Thursday, June 18, 2015
Review: Say What You Will
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
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.
This book is beautiful, moving, and if I was the crying type, I sure it would have happened more than once. Amy has, cerebral palsy and Matthew and a pretty severe case of OCD. After Amy writes a paper claiming that she loves her life exactly the way it is, and has no regrets, and considers herself luckier than her classmates despite her CP, Matthew speaks up for the first time stating that he thinks she’s making it up. There’s no way she can know what it’s like navigating friends, relationships, and confidence issues if she’s never been exposed to them. This statement makes Amy think that he’s probably right. She should be exposed to creating relationships with people her own age, something she’s never done before, but will have to do when she leaves for college the next year. Amy convinces her parents to hire student to aid her throughout the school day and introduce her to her peers, as opposed to adults. Although throughout the book, Amy develops relationship with all of her peer helpers, she’s becomes closest to Matthew. Not only does she appreciate that he’s the only person, other than her mother, who’s even told her something that she might not want to hear (being a disabled girl) but she also notices his OCD behavior and likes that for once, she can help someone else, instead of only needing help.
There was a lot of emotion in this book. I've noticed in reviews that most people didn't connect with Matthew, or like him as much as Amy, but I have to say, I had the opposite reaction. My heart broke for the challenges that Amy faced (and I kind of hated her mother, I understood her, but I still hated her) and I feel like she’s a character to look up to. That being said, Amy has had CP for her entire life, she’s had to fight and struggle her entire life, for what she’s obtained, Matthew however, didn't even know he had OCD until Amy pointed it out to him. He knew that was he was different from his peers and that he’d changed somewhere between Middle School and High School, but for the longest time he couldn't see what the problem actually was. I can’t imagine, developing a disorder like that at such a critical time in my life. The thought is almost too much to handle. My heart broke for Amy, but my heart smushed for Matthew. His character development through the book was AMAZING. It was like he was a completely different person, but he knew that he still had a long road ahead of him, and he took active steps to better his future. Snaps to that. It’s hard to do as an adult, let alone as a kid with a disorder that can literally ruin your entire life. I loved him.
That being said, I had a few issues with Amy. I though she was a great character and well written. I can’t being to comprehend what it’s like to have CP but her character was written in a way that help real to me, she had this disorder, but she didn't let it define her. Awesome. Great. There were times though, where I was furious at how she treated Matthew. No he wasn't physically disabled, but he had some very serious mental problems, problems, that Amy knew about. I thought her actions after prom were ridiculous, and I still can’t figure out why it happened. Sanjay lied and told her that Matthew left the prom without her. Up to this point, Amy has been written as a character who steps up and speaks her mind, and she completely shut him out because she was being selfish and childish, you’re 18 and going to an Ivy League school for goodness sake.
Then let’s talk about the sex… Amy decided that it would be a good idea to have sex so that she would know what to do when she was with someone she really cared about. I can’t get behind that. It doesn't make sense. Nope, I don’t get it. I also don’t understand how she could do something that would so clearly hurt Matthew, and then try to defend that decision, she should have been screaming “I’m Sorry” not trying to defend her actions. She liked Matthew, she obviously liked her. He was just as inexperienced as she was, they could have learned together. There should have been little to no pressure here. It was really the only part of the book that made me blanch. I had to kind of force myself to forget about it and move on.
I adored everything else though!