Sort: Stand alone.
Source: provided to me by the publisher and Netgalley.
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat. His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again. When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.
“She was smarter than all of us. And it only made me want her more.”
Jake is in love with Sam. They used to be friends, but their contact is almost gone now. When he and his friends are drunk at a party, he decides it’s a clever thing to go to her and tell her that he loves her. Being drunk and driving a car doesn’t work that well. They crash and Jake loses the ability to speak. It’s hard to get used to the fact that never get another chance to tell Sam that he loves her, but the accident did bring them closer to each other. Jake is taking sign language in an attempt to move on and Sam becomes his teacher. They communicate a lot via his notebooks and they are attracted to each other. Sam is a bit scared of calling it a relationship. She doesn’t believe in love.
Jakes has a wonderful, big family. His mother is a second mother to everyone on their little island. She is caring and he gets a lot of support from her, his father and his brothers and sisters. I especially liked Jordan, his sister who is a big help to him, and James, his little brother.
“You look like a mime or something when you do that,” James said, his tone totally serious. “Your body tries to laugh, but nothing comes out.”
These situations makes the story lighter and shows us that losing something in our lives, doesn’t have to mean that our lives stop. We can move on. Things can change and yes, you can feel sorry for yourself, but their must come a moment you just stop whining. That’s something he learns when Sam is yelling at him.
“Your friends might not ‘get it,’” she made little quote marks in the air. “But they’re still trying to be there for you. And all you can do is shut out the world and feel sorry for yourself.”
That’s when Jake finds out what Sam has been hiding. The reason why she is tired all the time and why she is becoming so skinny. She has been living on her own for a while now. With the little money she has and the few stuff she gathered, she is living in a small boathouse in the woods. That’s when her father shows up to get her and their world start falling apart. It means that Sam has to move. How will that change their future?
I really liked this story about standing up and moving on after losing something precious. It seems horrible to lose your voice and become mute in one silly moment or losing someone you love. Jake is a sweet boy. He takes care of Sam when she needs him the most and he can cope with her strange moods. His whiny behavior is understandable, but I was glad that Sam told him the truth. Sometimes, he had too much self-pity. Sam was a delightful character. Strong, smart and brave. I like her input in this story, but I wished several times that we got to know more about Jake. After all, it’s his story, told from his POV. I wanted this story to be based on his accident, instead on his insecurity about Sam. Overall, a nice story which makes you think about life and moving on.