Author: Cammie McGovern
Publication date: June 3rd 2014
Source: Received from publisher (Thanks, Megan!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
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.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)
For something that claims to be a marriage of TFIOS and Eleanor and Park, I had pretty high expectations for this book. I expected it to be witty, sad, heart wrenching, surprising and sweet and boy, oh boy, did it deliver! I must have looked like a maniac giggling one second then turning all quiet and solemn the next. This book will really take you on an emotional journey and I was amazed at how accurately Miss McGovern was able to set these moods in the story. I knew exactly what each character was (probably) feeling in each setting and I was able to be in their little bubble of fictional time until the novel ended.
There are a limited number of YA novels that I find to possess these kind of loves. The kind that forms in the midst of all the challenges. Kind of like that flower growing in a crack on the ground in the harshest of winters. It is always so refreshing to read these kids of books especially when the author is able to convey each word, feeling and moment so flawlessly to the reader. It is admittedly very easy to relate to that lonely girl who secretly possesses hidden powers or ethereal beauty because we all want to feel the same way. The caterpillar busting our of her cocoon and becoming a butterfly. Miss McGovern was really able to make me relate to all these characters. I may not have CP (cerebral palsy) but reading into the mind and feelings of a character who had it definitely made me feel and understand Amy. I thought her struggles would be far more complex than mine but as it turns out, her problems were just like any other teenage girl's out there. I may not have OCD like Matthew but I was able to see the condition in his eyes.
Throughout the book, we see a lot of growth from our two main characters. They start out as tiny, fleeting buds and by the end of the book, Amy and Matthew for me, had grown into something much bigger and stronger. Perhaps a seedling or a very young tree! They were definitely no hardy Oaks or towering Pines but they were getting there. The only thing I did not like much were the lengthy conversations and some lag in the story but even those were important to the progress. Maybe I was just used to the fast moving (sometimes unrealistic) pacing of some novels but this was a remarkable change from the usual. Other than that, I can honestly say that this book should be in your TBR pile because even if you do not like the characters or setting, you will definitely learn a thing or two about love, life and everything in between. Congratulations, Miss McGovern! Say What You Will was one of the best books I have read. Beautiful story, wonderfully written and it held on to my poor heart, unsuspecting heart until the very last page. More power to you!