Say What You Will

Say What You Will

4.2 31
by Cammie McGovern
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Amy has cerebral palsy, and has spent the past 17 years with walkers, voice boxes, and adults. She's gone through school at the same pace as her peers but without friends or socializing. When one of her classmates, Matthew, challenges her cheerful facade, Amy realizes she's missed out on developing true peer relationships. So for their senior year, Amy asks her parents to pay classmates to be her companions instead of her usual adult aids. She begs Matthew to apply, and the two embark on a friendship that addresses Amy's limitations, Matthew's own disorder, and all their secrets—all except the one they really need to share. Both teens struggle with their realities and limitations, and a love soon develops between them. The harsh reality of high school social dynamics are authentically portrayed. The main characters are well developed, though secondary characters are little more than background noise. Recommend to fans of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars (Dutton, 2012) and realistic fiction with a love story angle.—Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL
ALA Booklist (starred review)
“Exhilarating and heartrending. With a smart, proud, and capable protagonist eager to take her life by the reins, this novel is stunning.”
Horn Book
“What this book does best is move beyond the typical concerns and stigmas people with disabilities inevitably encounter to present an honest portrayal of the difficulties of growing up faced by these particular characters.”
Family Circle
“Cammie McGovern channels her knowledge and passion for special needs kids in Say What You Will. Like the deservedly best-selling Wonder by R.J. Palacio—required reading for every family—this doesn’t just get you talking, it gets you thinking, feeling and rejoicing”
Hypable
“Cammie McGovern crafts a story that takes a realistic look at people who have disabilities but who are not their disability. This story isn’t about rescuing anyone. It is about setting aside fears, limitations, and appearances, and taking a chance at opening up. Everyone should meet Amy and Matt.”
Examiner.com (Five star review)
“A beautifully written story about two teens who find each other in spite of what might seem like insurmountable problems.”
Hypable.com
“Cammie McGovern crafts a story that takes a realistic look at people who have disabilities but who are not their disability. This story isn’t about rescuing anyone. It is about setting aside fears, limitations, and appearances, and taking a chance at opening up. Everyone should meet Amy and Matt.”
Metro US
“It’s a little bit ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ a little bit ‘Eleanor & Park’ and a lot of something else entirely. A young adult book with grown-up lessons.”
Teen Vogue
“A unique an unforgettable love.”
Ron Koertge
“In Cammie McGovern’s debut novel Say What You Will, Amy and Matthew will break your heart and then with their resiliency and wit and ardor put it back together. This is a book to read, savor, and pass on and on until it has gone around the world twice.”
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Amy Van Dorn is getting ready to enter her senior year of high school and she is concerned about not having enough friends. Sounds like a common enough problem; although, her classmates might be a bit more worried about where they will get into college, which is definitely NOT a concern for Amy. However, Amy’s worries are anything but ordinary since she was born prematurely and, due to an aneurism, has cerebral palsy. She can get around with a walker, but has full control of only one side of her body, and cannot speak without the aid of a computerized device. When classmate Matthew reacts in a negative way to an optimistic essay written by Amy, he tells her in no uncertain terms that her life is not as good as she is trying to pretend. Amy is shocked and then relieved to hear someone finally speak up to her so truthfully. She persuades her mother to let her use students as her “helpers” during the day rather than trained (adult) paraprofessionals—and she insists that she wants Matthew to be one of them. It turns out that Matthew has some disabilities of his own, perhaps not as obvious as Amy’s, and Amy becomes the impetus for his finally acknowledging his OCD. Amy falls in love with Matthew and the feeling is reciprocated, except they never tell each other. Then, after a wonderful summer together when they keep growing closer, some serious misunderstandings in combination with Matthew’s fears seem to push them irretrievably apart. Amy struggles at Stanford, feeling more isolated than ever; while, Matthew is working at home to build a life as he gets his OCD under control. Then Amy leaves school and comes home pregnant. This is a typical coming of age novel in many ways and yet not typical due to the nature of the two protagonists’ disabilities. It is that combination that should give this novel a special place in young adult literature, helping to normalize the issues faced by teens, even when they are not seen as normal by their peers. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.; Ages 14 up.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Amanda MacGregor
High school senior Amy always maintains a façade of cheerfulness despite her isolation from her classmates. Amy has cerebral palsy, speaks using a computer, and only counts her aides and teachers as friends. She convinces her mother to hire peers to be her aides at school, hoping it will help her meet people. The helper she most connects with is Matthew, the only person brave enough to speak honestly to her (he thinks her constant positivity is an act). After spending some time together, Amy realizes that Matthew has undiagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder and begins forcing him to go outside his comfort zone. Though their relationship grows increasingly complicated, their bond is genuine, and Matthew finds himself having to support Amy in a way he never could have predicted after he learns about a big secret she has been keeping while at Stanford. Though the writing is solid, the plot is overfilled and often lacks believability. Amy and Matthew rarely come across as dynamic characters defined in ways beyond their medical diagnoses. The depiction of Amy sometimes defaults to a clichéd “inspirational cripple” trope; however, her many (large) missteps spare her from feeling one-dimensional. The back of the book compares this novel to those of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, which will help this unlikely love story about two outsiders draw a wide audience, but readers may have a hard time sticking with the uneven story in this unfulfilling look at challenging oneself and coping with limitations. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor; Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-09
Crushes, missteps and genuine loyalty on the road to deep friendship.As she enters her senior year of high school, Amy—hemiplegic due to an aneurism following her premature birth and near the top of her class—uses her augmentative and assistive communication device to argue successfully that she needs peer helpers in school rather than adult aides. Her mother, Nicole, is dubious, but Amy knows which buttons to push: "If I'm going to go to college, I need to practice relating to people my own age." Amy particularly wants to work with Matthew, whose unvarnished honesty fascinates her. Unlike her awkward relationships with her other peer helpers, Amy develops a real friendship with Matthew immediately. Due to their frank conversation and Amy's quick discovery of Matthew's OCD, their relationship is balanced and reciprocal, though their growing mutual affection goes largely unaddressed. Unlike its most obvious read-alike, The Fault in Our Stars, this is not a tragic romance: Amy and Matthew's relationship is messy, fraught and tantalizing, but it's not threatened with imminent death. McGovern's triumph is how well she normalizes and highlights the variety of disability experiences among teens and their often circuitous journeys toward claiming their voices and right to self-determination. It's slightly overplotted and occasionally heavy-handed, but it's easy to forgive these flaws.Ultimately, a deeply engaging and rewarding story. (Romance. 14-17)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062271129
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/03/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
192,375
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Cammie McGovern is the author of Say What You Will as well as the adult novels Neighborhood Watch, Eye Contact, and The Art of Seeing. Cammie is also one of the founders of Whole Children, a resource center that runs after-school classes and programs for children with special needs. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children.

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Say What You Will 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 30 reviews.
jenniferstrand More than 1 year ago
You know how people say that reading a book changed their life? Yeah, that happened to me before I even finished reading this breathtakingly beautiful book by Cammie McGovern. See, SAY WHAT YOU WILL is a story about characters that are nothing like me. We're talking about two characters that are pushing through life with disabilities that are not only misunderstood by much of the general population, but often ignored because of that ignorance. Present company included here, guys. That's changing. Heck, the change started last night with the smile and "Hello!" I gave to that young man roaming the aisles of the pharmacy in the wheelchair that was powered by his own breath. It might not be much, but it's a start and if I'm being completely honest with you, more than I have done in the past. It's easy to feel like you may have nothing in common with someone with cerebral palsy or OCD. But here's the newsflash, folks: YOU DO. This story will make you see that. No, I take that back. This story will make you FEEL that. Being a teenager is hard for EVERYONE. Amy and Matt's story is not centered around disability-centric problems. Their disabilities are not the point to their story. Sure, it ties into the story but it is not THE story. They're struggling with the same things able bodied teenagers struggle with; love, friendship, parents and learning to become an independent adult. We're talking about problems that teenagers experience almost universally. This is why I love this book as much as I do. It focuses on problems each and everyone of us can relate to. That's powerful! I love sharing books with my teenage daughter, Olivia. She popped into my bedroom as I was finishing up this book and asked what it was about. I started with the synopsis, but ended up giving her a 20 minute play-by-play. She told me about a boy named Josh in her homeroom who has cerebral palsy. You know what else she told me? Josh loves legos, he wants to be a game designer when he grows up and you have to be patient while talking with him because it takes him a while to respond. I almost cried. My daughter (and her entire class--it's not just her) has taken the time to get to know the person inside the body that acts differently than their own. This proves to me that teenagers are MUCH smarter than us adults when it comes to empathy. We should learn from them. And continue to read books about characters that are different from ourselves.
SezjbSB More than 1 year ago
Say What You Will is a young adult contemporary romance unlike any I've ever read, exceptionally written with very detailed descriptions of Amy and Matthew's disability/disorder, it gives you a look into how people inflicted with both Cerebral Palsy and OCD deal or not deal with their conditions. The stroke of genius in this story is the fact that Cammie thought of putting these two characters who both have their own challenges together, both friendless they find in each other what they both needed all along, to be accepted for who they are and to help each other to have as normal a life as possible. For Amy growing up with Cerebral Palsy, having to use a voice box to talk and a walker to get around, she has never had any friends whatsoever, not helped by the fact that all of her helpers have been adults, but this year being her final year of high school she is getting peer aides, people her own age to help her at school, one of those is Matt who has a steadily worsening case of OCD, with Amy's help he starts to get it under control as these two start to discover their feelings for one another run much deeper than just friends. I adored these two characters, put together with this amazing story to form one of my favorite YA romances of all time. I look forward to reading whatever Cammie releases next, I love her writing style and ability to tell a story that will definitely tug at the heart strings and leave you with a smile on your face. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a pretty fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book, felt every single emotion from both characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it ! This book changed my view of things and I consider it one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful, and touching story, with no sugar coating, or no heroes, no saviors, no villains, just truth. Two people with true hearts, real problems and human emotion make this story so engaging. really well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like how it's honest and you can see the honest opinions of each character,though they are honest they don't say what they are truly thinking-as the cover explains-still the unbearably incredible book.is filled with everyday problems that some people don't experience yet it's nice to get a look inside that world,and how romantically touching it is. -hope you all enjoy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much??????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall, this is a nice, cute story. Great if you're looking for a quick read. I admire the author's attempt to write about protagansts with both physical and mental handicaps. The concept behind the book held so much potential. However, it was executed poorly. The book reads like fanfiction. The important issues brought up are blurred by a traditional, dysfunctional, teenage love story. I understand this a work of fiction; but I'd be lying if I didn't I was disappointed with results of Matthew and Amy's relationship. Their struggles, although different, created a bond between them. It was cute to witness, but unrealistic. I enjoyed the book, I did. I suppose, I was just expecting more than a traditonal love story/triangle/sex thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was ok. I would have liked to know what happened. Did they make it. After everthing they both went through i just felt they should have ended the story better then that. I felt disappointed. Over all it was a good read.
valercrazy More than 1 year ago
This book is described as The Fault in our Stars meets Eleanor and Park, I’d say that sums it up. I haven’t read TFIOS yet, it’s on my TBR list, and I didn’t particularly like E&P (I love Fangirl and Rainbow Rowell, just not that particular book) but I did like this book. I hope that I haven’t scared anyone off yet by my opinions. Here we go.  Amy is blunt and clever while Matt is shy and reserved, the stark differences are part of what compels the reader along. You learn that Amy has cerebral palsy and Matthew has obsessive compulsive disorder; the entire book shows the differences of an obvious disability versus a less obvious disability. They are different in almost every way, Amy has always been helped while Matthew has always helped, Amy is fearless while Matthew is scared of everything, and the external disability versus the internal disability. These two people, who come from completely opposite worlds somehow come together and establish a beautiful honesty and trust that neither of them has ever experienced before. They helped each other grow in unexpected and wonderful ways.  The book is told through both viewpoints which I enjoyed because there was actually a purpose for it, so many authors just write through varying POVs but it doesn’t add to the book. Through the dual viewpoints, the reader gets to actually learn about the disabilities that they both have and how it affects their thoughts and actions. I enjoyed this book because I got to learn so much about CP and OCD in an interesting way.   This book had fantastic writing, Cammie McGovern is a beast when it comes to writing compelling stories; I wrote down so many quotes because they were just so beautifully written. I felt like a cat passive aggressively following around a toy on a string, I was pulled along by this story for the first two-thirds but it seemed to drag on after that. It honestly reminded me of Elphaba and Glinda’s relationship; they grew and became better people from the experience. Overall, I enjoyed the book and it taught me a lot. To end I’ll quote Wicked: “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It had a great flow of characters and plot. The way the characters evolved throughiut the book had skill tgat only an experienced writer could do. It was hard to relate to the cahracters becaude theyre so different firm mw with theyre disabilities, but they still seem real. Anither thing i liked was the changing point if view. Even though it ws all in third person every section ir chapger had a changing perspective. I would reccomend thus book to anyone who llikes a different kind of love story.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I'll admit that the first reason I decided to read this book was because of the comparison to The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park, two books that I enjoyed immensely. Does this book remind me of either of those stories? Not really. I do believe fans of those books will likely enjoy Say What You Will, but that's about it. Just don't do what I did, decide to read this book because they were mentioned. It left me feeling somewhat disappointed. Amy's cerebral palsy and Matthew's OCD didn't play into my decision to read this book at all. As someone very familiar with cerebral palsy and OCD, I couldn't see these two characters as anything other than normal people. They weren't, and shouldn't be, their disabilities. In a way, I think my inability to see them as people with disabilities took away from my enjoyment of the book. In other words, I feel like I would have received the exact same amount of enjoyment had this book been about two people without CP and OCD. All in all, Say What You Will was a nice book. I thoroughly enjoyed Amy and Matthew's friendship. It was incredibly sweet. I was a bit surprised at the twist thrown into the story, but not in a negative way. The biggest fault is the somewhat abrupt ending. I had no idea I was even near the ending until I turned the page and bam... acknowledgments! Oh well. You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
Words are not adequate to express how I feel after finishing Say What You Will. But, as a writer, I feel like I should at least try. Just saying I loved it feels inadequate. I savored this book, taking my time. Not because it was difficult to get through, but because I didn’t want it to end. I haven’t done that with a book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book is billed as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park, but it’s so much more than that. It’s both of those and it’s neither. Cammie McGovern’s voice is unique, and beautiful, and her writing makes me feel. I both laughed and cried, something I rarely do while reading. The storyline is utterly unique and almost as quirky as the characters that fill the pages. It is a surprisingly realistic, emotional, stunning tale of love, friendship, and the rewards and consequences of taking control of your own life. A true coming of age story with an extraordinary twist. Plot The plot is amazing, ebbing and flowing, never losing touch with where it’s going or why. Told from alternating points of view, we follow Amy and Matthew from the beginning of their senior year of high school through their first year post graduation. We watch them grow, change, make mistakes, learn from them, and make so many more, but we never stop rooting for them. As both Amy and Matthew struggle to not be defined by their limitations – Amy’s physical and Matthew’s emotional – they realize that together they’re something more than who they’ve always believed themselves to be. Both better and worse. There were surprises, things I never saw coming, some delighted me, some were difficult to read, but everything felt like it belonged, like it was all a part of this amazing journey. Characters I know they’re not real, but I feel like I’m a better person for knowing Amy and Matthew and that’s saying a lot about fictional characters. I’ll never look at another physically or emotionally challenged person the same way again. The author has crafted such authentic characters that I had to constantly remind myself they only exist in the minds of the author and her readers. Cammie McGovern has sculpted beautifully flawed individuals who are only more beautiful because of their imperfections. And I’m not talking about Amy’s cerebral palsy or Matthew’s OCD, but the very human aspects that pull them off the page and turn them into three dimensional, thinking, feeling, less than perfect humans that we want to spend time with, laugh with, just be with. Bottom Line This story has something for everyone. It is a young adult/new adult story, but it has so much more to offer that I want to tell everyone I know to read it. I feel like I need more than five stars. Five stars is exceptional. What is above that? Quite simply, Say What You Will is the best book of any genre I’ve read in a long time. Disclaimer I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You would never expect to feel so close to a set of characters. Beautifully written and it explains what Matthew and Amy are both going through. Loved it and read it in a day and a half. Just amazing.
cindygerb11 More than 1 year ago
This book is just absolutely stunning. What a unique love story! 
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
I'm at a bit of a loss with this book. I kept putting off reading it because I was afraid it would make me an emotional mess. But really, the opposite was true. It didn't make me feel much of anything, except slightly uncomfortable because of the unflinchingly honest way it addressed everything. Maybe that was the goal, I'm not sure. It made me think and I really believe I'm still processing everything I read, but if I'm honest, it let me down a little. The blurb compares it to John Green and Rainbow Rowell's books, and with all due respect, I have to disagree. Some of the themes might have been similar, but I never fail to FEEL when reading books written by John or Rainbow. I just didn't get that with Say What You Will.  There's not a whole lot of diversity in YA fiction right now – and if you've seen the social media campaigns, it is being addressed and people are quite vocal. Say What You Will offered diverse characters and that was one of the best things about it. Not only are the characters diverse, they're complicated. Amy has cerebral palsy. Matthew has an anxiety disorder. They were both lovely characters. But because the book was written in third person, I missed the connection to them. I wanted in their heads. Amy was smart and funny and blunt. Matthew was sweet and thoughtful and caring. I feel like I missed out on some of the best part of these characters and their growing friendship (and more) by reading it in third person.  The pace of Say What You Will was slow, but I don't think that was a bad thing. I enjoyed the way Amy and Matthew's friendship, and the other more complicated feelings, developed. It seemed realistic. It was endearing to watch how they helped each other and how they learned each was more than what they appeared on the outside. I never felt like sitting the book down until the point where the thing happened at the 77% mark that I just couldn't wrap my head around. I'm sorry, it was a little too farfetched for me and it felt really forced. That's the only time the book almost lost me, but I wasn't giving up then. I had to know how the story ended. The ending? A little too vague for my liking, but since I wasn't wholly invested in the characters, I found it difficult to be too mad about it.  Overall, Say What You Will was a beautifully written, if understated, book. In all honesty, it's more of a 3.5 stars, but I don't give halves and I just can't round it up to 4 stars. The characters were charming and their struggles were believable, but I never fully connected to them because of the third person point of view. I felt more like an observer than someone who was living it with them. I would recommend this book because I think it delivers an important message about looking beyond the outward appearance to find the real person below. I think teens and no-longer teens alike will take something away from this book.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. 
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'Say What You Will' is a heartbreakingly honest look at the life of two teens who are disabled in their own ways - and how they come to realize how much they needed one another without knowing it. The two main characters in the story - Amy, who has cerebral palsy - and Matthew, who has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) are both incredibly realistic in all their aspects - both good and bad. We get to see these two teens for who they are - their personalities, likes and dislikes, fears, frustrations, and how they live with their respective illnesses. I loved the honesty that the author wrote with - with both the characters, the illnesses and how it effects those with the disease and those around them, and basically teenage life in general. She shows us that just because these two are diagnosed with illnesses, they aren't very different at all from the regular teenager. The writing was beautifully done - especially the characters and their growing relationship with each other. I loved how we got to know both Amy and Matthew for their true selves and then we got to watch how their lives become entwined. This book is a definite emotional roller coaster - there were points that were funny, some that were sobering, and some that had me crying hysterically. I found it easy to slip into the world the author created within the first few paragraphs, and I didn't stop reading until I was finished - and then even after that, because it kept me thinking and feeling for quite some time afterwords. I thought the plot was original, if not completely unique, and written with a natural flow and easy pace. It seems that more and more YA contemporary books are revolving around characters who are sick in some way, but the the depth of the characters and the interesting story line made this one original and fresh. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I'll just say that you should prepare yourself before reading this one. As I mentioned, it took me on a ride - from laughing to crying and everything in between. Definitely recommended for fans of the genre as well as those looking for an honest and emotional young adult novel. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gripped me when I began reading the sample, and of course I had to buy it. Not once did I get bored and I never wanted to stop reading. I fell in love with Amy and Matthew, their struggles, their fears, and their differences. This is a lovely book that I enjoyed very much. If you want to read a book that will mean something and touch you, this is it.