Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
The cover’s typography is what drew me to this book. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t even read the summary before I checked this one out of the library, my faith in the typography was that strong. But hey, my instincts turned out to be right! Or perhaps it was just luck. Either way, I feel blessed to have had the privilege to read this book.
A brief summary from the author’s website:
Amy and Matthew didn’t know each other, really. They weren’t friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn’t friends with now. Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful façade, but after he does, Amy realize she needs someone like him in her life.
As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help in the same way he’s helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except what matter most.
Amy has cerebral palsy. This isn’t something that’s made explicitly clear at the start of the novel. Matthew has severe OCD. This also isn’t made explicitly clear. But the way that they help each other is beautiful. Matthew is one of the only people to tell Amy the truth, no matter what, and Amy takes steps to try to help her new friend in any way that she can. Sometimes they fumble – which is realistic. If everything were just perfect, in their lives or in their ever-changing relationship, it would be unbelievable.
I loved both main characters. I loved the way that Cammie McGovern handled both physical disability and mental illness (though I hate those terms, I can’t think of any better ones at the moment). The story is told in third person, which I appreciated after reading so many first-person novels. It is elegantly and movingly told, and while the book did veer towards the dramatic about 3/4 of the way through, in the end my overall impression of Say What You Will was one of incredulity at the sheer power of this story.
5 out of 5 stars.