Tue, July 1, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern Review

Say What You Will book cover

Say What You Will book cover

Say What You Will
By Cammie McGovern
Publication date: June 3, 2014
HarperTeen, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

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!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, romance


  1. Lea @ YA Book Queen said:

    Soap opera-y turns are a hit or a miss with me (usually a miss – I like realism). The first half sounds good, though. Definitely seems like a book worth checking out at the library!

    Nice review 🙂


    Posted on: Tue, July 1, 2014

  2. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) said:

    This book has the cutest cover! Being compared to TFiOS makes me a little bit nervous for the soap opera-y stuff you mention, but I love the E&P reference. I know I want to read this one at some point – perhaps listen via audiobook. This is the first review I’ve read for it – thanks for your thoughts!


    Posted on: Tue, July 1, 2014

  3. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf said:

    Anna – I totally get what you mean about it being a bit soap opera – esque at times (especially the 2nd half) – I think that threw both of us off!

    I agree with your assessment that the characters were really well-done and that Amy + Matthew’s romance was WONDERFUL!

    Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3


    Posted on: Tue, July 1, 2014

  4. Iris said:

    I loved Say What You Will, especially the romance between Amy and Matthew and the insight it gave into their medical conditions.
    Though, I have to admit that I understand what you say about the 2nd half of the book being a bit dramatic and soap opera-y.
    It didn’t really throw me off the way it did for you though (although I completely understand that it was a bit unbelievable, I agree with that!)


    Posted on: Tue, July 1, 2014

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