Title/Author: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Standalone
Published: June 3rd, 2014 by HarperTeen
Audiobook, 542 minutes
How I Got This Book: Checked it out from my library
Why I Picked It Up?: It was getting some good pre-publishing press,
Book Jacket Blurb: “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.”
Say What You Will is a familiar story that is told in a unique way, with unique characters and sensitive–yet important–subject matter. This is the story of a teenager with a disability and her search to find friendship and independence in spite of her differences. This is the story of Matthew, and his willingness to take a chance and befriend someone that he doesn’t understand but is fascinated by. This is the story of their growing friendship, how they learn about themselves and each other through one another.
What I really loved and appreciated about this story was Amy’s characterization. She has cerebral palsy, but she really is just like any other teenage girl. She has the same needs, the same desires. She wants to have friends, she wants to feel included, she wants to be who she is, she wants to feel loved, she wants to be independent. I could relate to her struggles and feelings throughout this novel, even though I cannot even imagine being in her shoes. To me, Amy is someone that I don’t know, but I really enjoyed getting to see life from her perspective, to experience life through her eyes. It was humbling, it was intriguing, it was foreign and familiar.
I think I enjoyed this book so much BECAUSE I listened to it. The experience of listening to this book on audio is so unique because of what the audio adds to the story. First of all, Rebecca Lowman is a fantastic narrator. She has read some of my favorite audiobooks, including Eleanor & Park, and she adds so much genuine emotion and feeling into the story. Every story she reads, she helps listeners connect to the characters in the story, and her performance of Amy is no different. I would attribute a lot of my feelings about Amy to Rebecca’s performance in this audio production. The other awesome thing about this audio is the use of the robotic speech of Amy’s Pathway speaking device. Because of Amy’s CP, she cannot speak on her own, and instead uses a speaking device. So, when she speaks in the story, it is done in the Pathway speak. This element of the audio production is so unique and really allowed me to understand and connect to this story on another level.
This story is said to be the next Fault in Our Stars. This story is NOT TFIOS. There is nothing TFIOS about this, honestly. This story stands on its own, in its own unique way. I think that Say What You Will is important exposure to students with disabilities, and how life isn’t so different afterall.
My Bookshelf Rating:
A Fourth Shelf Book!
The audio is brilliant for this book. The additions of the robotic speech of Amy’s Pathway really conveys the true tone of the conversations between Amy and Matthew.
If you are wondering, this is NOT like The Fault in Our Stars. At all. (Unless you count a boy and a girl being friends.)
This is a story of individual struggles, of friendship struggles, of relational struggles, of learning to be a better person from the people around you. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this audio book.
Love and Tulips,