Worth A Thousand Words: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Say What You Will
by Cammie McGovern
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Expected publication date: June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC
Goodreads // Author's Website
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.
Honest, compelling, and completely heartwarming. Those three words don't even begin to describe Say What You Will in it's entirety. It isn't at all the easy light read that I was expecting, no. From the moment I flipped to page two, I was thrown into the messy life of Amy, a teenage girl with cerebral palsy, and Matthew, a boy who's hiding the fact that he has severe OCD.

Amy's Cerebral Palsy robs her of her ability to talk without a voice box, and perform simple motor movements in a normal way but her mind is anything but slow. She's incredibly smart and great at school, and she isn't unaware of what others think about her condition. Regardless, Amy doesn't shy away from anybody and tries to befriend them instead. Matthew, on the other hand, looks perfectly normal on the outside but hides his OCD from everyone and gets anxiety whenever he deviates from his 'routines'. The two of them are already full of life on their own, but the two of them fit together like two puzzle pieces. Amy was emotionally stronger than Matthew and Matthew had the physical capabilities that Amy lacked. They helped each other, complemented each other and made each other shine.

The romance was sweet, pure, and real; the epitome of first love. Cammie McGovern slowly guides us through Amy and Matthew's attraction, confusion, indecision, tension, happiness, and downfalls. Painfully slow and shy, it's the kind of love that doesn't hit you full force, the kind of love that gives off inch-lings of a spark- a spark bright and hopeful enough to make you wish that the ship would sail. However, their relationship was always messy and fragile. I always felt like I was standing on the edge of a roof and could fall off at any moment. It only made it more magical and real, something worth holding on to.

In truth, I didn't always like Amy and Matthew but I did admire the author's skillful characterization of them both. Their actions annoyed me and clawed at my head, but it goes without saying that the things they were doing and the decisions that they made were perfectly humane. McGovern doesn't sugarcoat the two. They were both so painfully flawed and real. And they were written in the way that didn't make me pity them despite all of the problems and issues they were having, I found myself sympathizing with them instead.

The book is being pitched as being in the same vein as The Fault In Our Stars and Eleanor & Park, but I think that the story strays from that pigeonhole and eventually develops into something more than that. Say What You Will doesn't just tell the story of a girl with CP and a boy with OCD, it also dives into the lives of everyone around them like their parents and friends like Chloe and Sanjay; it's beautiful prose sings about family problems, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and the things that people do when they're desperate for something more.

In the end, this book and their story taught me a lot about strength. Amy and Matthew taught me to conquer life's limits, even if the one blocking your way is yourself. The path the story took shocked and surprised me; it was something I never even expected. What started out as an innocent love story developed into something so much more, dealing with a surprising issue that was heavier than I ever expected. Say What You Will was sweet, honest, heartbreaking, and utterly brilliant. Pick up a copy of Say What You Will but handle your heart with care, because this book might just break it when you least expect it and render you speechless.

THE NUB AND GIST: 5 STARS
Buy the book from: National Book Store /  Barnes & Noble

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4 comments

  1. I'm reading this right now - so far, so good!!

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  2. I believe I have an eARC of this one. After your glowing review, I might bump it up in my TBR list :)

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  3. Yay! So glad to hear this is good. I can't wait to read it.

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  4. Eeep you got me at "They were both so painfully flawed and real." 0.0 You know how I adore characters like this! :D
    Definitely going to try this one. Thanks for sharing, Ellie!

    Neysa @ Papier Revue

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