Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Publisher: Harper Teen
Check out this book on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
This book is about two imperfect people, both “disabled” in some way (Amy has Cerebral Palsy, Matthew has OCD), who find each other and save each other from the cages that they’ve put themselves into. This book looks at the ways friendship can save you, break you, and help you find yourself through 2 years in the lives of Amy and Matthew as they struggle through the final year of high school and their first ventures into the adult world.
I loved this book, genuinely loved it. It made me feel a lot of things and I had a hard time putting it down. The problem is, I don’t have a lot to say about it. Because I liked everything in it, and didn’t really dislike a single thing in the whole book, I wound up just absorbed in the book without any critical eye and without a huge raving impression of it either. We’ll get to that though.
Amy and Matthew are both hugely flawed people. Their flaws make them lovable and real and tangible in a way that a lot of books cannot make their characters be. They have both built these cages for themselves, maybe Amy had a little help from her mom, but they build these cages based on their disabilities, limiting themselves in ways that they shouldn’t. This is a theme throughout the book which was really wonderful to read about. The ways in which they use their disabilities as crutches and excuses to not find themselves and find each other. Their journey to free themselves was really wonderful and beautiful.
This book tackles a lot of issues. Divorce, mental health, disability, and on and on and on (don’t want to give spoilers!). The thing that really sets this book apart is the fact that it tackled all of this without it feeling like too much was being talked about. McGovern navigated all of these topics in ways that felt natural and comfortable for the flow of the book. This was a HUGE part of the reason that this book is so easy to read. The flow of the book is really fantastic.
I think the problem with this book is the fact that…everything was so just…good. It wasn’t great or fantastic or amazing or the best thing ever. This makes it hard to rave about. But there was nothing really wrong with it, so it’s not easy to complain either. It makes it good, memorable even, well written, unique but…just that. I am struggling, honestly, to say a lot about this book because even though I love this book…I can’t think of a single things to say, to sum it up, anything. I feel like I’m failing this book, and maybe this book failed itself, because its not inciting enough of a reaction from me.
Honestly though, this book is really very good. The writing is amazing, the characters are fantastic, the issues are interesting and beautiful. I found it inspiring and beautiful. It has to be one of the most unique books I’ve read all year. I highly recommend it and I hope that despite my inability to express what is so good about it, you will check this book out.