Say What You Will is a heartfelt story about two teens who each have different challenges to overcome as they navigate the difficulties of senior year.
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.
Book Review: ‘Say What You Will’ by Cammie McGovern
Say What You Will is brave story about two teens who are very different from each other and everyone else.
Amy has cerebral palsy and must use a walker and voice box to speak. Amy is incredibly intelligent and highly aware of how people see her. I found her character compelling in that she is not the typical heroine per se, but she is just as amazing. I enjoyed how brutally honest she was with herself, and how brave she was to approach the people who did not understand her. Not everyone would be willing to put themselves out there the way Amy did.
Matt is one of the student helpers Amy hires to work with her during her senior year. Matt comes with his own set of issues; he has OCD and feels that very bad things will happen if he doesn’t wash his hands. The two form a friendship that grows over time and has the possibility of being more.
Cammie McGovern crafts a story that takes a realistic look at people who have disabilities but who are not their disability. Amy and Matt both struggle with finding their independence and the boundaries of their friendship. The story explores the challenges of being a teenager and normalizes those experiences for Amy and Matt. It is a bit of a roller coaster ride as you laugh, cry and feel the pain that these characters do. The plot is well thought out and takes you on a journey with two special narrators. In many ways, Matthew’s OCD effects him much more than Amy’s cerebral palsy limits her. And while many stories like this would be about someone saving Amy, this story isn’t about rescuing anyone. It is about setting aside fears, limitations, and appearances, and taking a chance at opening up.
Overall this book is a must read for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. The honesty and depth of character as well as the typical teenage struggles will appeal to those who like realistic fiction. Say What You Will is an important book to share and everyone should meet Amy and Matt.
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