Author: Cammie McGovern.
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by HarperTeen
Sort: Stand-alone, contemporary.
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.
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.
Amy was born with cerebral palsy, which is simply said damage in the motor control part of the brain. This means she can’t walk without a walker, talk without her voice box or control her facial expressions – which also gives her problems with swallowing and eating. She has a help by her side until she realizes that this prevents her from making friends; so her wealthy mother trains peers from her age to accompany her. One of those helpers is Matthew, who is plagued by his obsessive-compulsive disorder. His daily life is controlled by his thoughts and rituals, but it’s different when he is around Amy. Despite all odds, the two of them become best friends.
“I am not a victim of fashion or cultural pressure, because there is no place for me in the culture I see. In having fewer options, I am freer than any other teenage I know.”
I was touched by Amy and how incredibly strong this girl is. She doesn’t want to be defined by her ‘condition’. She wants to show the world how much she has to offer and like everyone else, she wants friends. It’s unbelievable how she is able to deal with all of this – and how real Cammie made her feel to me. I had the idea that Amy was a real, breathing girl. It was like I was a little person in her head, able to see the world through her eyes and thoughts. It was a wonderful experience and it puts things I worry about in another perspective.
There is also her best friend, Matthew. There were so many times where I wanted to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be all right. His thoughts were scary and worrisome. It was hard to see him slip further into his compulsions, but I also admired him for standing up in the end. He was brave enough to face his problems and do something about it.
”I believe there are choices each of us makes every single day. We can dwell on our limitations or we can push ourselves past them. I have learned not to judge people by their limitations, but by the way they push past them.”
Seeing these characters together was delightful. Matthew is exactly the kind of person Amy needs. He is not afraid to tell her the truth, because he doesn’t believe in sugar coating things. He is also careful and caring around her. At the same time, Amy is also the kind of person Matthew needs. She challenges him and changes his outlook on life. This unexpected friendship, where soon more feelings start to blossom, was such a lovely thing to see. The ending was a little open-ended, but I thought it fit the overall feeling of this book and it brought a smile on my face.
Read this book. You won’t regret it!