Book Review | Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

say what you will

Title:  Say What You Will
Author:  Cammie McGovern
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

I randomly picked this one up for my Kindle as I was browsing the Kindle deals one day. I thought the cover was pleasant and it has a main character with special needs. I couldn’t pass this one up!

Premise: 5/5

Here’s a brief overview, courtesy of Goodreads (because I couldn’t do it justice if I tried):

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.

I was a little leery at first about Matthew’s OCD, but it ended up being written pretty well.  This “back cover” teaser describes the book adequately. I was extremely interested in the dynamic that would form between Amy and Matthew and I was not disappointed. As a special education teacher, I would probably recommend this book to teenage students based on the premise alone.

Plot Development: 4/5

In my opinion, Cammie McGovern has done an excellent job at portraying students with special needs.  Amy wasn’t portrayed as perfect despite her disability; she was still a naïve teenager who didn’t think about the consequences of her actions.  The other characters were self-centered as typical teenagers.  They were all seemingly real teenagers, unlike the teenagers in John Green novels. Don’t get me wrong. I like John Green’s novels, but I have to read them with a specific suspension of disbelief.  Teenagers don’t think in flowery prose and metaphors. In Say What You Will, the teenagers seemed much more real.

My only complaint about the plot development is the pacing.  This book spans over Amy and Matthew’s senior year as well as their first year after high school.  Some parts of this timeline were slow and drawn out.  Other periods of time were merely glossed over and explained within a few pages. I found myself left wanting more during these parts of the novel.

Characterization: 3/5

There wasn’t a whole lot of character development, in my opinion.  The characters pretty much stayed the same throughout the entire novel.  Matthew showed some slight growth when it came to his OCD.  You could say he showed some growth and maturation in a specific situation I’m not going to reveal, but even that wasn’t really all that out of character for him.  I would have definitely liked to see a lot more growth among the characters.

Writing Style: 5/5

This goes along with my John Green comments earlier.  I liked the writing style.  It didn’t seem too intelligent for a teenager’s point of view.  I think she hit the nail on the head with this one.

Readability: 4/5

This book is written in language appropriate for its intended audience.  The book is generally for teenagers and the characters sound like teenagers.  As the premise states, Amy does not speak without the use of a voice box.  My only complaint about the readability of the novel is regarding Amy’s dialogue.  I wish a different font had been used for her speaking parts instead OF USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Her computer may have been loud, but even when she’s “whispering,” the dialogue is in all capital letters, which sounds like yelling in my head. But that’s just me personally.

Total Score: 21/25, avg. 4.2/5

I give this novel a four out of five stars.  I loved this novel, even though it had a few flaws.  I would recommend this book to teenagers of all abilities.  There are lessons to be learned for everyone.

4 stars

Click here to view/purchase Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern at The Book Depository!


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5 thoughts on “Book Review | Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

  1. I read this book last year with high expectations, but didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I can’t put my finger on what it was. But I agree with your review. There was nothing wrong with it in my opinion, it just wasn’t for me. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I agree that there was just something a tad off about it, but I can’t explain what it was! The only thing I can think of is that I didn’t like that Amy started to “help” Matthew without first getting his consent. That bothered me so much that I was mad at her for a large chunk of the book!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That really bothered me too. I understand that she was trying to “help”. But that’s really something better left to a mental health professional. I feel like Amy was just a little too naive. For someone as smart as her you would think she would have a little more common sense.

        Liked by 1 person

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