Book Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

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I received this book for free from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovernSay What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Published by Harper Collins on 2014-06-03
Genres: Diversity, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
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John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

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 went in to this book really excited about it but just could not connect to the characters. I put the book down after about 15% for several weeks. When I finally went back to it, I powered through and finished it. I was definitely more into the book the second time but I still did not feel much for either of the main characters. I did appreciate the overall themes of acceptance and not judging people before knowing them, but I just wasn’t a fan of the execution.

I think the biggest problem I had in terms of connecting with the characters was that this book is told in 3rd person. It’s a fine way to tell a story and I’ve read some that I’ve really loved, but the best way for me to feel like I really understand the character and be emotionally connected to them, is to let the characters tell the stories themselves. Especially, for me at least, with a character driven contemporary, a connection is necessary to truly care about what happens in the book. Otherwise, you’re just trying to get through it and that’s not good for anyone.

Another problem I had with the book was that it was a bit too long. 350 pages isn’t actually a long book but I could have done without the last third, really. There was one event that I just found unnecessary to the overall story and wish it hadn’t been in there. I can understand why it was put in, I just feel like there had been so much back and forth with the characters already, I didn’t want to have to go through it again. It was like that saying, “Two steps forward, one step back.” But over and over and over again. I was just done. I wanted the characters to be honest about their feelings and figure out what they wanted. And I wish it could have happened without that one plot point towards the end, but it didn’t. I feel like that part was almost put in just for the purpose of adding more drama but didn’t really fell like it fit with the rest of the book. I did really like the end and was glad to have a bit of hope thrown into the book. I think the characters at least deserved that. I just think it could have been done, and done better, in a shorter book.

I will say that I very much liked the representation of the disabilities in this book. I have no experience with cerebral palsy or OCD but I liked that Amy was dealing with her physical disabilities alongside Matthew who was dealing with his mental disabilities. I liked that I sometimes forgot that they had these challenges and felt like any other teenager dealing with high school and popularity and stuff. I also liked the way the characters challenged each other. I love the way Matthew accepted Amy and her body and helped her but didn’t let her get away with things or pity her. I liked how Amy tried to help Matthew overcome his disease, though I did find her a little pushy and harsh sometimes. I liked the honesty in this book and the idea of acceptance shown in the end. I liked the way it all came together in the final scenes and finished with a feeling of hope.

Overall, for me, this book was just okay. I would not describe it all as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park. Just because it’s a YA contemporary romance does not mean it equals those two books. It was almost more like Side Effects May Vary in the way that I didn’t completely love the characters and how their relationship goes back and forth between friendship and being in love and arguing with each other. I wish it had been a little bit shorter without the big surprise twist. But I also think this will be a book that a lot of people like. If you were a fan of Side Effects May Vary, I would recommend this one to you as well.


Fall Movie Previews!

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The beginning of summer was so crazy that I somehow forgot to do a summer movie preview post! I can’t believe it! It turns out, I only ended up seeing two movies this summer! While I don’t usually see a lot of movies in the theaters because of babysitting and cost and time and stuff, I usually get out to a few more summer movies. I’m so ashamed! I didn’t see Guardians of the Galaxy, The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver or If I Stay. I’m going to have a lot of DVDs to catch up with this fall. And that’s okay! At least I’ll be able to cry in the privacy of my home. Though, hopefully, I won’t have to cry during Guardians of the Galaxy.

Hopefully I won’t miss out on some of the movies coming out this fall! Because there are some big ones! And I won’t even pretend that you guys forgot Mockingjay Part 1 was coming out. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE! I WILL see that one in the theaters. And I will cry. I did not expect to cry at Catching Fire, but I did. And that’s okay. But as excited as I am for Mockingjay, it’s not the only movie coming out this fall. Here are some other movies that I’m looking forward to and that seem interesting.

September 19

The Maze Runner!!! I’m actually really excited for this movie even though I didn’t love the book and never read past the first one. It looks really well done and Dylan O’Brien looks like he makes a great Thomas. I will hopefully be seeing this in the theaters!! I hope it’s good.

This is Where I Leave You: This looks decent enough and somewhat interesting, though I think that’s mostly due to the cast. I’ll want to see this but will probably wait until it comes out on video. I don’t really do family dramedies in theaters.

Hector and the Search for Happiness: I love Simon Pegg so much. I’m dying to see this movie. I hope I can find someone to go with me. It looks good, right? Is that just me? I don’t know, maybe. But what is it about Simon Pegg that makes me love him so much?

Tusk: Have you seen this trailer yet? It’s a Kevin Smith movie based on an episode of his podcast that was originally titled The Walrus and The Carpenter. I think that title makes it way more creepy. Just watch. It’s creepy. Or maybe hilarious. Or both. I’m not sure yet. And I’ve already watched it twice because the first time I only saw Justin Long’s mustache.


September 26

The Boxtrolls: I love this so much. I’m hoping my kids will want to see it but they are such wimps about movies I’ll probably have to watch it on video by myself later this year. Those boxtrolls are just so cute! And I love the animation!

Pride: Rufus Scrimgeour. (AKA Billy Mack!!!) Dolores Umbridge. Moriarty. All in a movie together. About a true story in 1984 when a group of gay and lesbian activists support a town of miners on strike. It looks good. Plus, so many people in a movie together! I love that you can count on British movies to have at least three or four recognizable actors.

October 3

Gone Girl: I was really not a fan of this book. I appreciated the mystery of it but I really just hated the ending. I’m curious how the movie will be but I don’t know that I’m curious enough to actually see it. Are you guys going to see this?

The Good Lie: I love Reese Witherspoon. I can’t help it. I’m still not sure what to think of this movie but I really hope it’s good.

October 10

Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day: Oh boy. I really loved this book growing up. I felt like it really embraced how kids feel some days. When grownups just don’t understand how all of the little bad parts of a day can really just add up and become something horrible. But I don’t think they captured that in this. It’s totally different from the book and while I really love Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner, it looks like they dumbed it down and I’m just not sure it’ll work for me. That’s a kangaroo behind Steve Carell in the preview. It does not look like a good scene. I do think my kids will find it hilarious, though. And that’s kind of unfortunate. And now I’m sad.

October 17

The Best of Me: James Marsden is one of my favorites. I love him. But that’s still not enough for me to go see this in the theaters. Does anyone think that he and the younger Dawson actor could actually pass for the same person? I don’t. I know this role originally went to Paul Walker and they offered it to Marsden after Paul Walker’s death. I think he would have been great for this role and he would have been a better fit for the younger actor. But they didn’t cast the younger guy until after that cast change. So I don’t really get it. Also, does anyone think the younger Dawson actor actually looks 20 years younger than him? I don’t. (I checked ages and he is 16 years younger. Apparently.) I still find it all very distracting. I could barely pay attention to anything else and I have no idea what this movie is about.

October 31

Nightcrawler: I’m going to go ahead and admit that I totally thought this was an X-Men/superhero movie until I saw the trailer a few minutes ago. And I was really excited for it! Now I don’t know what to think. This is definitely not my type of movie. And Jake Gyllenhaal looks a little scary in it. He lost maybe 20 pounds for the role and I have to say, it does not look good on him.

Horns: Daniel Radcliffe has an american accent in this movie and his voice sounds totally different. Or maybe it’s just me. I’m not sure if I’ll see this one but it look interesting and he looks like he does a great job. I’m just happy whenever I see the Harry Potter actors in new movies! Look at him growing up!

November 21

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: It’s almost here! I cannot wait for this movie. I’m absolutely seeing this in the theaters. Hopefully on opening weekend. Hopefully more than once. Although it does come out on the weekend of my kids’ birthdays. So maybe not twice that weekend. I’m so happy with the way these movies have been made and I’m pretty confident that will continue with the last two. Even with the split. The writers have done really well so far. And think whatever you want of Jennifer Lawrence, but she really does capture Katniss exactly the way I imagined her while reading the books. I really just hope I love these more than that last Harry Potter movie. I can’t even talk about that.

I think that’s it for movies for this fall. These, of course, aren’t the only ones being released, but they are the ones I’m most interested in. Do you guys see lots of movies in the theaters? I don’t get to see nearly as many as I would like to. Which ones are you most excited for this fall? If you’re excited for Mockingjay like I am, there is suppose to be a trailer released next week for it. Hopefully I’ll be able to do a post on it when it comes out. I’ve been loving everything they’ve shown us so far!

Let me know in the comments what you think of these previews. And let me know if there are any other movies you’re excited about this fall. Which ones will you go see?

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Waiting on Wednesday: Better than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released. This week I’ve chosen:
Waiting on Wednesday: Better than Perfect by Melissa KantorBetter Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
Published by HarperCollins on 2015-02-17
Genres: Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
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Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?

Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor made me feel so many things. I’m hoping this one will be the same, maybe just without the cancer and the dying.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted each week by The Broke and The Bookish and allows us to combine our love of books with our love of lists. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Underrated YA Contemporary Books.

Whenever anyone brings up YA contemporary books, I always hear about John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Sarah Dessen. They are great authors and very popular. But today, I’m listing books in this genre that I would love to see get some more attention. These are all YA contemporary books that I highly recommend.


Something like Normal Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) Golden Winger (Winger, #1) The Summer I Became a Nerd
Smart Girls Get What They Want Ask Again Later Breathe, Annie, Breathe Maybe One Day Dear Cassie (Pretty Amy, #2)

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Golden by Jessi Kirby
Winger by Andrew Smith
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

What ya contemporary books/authors do you think are underrated?


September Reading Queue

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Reading Queue is a monthly meme hosted by Books: A True Story and Book Tasty where we can get together and talk about the books we hope to read in the coming month and the books we read last month. So write up your own Reading Queue post and then go check them out!

Oh boy. August. You will not be missed. The only really positive thing I can say about my August reading was that I did get some done. I read nothing during the first half of the month. So everything I got done was during the second half. I basically holed myself up in my room whenever I could and read. It was actually kind of nice.

If you’ve taken a peek at September releases, then you know we’re in for a crazy month of books. I still have so many review books that I need to read. That’s what I’ll be working on most of the month. It’s still a little strange to me to have such structure regarding the books that I read but at times it also makes things really easy. I wish it helped keep me on track better but at least the list helps me see what I should be doing and gives me books to pick from when I am totally lost on what to read. Hopefully September will be a really good reading month!

August Reads

A Little Something Different The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny, #1)

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall and The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost: I enjoyed both of these but didn’t love them like I had hoped. Still recommend, if you’re interested.

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1) Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: The Iron Trial was a fail for me. Too much like Harry Potter and the writing wasn’t good enough to make up for it. Isla was perfect. Absolutely enjoyable.

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #3)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (the graphic novels): I really enjoyed these. I’m still a little bit lost on The Graveyard Book because it cut off right in the middle of the novel and since I haven’t read it I’m not really sure what’s going on right now. But still enjoying it. The Clockwork Princess is just great. I loved the conclusion. Though I’m still torn on the epilogue.

Say What You Will

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern: This book was much stranger than I had anticipated. I’m working on my review right now and it’s looking like about 3 stars. I liked the message but that characters? Not so much.

September Reads

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini: I’ve already started HoF and holy cow, I’m only a few pages in but there is a lot going on! I can feel that this is going to be a big one! I haven’t started Trial by Fire and know very little about it but I hope I like it!

Zac and Mia Sway

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts and Sway by Kat Spears: I’m interested in Zac & Mia. It’s being compared to TFiOS because they’re both books about kids with cancer but in all honesty, I didn’t really love TFiOS. So I’m interested to see how this story goes. Sway is told from a male POV, which I love. I just hope I’m able to connect with the narrator.

In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2) The Vault of Dreamers

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis and The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien: I am so excited to read the next book in McGinnis’ story about Lynn and Lucy! The first one scared the shit out of me and I definitely recommend it if you haven’t read it yet! The Vault of Dreamers has some good and some okay reviews already, so I’m not sure what to think about it. I’m going in with low expectations.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place Lailah (The Styclar Saga, #1)

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry and Lailah by Nikki Kelly: The Sisterhood is a middle grade book that looks fun and kind of silly and I’m hoping it’ll be a nice break from some of the more serious books I have this month. Plus I love that cover! Lailah seems to have a lot of hype already so I’m hoping I’ll like it. But I’ve also seen some people have really not liked it. So again, I guess it’ll be low expectations for this one.

That’s all I”m putting on my list for this month. I’m still not entirely convinced that I’m back on track with reading yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through all of these this month and love them all. And be back to a regular reading schedule! Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so! Do you ever have times when you just don’t read or don’t even have much desire to read? I feel like it must happen to everyone at some point. Hopefully it won’t last long. And it helps that I have some books that I’m really excited to read this month!

What are you guys excited to read this month?

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