Tuesday, June 03, 2014 17:56

Review 263. Cammie McGovern – Say what you will.

18599754Title: Say what you will.
Author: Cammie McGovern.
Pages: 352.
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Sort: Stand-alone, contemporary.
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.
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.
Rating:

This book blew me away in an unexpected way. I like to pick my contemporary books carefully and when I came across this book I decided to just go for it and request it. I’m so happy I did, because this book is now one of my favorites. It’s about two strong characters who develop an unique friendship where they both have to deal with their own problems. I loved their relationship and how they look at life. It showed me that it’s up to you what you do with your life, even when every day is a struggle.

Amy was born with cerebral palsy, which is simply said damage in the motor control part of the brain. This means she can’t walk without a walker, talk without her voice box or control her facial expressions – which also gives her problems with swallowing and eating. She has a help by her side until she realizes that this prevents her from making friends; so her wealthy mother trains peers from her age to accompany her. One of those helpers is Matthew, who is plagued by his obsessive-compulsive disorder. His daily life is controlled by his thoughts and rituals, but it’s different when he is around Amy. Despite all odds, the two of them become best friends.

“I am not a victim of fashion or cultural pressure, because there is no place for me in the culture I see. In having fewer options, I am freer than any other teenage I know.”

I was touched by Amy and how incredibly strong this girl is. She doesn’t want to be defined by her ‘condition’. She wants to show the world how much she has to offer and like everyone else, she wants friends. It’s unbelievable how she is able to deal with all of this – and how real Cammie made her feel to me. I had the idea that Amy was a real, breathing girl. It was like I was a little person in her head, able to see the world through her eyes and thoughts. It was a wonderful experience and it puts things I worry about in another perspective.

There is also her best friend, Matthew. There were so many times where I wanted to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be all right. His thoughts were scary and worrisome. It was hard to see him slip further into his compulsions, but I also admired him for standing up in the end. He was brave enough to face his problems and do something about it.

”I believe there are choices each of us makes every single day. We can dwell on our limitations or we can push ourselves past them. I have learned not to judge people by their limitations, but by the way they push past them.”

Seeing these characters together was delightful. Matthew is exactly the kind of person Amy needs. He is not afraid to tell her the truth, because he doesn’t believe in sugar coating things. He is also careful and caring around her. At the same time, Amy is also the kind of person Matthew needs. She challenges him and changes his outlook on life. This unexpected friendship, where soon more feelings start to blossom, was such a lovely thing to see. The ending was a little open-ended, but I thought it fit the overall feeling of this book and it brought a smile on my face.

Read this book. You won’t regret it!
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Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

41 comments:

  1. I am so in love with this book! Is been a really long time since I read a decent YA contemporary, so when Say What Tot Will started showing signs of being thought provoking and emotional, it shot up to the top of my favourites list :D

    Honestly, this was such a roller coaster ride for me, because at the back of my mind I had this fear that one of them would die b/c that's what happened in TFIOS, and Say What You Will is compared to John Green's works, and the part when pretty much all we're reading is Amy's mails? I actually started crying thinking she'd died and the mails were discovered after her death. Yeah, weird. But that's never happened to me. I've never gotten so attached to a character that the possibility of her death brought me to tears. Goes to show how freaking awesome Cammie McGovern is <3

    Okay, LOONG comment *sheepy face*

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    1. I was afraid that happened too! So happy that it had a better ending :)

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  2. I'm pretty careful with the contemporaries I read, but I've heard tons of good things about this one, so I think I'll give it a try! Great review.

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  3. First off, I absolutely love that cover for some reason. Secondly, this book doesn't sound like my usual type of read, but your review definitely has me intrigued and wanting to read it. Their friendship sounds adorable, and it seems like a touching read. Plus, I've heard great things so I just might have to pick this one up. Wonderful review, Mel! And love your little Winnie the Pooh :P

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  4. Yes! I adored this book too. The characters were so realistic and I love how it was very unpredictable (those last pages were crazy)! The only thing that prevented me from giving it a full 5 stars is Matthew and Amy's relationship... I just felt iffy about it especially when they quarreled.

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    1. I found that it made them even more realistic to me :)

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  5. I enjoyed this one too it was both uplifting and heartbreaking. I really loved Amy completely she's just such a wonderful person and I love that she didn'T let her "condition" define her or stop her from living to the fullest. I wasn't as big a fan of Matthew but he was still an intriguing character and also gave another perspective to Amy's story. Great review, hun!

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  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I have my review written and scheduled to go. I had a few issues with it but overall I thought it was a great read. It's not something I'd typically read but I really enjoyed the characters. Great review Mel

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  7. Well, I've been convinced! Fabulous review, Mel. I already feel like I'm falling for Matthew and Amy's friendship, especially Amy's courage.

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  8. This sounds even better than when I had just read the summary. Love your review!

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  9. YEAH! So glad that you enjoyed this one so much Mel! <3 I agree...it's such a powerful, raw story and Amy is such a wonderful, determined character. Her attitude is just remarkable! The love story is absolutely sweet, isn't it? I loved how slow-burn it was and how realistic it seemed.

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

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Yes, I like how they completed each other!

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  10. I love your review, and it's made me want to read this one even more. I'll have to go buy it immediately.

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  11. I got this one from HarperTeen unsolicited myself, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. I think you've convinced me Mel! I'll be squishing some stuff around and reading this one very soon. :) Great review!! :D

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  12. I've not heard of this one before but you make it sound so good! Great review :)

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  13. I hadn't heard of this one yet. Ironically, I was thinking of writing something similar and then I saw your review. I was a student helper for a girl like Amy in college.

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  14. I've seen nothing but amazing reviews for this book, which makes me so excited to read it. The comparisons to Eleanor and Park and other books made me kind of nervous (as I was afraid it wouldn't live up to it's hype), but I'm glad that doesn't seem to be the case. The friendship between Amy and Matthew sounds extremely sweet. Awesome review :)

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    1. I haven't read Eleanor & Parker (yet) so I don't know if it's a good comparison!

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  15. Oh wow....this sounds just like the kind of book I'll love! I know for a fact I'll come to love Amy and Matthew as well :) Lovely review, Mel!<3

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  16. I'll keep a look out for this, Mel, but it certainly sounds really wonderful and I very much enjoyed your review! It's fantastic to hear you went out and requested this and it ended up being a true favourite- that's just wonderful. I'm not sure if I'm initially drawn to it, but reading how much you enjoyed it I think I'll give it a try anyhow!

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    1. I love branching out and discovering new favorites. It's great that I had the opportunity with this book :)

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  17. WOW!! FIVE STARS :D This means that I definitely have to keep my eyes PEELED :O Though I've this stowed in my shelf, and I understand where you're coming from because I read the first few pages before I had to read the other ARCs (which were expiring !!!) But that aside, it sounds wonderful that Amy and Matthew had such a strong and deep-rooted friendship, that they really challenge each other to be the best that they can be! :) Amy sounds like a wonderful person; not letting a handicap get in the way of her pursuit for the fullest and happiest life. It's refreshing to hear that instead of Amy wallowing in self-pity, she decides to use the life she's given to pursue what she loves, and to overcome the odds :) Absolutely lovely!! :D
    WONDERFUL review, Mel!! :DD I'm so glad you loved this one! <3

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    1. It definitely showed me that people can be really strong if they want to!

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  18. I'm glad you liked it, I wasn't blown away the same way as you did, but I did like the message it tried to convey. :3

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  19. I've been side-eyeing this book because it's been getting SO much hype lately, but if you liked this one, I might like this one too so I'll give it a try. o:
    I hope I will enjoy Say What You Will's ending. I'm a bit meh on open-endings since I want solid answers.
    And I want to hug your Winnie the Pooh picture! <3 He's my childhood BFF. ;D

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    1. I'm someone who HATES open endings, but I found this one satisfying :)

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  20. I got this one for review too and... will be picking it up soon (I think? I cannot remember my schedule atm lol) and I really hope I love it as much as you do because now you have me excited!

    Lovely review, Mel!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  21. Awww, this review is giving me all the fuzzies. It sounds like this was a truly adorable, and heart-wrenching book - a realistic and courageous portrayal of two souls who found solace in each other. I love how one of the main characters has a disability! There is certainly more need for heroes and heroines like that. To many people in our society and community, they are detached and don't understand the struggles they go through, so this will certainly shed more light and make their troubles more familiar to the learning world. Awesome review, Mel!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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    1. That is a beautiful and perfect description :)

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  22. Aw, yay :D I'm so glad you loved this book sweetie. <3 Amazing review. It sounds really heartbreaking and amazing :)

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  23. I've bought it a week or so ago and am waiting for it to arrive. I'm glad I bought it, especially after reading your review, that was very helpful. I'll start reading it as soon as I receive it.

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  24. WOW, Mel!! How amazing does this sound! And I admit, this is the first I'm hearing of it, so I'm grateful to you for sharing this. I was actually almost born with cerebral palsy upon my birth because I didn't get enough oxygen when I was born so it's a condition that's quite close to my heart and I love how strong Amy is. Beautiful review!!

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  25. I've heard so many amazing things about this book, even though I tend to think of books about teens with cancer or some kind of illness to be following after the TFiOS hype -- which is a totally stupid and unfair opinion, I know, but the main reason why I stayed away from books like that. I didn't really enjoy TFiOS much. :P But I gotta say, SAY WHAT YOU WILL sounds different... and amazing.

    Amy does sound like a really strong girl, and not in the badass kind of way we see in fiction these days. I mean, her problems are more realistic and more sympathizable with, compared to dystopian worlds and futuristic wars and stuff like that, so I can see why you found her so relatable. Also, I think it would be incredibly eye-opening to see things from her perspective; Cammie is a brilliant author for being able to write that way and actually draw her readers into Amy's mind.

    Also, it's nice to see people getting into a relationship where both persons involved benefit from it, not like those self-destructive and angsty ones I'm starting to see more commonly in contemporaries these days. Now I'm regretting not downloading this from EW when I had the chance. WHY, MEG. Anyways, lovely review as always, Mel! :D

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    1. If you compare it with The fault in our stars, it's only because there are also here two teens with "issues" in their life. The ending is more uplifting ;)

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  26. What a beautiful review! I have yet to read this one but have heard many great things about it and from your insights on it, Say What You Will just sounds exactly like the kind of contemporary book I'd love. I love that the characters are strong, like their relationship! <3

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  27. This sounds so good! This was one I wasn't sure about and it sounds like a very emotional read, but I'll definitely be adding it to my tbr. Thanks for the review!!

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  28. I will read this book! I like this: "It showed me that it’s up to you what you do with your life, even when every day is a struggle." Amy and Matthew sound very inspiring.

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  29. YES! You loved this! I'm so glad to hear that and I'll definitely pick it up to read ASAP since I already have it! Amazing review!

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