Say What You Will (Review)

Say What You Will
By: Cammie McGovern

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.

Before I even knew what Say What You Will was about I wanted to read it. It was strictly cover love, but even when I found out, I still wanted to read it because it sounded like an interesting story.

I can honestly say that I've never read a story like Say What You Will. It was different and it was thought provoking. I've read a review that said it was "soap opera-esque" and I can see that, but it didn't feel like that to me. Intellectually it was very stimulating and it just made me think and re-evaluate things. 

Amy is trapped by her body. She's very intelligent but because of an event that happened when she was a child, she can talk or really control her body. Growing up she always had an aide to help her around so it wasn't it problem, but it also isolated her from her peers. When Matthew confronts her and challenges her outlook on life, it forces Amy to reevaluate. Her family then hires peer aides to help her around, but to also help her interact with people her own age. 

At the same time, Matthew is also trapped by his body. Except in a very different way. He has OCD but he refuses to acknowledge it. During their senior year, Matthew becomes more than an peer aide, he becomes a friend (and possibly more). 

I loved how Amy in this novel was more than her illness. Sure she couldn't talk or couldn't control her own body, but she was still alive and still human. It reminded of this disability awareness performance that I once went to. It reminded me that people with disabilities live a drastically different life, not because of their disability but because of the able-bodied people that occupy their space.

This was evident in Say What You Will. Amy was constantly trying to navigate her way and trying to figure what she could and couldn't do. What I realized was that she could do almost anything everyone else could do, she just had to do it differently.  

What was also interesting was the way that Matthew, with his fully functional body, was also "handicapped". His OCD limited the way that he lived. But then again, like Amy, he was still able to live his life, after he got treatment. 

That's what I love about this novel. It challenges "normal" but not in a big obvious way. It's more subtle than that, and it definitely makes you think a lot. Or at least, it did for me. 

e-ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss. 


  1. I think I've also heard someone say it was overly dramatic, so I'm glad it worked for you because I still want to give this one a try. I do enjoy subtlety, and I like that Say What You Will can be the sort of story that can make you think and redefine normal. Great review!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. I wouldn't call it overly dramatic. I think that you meet all the characters when they're going through tough times in their lives. Some of which on a larger scale, may seem dramatic, but I know when you're going through it, it doesn't seem like it.

  2. I haven't heard of this one before, but it certainly sounds like a great book. I'll have to add it to my TBR list.

    1. It's pretty good, I know I haven't read anything like it before.

  3. I am so glad to see you enjoyed this one, Aly!! :)

    I did feel like this one was very soap-opera like, especially with the few turns that took place near the end but I really did enjoy this one too and loved seeing the character develop and undergo this journey as they tried to discover themselves AND as they learned more about one another. Their friendship was so SWEET! Although I wish they both hadn't danced around the relationship aspect so much :P

    Lovely review, Aly!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

    1. Yeah. It really got soap-opera-y at the end, but I felt like it just the plot not the tone. It didn't seem over the top to me. And I wished they hadn't danced the relationship either.


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