Publication Date: May 7, 2012
Page Count: 336 pages
Source: ARC from author via NetGalley
Synopsis From Goodreads:
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.
His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.
When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.
What a great book! This was such an amazing and inspiring story, and I loved every second of it. It's so genuine and heartfelt, my emotions were all over the place.
What I Didn't Say is told from Jake's POV, which I absolutely loved. Jake's life is changed forever after a car crash. Everything that he took for granted was taken away from him. What I liked the most was that Jake did not wallow in self pity or have a 'woe is me' attitude. Of course, there were moments of frustration for Jake, and there were times where he felt defeated. But he tried to stay very positive and used the accident to turn his life around. His family and friends were really great in helping him with his new 'normal'. Jake found great strength in their love and support. Even though his future plans changed drastically due to the accident, he didn't let his disability stop him from moving on with his life and making new plans and achieving new dreams. Jake really matured throughout the story, and I absolutely loved him by the end. I felt that Jake's inner dialogue really added an extra layer to the emotions that he was feeling and made him appear more mature and thoughtful.
The girl that Jake loves, Sam, was a strong and likable character. At times I thought that she needed to let the people around her ease her burden. She really wanted to do everything for herself and show that she didn't need anyone. When Sam and Jake begin spending time together, they slowly learn how to support and encourage each other. Sam learns that it's okay to sometimes depend on someone else. I really loved the progression of the relationship because it felt so real. I found myself really cheering them on.
The writing was very good and the pacing was perfect. The chapters jumped around a bit - they went from the present to the past and back again. It was a little odd, but not too jarring or out of place. In the end I did appreciate the glimpse of Jake's life and personality before the accident. It really accentuated just how much things had changed for him.
This was a wonderfully heartfelt and emotional story. It is so sweet at times, but is is kept from being too overly dramatic by the realness of the situations. The characters were very well written and very believable. If you are a fan of contemporary YA books, then you should definitely read this!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars