September 11, 2014

Say What You Will - Cammie McGovern

Young Adult
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Goodreads / Amazon

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.
We definitely need more books like this for our young population. Promoting acceptance among disabled and mentally ill is something our culture needs badly.

Say What You Will is a beautiful story of friendship developing among two lonely teens struggling with Cerebral Palsy and OCD. They find each other and connect in a heart-warming and quirky way. The narration felt a little off at points but the beauty of the story and the sincerity of the character made up for it flawlessly. Amy feels like a regular teen throughout the whole novel and it becomes thought-provoking to be seeing through her eyes. I'm glad the author didn't approach it like a regular romance and just took her time making it more about friendship and the connection of being there for each other. It made it much more believable. Amy was as blatantly heartbreaking as we should all expect her to be. I'm glad the sugarcoating was balanced and the reality of it was highlighted brilliantly.

Matthew's character was equally fascinating though. One of the most clear portrayals of OCD and the real struggles inside their heads that I've ever encountered. Most of the fears and struggles Matthew felt were perfectly understandable and logical, so it was much easier to connect with him as a character. We tend to struggle to understand people with weird train of thoughts because of mental illness, but the author made it really easy with Matthew. The change of the situations as the story comes unraveled was both, surprising and disturbing. Yet, somehow it all fit into this connection that by the end felt much more about experiences than about shared "oddball-ism" if that makes sense.

This is a story that should to be out there and should to be widely read. Fans of YA realistic fiction such as The Fault in Our Stars and Out of My Mind will love this novel.

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