Say What You Will
By Cammie McGovern
Publication date: June 3, 2014
HarperTeen, 352 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
For the most part, I liked Say What You Will. It was quite heartbreaking and insightful.
It’s about the friendship and love story between Amy, who has cerebral palsy, and Matthew, who has OCD.
In the sense that this is a story about two people who equally help and hurt each other…I could see the Eleanor & Park reference. Much of the book has that quirky vibe I tend to love. But my feelings are muddled because the latter half of the book took a dramatic, soap opera-y turn that threw me off bigtime. Things just spiraled a little TOO out of control and took me outside of the realm of believability.
That being said: I loved the insight Say What You Will gave me, as a reader, into Amy’s and Matthew’s medical conditions. I liked being inside their heads and seeing how their bodies’ betrayals have impacted their lives. Even more than that, I loved realizing that their ailments aren’t anywhere close to the most interesting things about them.
I’d be curious what people who have dealt with these issues think about the book — I don’t have a close connection to either OCD or cerebral palsy, so I’d be curious to read a review from someone who does!