Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Genre: Romance, Realistic, YA fiction
Premise: This is a book about Amy a girl with cerebral palsy. (I think. They never made that really…definite.) And a boy named Matthew with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Not just the personality disorder OCD. He has the yearning to clean and be cleaned because he’s afraid he’ll hurt someone. (I’ll explain the difference in a later section. I like clinical psychology, so I know enough about OCD.) Their story starts with Matthew being asked by Amy to be her aide for her last year of high school. He, surprisingly, accepts. From there, they form an unbreakable bond. Friendship and love.
Plot: The plot isn’t bad. The beginning was annoying to say the least, but, after that, it picks up.
The chats and the emails aren’t my favorite. There are better ways to do those. Of course, I don’t like books that have chats or emails unless it’s based off an online idea. This isn’t an only idea. Sure, the emails helped see Amy’s point of view when she was at college, but I felt like they were pointless otherwise.
The plot is mostly friendship at first. Amy getting used to Matthew and likewise. After they realize they can be good friends, they dive into that idea. They experience a few bumps in the road. Matthew is forced into therapy with Amy by Amy. He has to go through tasks that set off panic attacks and make him want to clean. He ends up finally going to a therapist Beth. Amy, though, goes through the process of falling in love. With Matthew. Time passes. And prom arrives. At prom, Matthew and Amy go together. They have a tedious car ride with Matthew as the driver. They get there, and Matthew has to wash his hands. Over and over and over. Amy is left alone, but that doesn’t matter since her walker is full of booze. People keep coming around and getting booze from her. Sarah who is Sanjay’s date cries and is comforted by Matthew. They end up going home together. And Amy is left to go home with Sanjay who ends up having sex with her. Time passes, and Matthew and Amy separate after a terrible fight/day on the day before Amy has to leave for Stanford. She ends up hating the place while Matthew ‘thrives’ at his job. Amy comes home after she discovers she’s pregnant, and the two finally reconcile. But. The pregnancy looms over them with Amy finally giving birth to a tiny, three-pound baby named Taylor. And Taylor is sent away for adoption. Amy decides to go back to school, and she does so, tearing Matthew to pieces and leaving him behind. She, by she I mean Amy, ends up being a play writer. The two come back together and meet at Amy’s first play.
And we are left with a cliffhanger at what they do come the summer. I hope they end up together. It’s one of those rare times where I wish the couple end up together. Not because of chemistry. It’s because of how they seem to compliment each other.
Character Development: I do think there could have been more Sarah, Sanjay, and Chloe. I understand that they are supporting characters, but they all played very small parts. Except when Amy leaves Stanford.
Amy. Amy is one of those characters you want to smile and tell them that they’re strong. They’re the characters you admire for their strength and determination to survive. She is a spunky character who is smart. She has cerebral palsy, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She wants to be normal, and, I think, wanting to be normal makes you, in a way, normal. Of course, her feelings for Matthew irk me. I am not one of those romance readers who gush over couples. I’m an action one, but there are many romance stand-alones and not many action or dystopian stand-alones.
Matthew. This character, I feel, is one of the best characters in this book. I feel like the fact that he has OCD makes him real. I can almost hear his demons whispering in his ear. I was shocked, to say the least, about him being someone with a psychological disorder. I didn’t expect it. Yet…it wasn’t a bad surprise. I don’t exactly mind when books introduce things like suicide or psychological disorders. Society doesn’t know enough about those things. I don’t entirely like his character, but I appreciate Cammie McGovern making OCD part of him. And I’m proud that he ends up going to therapy. I know he’ll get better. Especially with Amy’s help.
Now, here is the difference between obsessive-compulsive disorder and OCD in the personality disorder context. In the personality disorder complex, the disorder is going having the impulse to clean and organize. The non-personality disorder one is where you just have impulses to do certain things. Matthew’s would be locker tapping and washing his hands. Not touching money. Cleaning. He has both of them really.
Problems: To me, there weren’t many problems. There is a problem with the sex. I’m not one of those people who like books where the romance ends up with sex. Even if it isn’t between the couple, I still hate it. Sex and romance don’t go hand in hand.
Another problem? I didn’t feel as if the beginning was that catching. If I wasn’t someone who read all the books she marked to-read all the way through, I might have dropped it. I felt as if the emails were boring.
And I dislike how it jumped back in time and gave you a recap. Those are good when you have a television show, but they aren’t as good with books. I rather jump into the action or jump into the narrator’s thoughts. I used to write in the latter. I try not to do that as much, though.
Good points: I feel like I’m in the minority for this book. I do think this book is pretty good. Why? Here are my reasons.
The real problems for one. The cerebral palsy and the OCD. I felt like Matthew’s OCD is actually more real in this book than in other books. Sometimes, adding in real problems doesn’t work. In this book, it does.
Another good thing? Matthew and Amy were friends first. I feel like books just jump into romance. It usually isn’t friendship first. Or enemies first. I feel like friendship and family are left out of realistic books unless those are the main concepts. I do think dystopian books get more family. (‘The 5th Wave’ and ‘Angelfall’ for example.) If you ask me, I look for friendship and action. And maybe romance. Romance isn’t usually something I actively look for. Nor is sex. I don’t really like reading those things. It makes me uncomfortable, as someone who doesn’t believe in love.
This book, though, introduces it slowly. Which is good really.
You know, this is one of those books where I find a song that fits it perfectly. The song is ‘Say Something’. I can’t remember who sang it exactly, but I remember the chorus. Or enough of it. Below is what I can remember at the moment.
‘Say something, I’m giving up on you.’
Yeah. That song. It fits this book quite perfectly. It’s irony since Amy can’t talk. It’s quite interesting, but the two do give up on each other when Amy goes off to college. They try to connect but fail in the end.
Recommended: If you like romance and contemporary. If you like contemporary with more real life problems. (Contemporary and realistic are the same thing to me. I apologize if there is a difference.)