Say What You Will
by McGovern, Cammie

"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 thrustinto 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"-

*Starred Review* It isn't that words fail Amy: she has plenty to tell, and her wry and witty mind is unaffected by her cerebral palsy. Her speech, though, is incomprehensible, so a talking computer speaks for her. To move in her body, she requires a walker and a helper to assist her between classes. But she is fiercely independent, and for her senior year, she has decided that students her own age will be her school aides. Maybe that will help with the one area she has struggled to master her whole life-making real friends-as she prepares to transition to college. Matthew, stunted and isolated by his obsessive-compulsive disorder, signs on to assist Amy and inadvertently embarks on a self-improvement project that she passionately encourages. As they lean on each other and their relationship deepens, even as they each inch toward independence, Amy and Matthew test the boundaries of their self-determination and their friendship, much to the disappointment of Amy's worried mother. Exhilarating and heartrending, McGovern's YA debut has a similar odd-couple camaraderie as Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park (2013) and the raw exploration of disability in R. J. Palacio's Wonder (2012). With a smart, proud, and capable protagonist eager to take her life by the reins, this novel is stunning. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Crushes, missteps and genuine loyalty on the road to deep friendship.As she enters her senior year of high school, Amy—hemiplegic due to an aneurism following her premature birth and near the top of her class—uses her augmentative and assistive communication device to argue successfully that she needs peer helpers in school rather than adult aides. Her mother, Nicole, is dubious, but Amy knows which buttons to push: "If I'm going to go to college, I need to practice relating to people my own age." Amy particularly wants to work with Matthew, whose unvarnished honesty fascinates her. Unlike her awkward relationships with her other peer helpers, Amy develops a real friendship with Matthew immediately. Due to their frank conversation and Amy's quick discovery of Matthew's OCD, their relationship is balanced and reciprocal, though their growing mutual affection goes largely unaddressed. Unlike its most obvious read-alike, The Fault in Our Stars, this is not a tragic romance: Amy and Matthew's relationship is messy, fraught and tantalizing, but it's not threatened with imminent death. McGovern's triumph is how well she normalizes and highlights the variety of disability experiences among teens and their often circuitous journeys toward claiming their voices and right to self-determination. It's slightly overplotted and occasionally heavy-handed, but it's easy to forgive these flaws.Ultimately, a deeply engaging and rewarding story. (Romance. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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