggle to find herself and get through her tough times, while at the same time Matthew was battling with his inner demons and trying to better himself with Amy's help.
The only thing I wasn't so keen on was the ending of this book, only because it felt a little rushed. I feel like that was the only factor that kept me from giving this book a full five stars--the closure was there, my questions were answered, but it all happened on a span of 5-6 pages.
All in all, Say What You Will was a great book that I would recommend to any YA contemporary readers that are looking for a heartwarming book to make them smile in the midst of reading all of the dystopian and heartbreaking novels that are sitting in their TBR pile. Great book, great surge of emotion, and I'm left feeling very happy and glad that everything did work out in the end.