Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: Say What You Will - Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Genre: YA, contemporary
Published on June 3, 2014
Published by HarperTeen
Pages: 343
Read From: 8.25.14 - 8.28.14

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 the 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.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I do actually really like the cover art. It's simple, it's colorful, and for some reason it just totally caught my attention. Don't really know why.

Characters: My feelings for the characters is a little complicated. I did really like Michael; he was a super nice, super decent guy with - for me - relatable problems. I'm not that severely OCD, but I totally get the anxiety thing. As the story progressed, though, Michael got a little . . . annoying. A little whiny. A little too selfish. At the same time, though, it was understandable. I understood his disappointment, his anger, his anxiety. I was still a little irritated with him towards the end, though. Now Amy . . . I really liked Amy! At first. She's smart, funny, and supportive of Michael. But then . . . she makes some serious mistakes for no good reason, and I never got the sense that she actually, genuinely regretted what she did. And her continued insistence that Sanjay wasn't as big of a jerk as everyone said he was? Open your eyes, girl! He was a complete ass! And he never got any better about it!

The Romance: Michael really, really cares about Amy. Amy really, really cares about Michael. Except Michael wants to treat their relationship with respect, with maturity, with morality. Amy wants to sleep with Michael. I'm not necessarily saying that Amy took their relationship less serious, but being the person I am about morality, I found her constant focus on sleeping with him as a way of cheapening her feelings towards Michael. There was no commitment. Michael was all about commitment; Amy not so much. And yes, it bothered me. What could have been such a sweet, even romantic love story was cheapened by Amy's desire to sleep with Michael.

Plot: Read above synopsis. I'm not being lazy; that's what the book is about. I know, I know; I've said a million times that I really don't like stories about cancer, disabilities, and things like that. In general, I still don't. But every once in a while, I find that book that actually interests me. Say What You Will was one of those. This book is all about the characters, and I think that that's actually what messed it up for me. As a whole, it's a great story with great characters. But Amy's cheapening of the romance and the twists halfway through kind of took away from it. [Spoiler] Amy sleeps with Sanjay because she wants to gain experience for when she sleeps with Michael. Also, she needs to prove to herself that despite her disability, she can be a "normal" teenage girl (which apparently consists of sleeping around). It turns out that Amy gets pregnant. [End spoiler] I'll be honest, this really bothered me. Not only because Sanjay is a complete jerk, but really, Amy?! You are so much smarter than that; you should know that this isn't something you just do to "gain experience." And even when there's consequences, I never got the feeling that Amy actually regretted it. That maybe she learned casual sex doesn't exist; there is always a consequence. And because there was no "this is what happens when you have 'casual sex'" message, I didn't see the point of it happening at all. It kind of ruined the entire book for me; there just wasn't a point.

Believability: No complaints.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. We swap perspectives between Amy and Michael. Personally, I would have liked it if the narration had been first person. No particular reason; I personally would have just liked it better. I thought the constant capitalization of Amy's dialogue would be irritating, but it actually wasn't all that bad. The style itself is easy to become immersed in and it reads very quickly.

Content: 3 f-words, 5 s-words.

Conclusion: [Spoiler] If Amy had aborted her baby, I would have stopped reading this book then and there. But, she doesn't; she delivers the baby and puts her up for adoption. [End spoiler] I still don't understand the point of all that; I really don't. And my feelings on this book are still very much divided. Because on the one hand, it is good. The characters are sympathetic, it has a very The Fault in Our Stars feel. But as a reader, that one twist just kind of ruined it all for me. That isn't to say that other people won't enjoy it, though, because most people don't feel about that kind of thing the way I do.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of The Fault in Our Stars.

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