I have a number of reactions to report with this review of SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern.
1) I discovered it while browsing the new releases at the bookstore. Really glad I selected it!
2) As I read it, I was pleasantly surprised to identify it as a romance that might appeal to some guy readers.
3) Although I was usually one jump ahead in the plot, there were still enough twists to keep me up all night turning pages.
Amy, a victim of cerebral palsy (CP), is headed into her senior year of high school. She walks with the aid of a walker and speaks with the help of a computerized device called a Pathway. Through the years she has had adult aides to help her get to classes and deal with the physical requirements of her condition. She was used to eating her "special" lunch in a staff lunchroom and having the ever present adult act as a go-between to communicate with students and staff. Amy may have needed individualized assistance for some things but not with her classwork. Amy found schoolwork a breeze, and as a result, her mother was busy planning her final year of high school and the application process for all the colleges she hoped her daughter could attend.
For her final year in high school, Amy had one request. She was tired of spending the majority of her time with adults. It was clear to her that her fellow students were not inspired toward friendship due to the constant presence of her "teacherlike" helpers. Amy worked long and hard to convince her parents that she wanted to have peer helpers for her senior year. She made her case successfully, and through an application and interview process, her mother selected four of Amy's fellow classmates to act as her helpers and hopefully her new friends.
Chloe, Sarah, Sanjay, and Matthew were the chosen four. Helping Amy would be a paid position and also count toward community service credit for the year. As the experiment started, Amy found Matthew to be the strangest fit. The other three went about their tasks willingly, but sometimes left Amy behind making it seem like they viewed the companionship as merely a job. Matthew was attentive, and Amy quickly decided he had the potential to be a real friend and maybe more, but his own odd tics and behavior had her convinced that he had serious problems of his own.
Readers of SAY WHAT YOU WILL receive story insight from both Amy and Matthew as the POV's of both characters are strongly present. Amy is dealing with her physical disabilities and her domineering mother, while Matthew quietly suffers with OCD tendencies that have increased in recent years since his parents' divorce and his mother's decline into depression. Having the balance of Matthew's voice alongside Amy's is what may make this a successful read for both male and female teens. I will definitely be book talking it with that in mind.
This is the first YA effort for author Cammie McGovern. A must read as far as I'm concerned, and I am eager to see what she has to offer next.
Also posted at http://readingjunky.blogspot.com