Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

I have mixed feelings about this book.  On the one hand, I really liked the juxtaposition between physical and mental disorders.  I liked that both were treated with respect and acknowledged the unfair stigmas attached to each.  And I liked that the romance felt genuine and earned–it’s tricky to have a relationship develop between an able-bodied person and a disabled person and never once think there is a power imbalance.

On the other hand, the pace of the book felt very strange.  Sometimes we got to see all day, every day.  Other times we skipped months at a time.  Sometimes the scenes evenly alternated between Amy and Matthew, and sometimes they skewed toward one more than the other.  The plot seemed to be following a particular route, but then there was a twist.  Which is cool!  But the last third of the book felt uneven and disjointed.  Subplots were tacked on without the development they might have been given earlier in the book.

Still, I’m glad this book exists.  It’s always good to read about the stories of people that, sad to say, I often ignore.  It’s a good reminder that people have so much more going on inside of them than we can ever know from the outside.  And–this is so basic, but so important–it’s great to have books that loudly and confidently remind readers that nonverbal men and women in wheelchairs are people too.  I mean, of course they are.  But how often do we get to read about their story?  

18599754Book Jacket

I want someone who will talk to me honestly about things.  You’re the only person who ever has.  Maybe you don’t know this, but when you’re disabled almost no one tells you the truth.  They feel too awkward because the truth seems too sad, I guess.  You were very brave to walk up to a crippled girl and say, essentially, wipe that sunny expression off your face and look at reality.  That’s what I want you to do next year.  Tell me the truth.  That’s all.

Amy and Matthew didn’t know each other, really.  They weren’t friends.  Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn’t friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he’s helped her.  And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything–except the one thing that matters most.

Release Date: June 2014


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