A Stand-Alone Review
Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Expected Publication/Release Date: June 14 , 2014
Source: HarperCollins (ARC)
I received a copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. No compensation of any kind have been received for this review and all of the opinions in this review are solely my own.
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.
I want someone who will talk to me honestly about things. You're the only person who ever has. Maybe you don't know this, but when you're disabled almost no one tells you the truth. They feel too awkward because the truth seems too sad, I guess. You were very brave to walk up to the crippled girl and say, essentially, wipe that sunny expression off your face and look at reality. That's what I want you to do next year. Tell me the truth. That's all.
Amy and Matthew didn't know each other, really. They weren't friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn't friends with now. Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.
As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he's helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except the one thing that matters most. - (Epic Reads)
First sentence: Amy's emails started in late July and kept coming all summer.
Okay, so it's my first time to receive Advance Review Copies and I just want to thank HarperCollins again for their generous hearts in providing this book. I just cannot thank them enough. This is my first official ARC Review so allow me to start and try. I'll get better, I promise.
Just look at that fluffy cover? Isn't that pretty? It's beautiful right? But it's not really the alluring cover that made me read this book since my ARC doesn't have a cover art yet but the phrase “John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park” got my attention. I kinda freaked out when I read this and thought “oh no no no this would be painful, I can feel it”. I've read both TFIOS and E&P and I sure felt the pain and I don't even know how I handled it. But this? Both of those books mixed-up? Wow. That's some serious pain you can inflict! I didn't have second thoughts picking it up I have this weird attachments to tragic novels so don't ask.
If you want to read a book a thousand times more painful than TFiOS well read this. I remember I tweeted while reading this that I'd rather watch or reread TFiOS and E&P a hundred times than reread Say What You Will. And I also tweeted that I can't bear to watch the movie (if there will ever be a movie of this book). For me it's way way painful than TFiOS and E&P. It's like 10000000xmore painful to be exact. Now let me explain why I think it so.
First is Amy, she is a 17 year-old who has a cerebral palsy. Her condition makes me cry each time I read about her, I mean she can't walk, she can't talk, she can't move, she can't eat (she pretty much eats like a baby only soft foods), she can't smile, she can't frown, she drools, she pretty much can't do anything. The only physical thing she can do is type with her one able hand so a computer, some kind of speech talking device called pathway can talk for her. Tell me how much that's worse than Eleanor and Hazel. At least Hazel can move and at least Hazel is not physically deformed, only her lungs doesn't work, but Amy pretty much everything doesn't work in her body. At least Eleanor is physically able and is physically healthy even if she's poor and deprived but Amy what's the use of their money if she can never be cured, she can never have a normal body no matter what she do. At least cancer can be cured even for a little chance, but palsy no, you can never fix the wrenched body parts and make them work, you can't just twist an arm to bend it to the right position, no. The life of a person who has a cerebral has just a little bit longer lifetime that that of a person who has cancer, but they both feel the same excruciating pain. But still Amy doesn't have that self-pity. She's mentally strong and emotionally balanced and she has a positive outlook in life. You can read it in her poems and compositions.
“In fact—and this will surprise many people—I don't wish I was fine.” (pg 16)
She's the only person I know—I've read--that doesn't want to get well? How am supposed to understand that and not cry?
“Instead of beauty I have a face no one envies and a body no one would choose to live in....Living in a body that limits my choices means I am not a victim of fashion or cultural pressures, because there is no cultural pressures in the culture I see...I feel blessed and yes, I feel lucky.” (pg 17)
If Augustus Waters feared oblivion, Amy didn't fear anything. She's the most fearless disabled girl I've ever known. She wanted to prove to her mom and to the world that she can do everything that a normal girl her age can do amidst her own struggles and conditions. And she did and she's gone through everything no seventeen year-olds can ever do just to prove it to the world.
Matthew on the other hand has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and and at first he's insecure of it but Amy talked him into helping to overcome his sickness. His fears are dirty things and hurting people, he has an irrational fear of hurting everyone that loves him so he keeps his distance. He can be compared to Park in E&P, he loves unrequitedly. He's the kind of guy that loves without boundaries, without excuses and without expecting for his affections to be given back. He loves someone without judging the outward appearance. He can also be compared to Augustus for his undying devotion to the the girl he loves even if she had pushed him a thousand times away from her life already. He's the kind of guy who would only and truly love just one person in all his life time.
“I'm not sure if I'll be good at very many things, but I'm good at this. I'm good when I'm with you.” “YOU ARE.” “And you're good with me.” “I AM.” (pg 309)
The romance in this story is a whirlwind. A beautiful whirlwind. You can't predict the way how the love story goes. That just makes it mysterious and very interesting. So many twist and turns and heartbreaks along the way. One thing The Fault in our stars is that it failed to make me laugh but this book honestly and sincerely did. To be honest I didn't cry reading TFiOS and Eleanor and Park, I was just slightly heartbroken but reading this book made me want to sob in a new level of heartbreak. I'm not really much into contemporary genre but this book I just devoured in a single day. I can't stop turning the pages. I even refused food and shower just to finish this. (Shhh. Don't tell anyone.) When I've read, "this book is like TFIOS" and when I'm halfway off the book I expected someone would die. (But I wouldn't tell you that, you have to read the book yourself.) It's tragic and it's beautiful and it's honest and sincere. It's a book that will make you realize the unending possibility of life.
As what Ms. Tara Weikun, VP. Editorial Director of Say What You Will :
“It's a universal story about the redemptive power of friendship and illustrates how we can all feel lost or out of place until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.”
This book made it up to my expectations. Say What You Will : “The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park meets The Beginning of Everything meets A Walk to Remember” that's what I thought immediately after I finished reading it. I really, really loved this one. If you think about borrowing this book, DON'T. Say What You Will is definitely worth the buy! So mark your calendars on June 14 and once it hits the bookstores run along, leave everything you're doing and grab a copy. BUY SAY WHAT YOU WILL AND READ SAY WHAT YOU WILL. (If I need to brainwash you in buying this book, I'd gladly will.)
Rate: 5/5 stars