October 8, 2015

Wicked Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Published: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Acquired: Paperback

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 don't know why I constantly torture myself with reading books that will ultimately kill me on the inside. Maybe, I'm a sadist that way. I have no idea.

Amy Van Dorn and Matthew Malone have this complicated friendship. For one, Amy, despite her cerebral palsy and her Pathway, is a very smart girl yet she's very naive. Matthew showed her that the world isn't as wonderful as she thinks it is.

Amy made a promise to herself to make friends as she starts her senior year in high school. No one knows Amy very well, except for the fact that she has a talking computer and a walker and that she has an aide beside her. But she was determined to change that when she suggested to her mother that they hire kids her age to be her "friends" so that they can introduce Amy to other kids their age as well. Out of the four, Matthew stood out. Mainly because Amy likes him. And that he's just like Amy.

Both of them hide behind their disabilities: Amy with her cerebral palsy and Matthew with his OCD. It's like their shield and at the same time, it's their leverage against the world and against each other even. Amy figured to help Matthew get over his OCD by giving him assignments, all the while secretly pining for Matthew. Matthew was oblivious to all of the little hints Amy's been dropping, all because he's scared of his own feelings for her.

College tore them apart. Amy got accepted into a prestigious university while Matthew's trying to figure out his life, a life without Amy in it. Until this one incident that changes their lives forever. And change it did.

Say What You Will is very subtle. Or maybe that's just putting it mildly. It packs a punch that leaves you breathless. I've always been a fan of contemporary, romance or not, and no matter what people say against it, I love it anyways. Cammie MCGovern has a flair for plot twists. Plot twists are very tricky. Just like jokes, plot twists need that perfect timing and Say What You Will has it.

It's easier said than done is what they always say but sometimes, saying it is as hard as doing it. No one can really perfect that.

Cammie McGovern was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and received the Nelson Algren Award in short fiction. Her work has been published in Redbook, Seventeen, Glimmer Train, TriQuarterly, and other publications.

No comments:

Post a Comment