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 have yet to read Eleanor & Park and no plan to read The Fault in Our Stars (the popularity of these two, especially the latter, turned me off). But I think I get what it want me to think by associating it to these types of books. So I read this book with caution, one I always do when it comes to books that are peg to be these emotionally-driven stories, characters that I will hopefully get to empathize with. Now, I understand the hype, it did make me think about my own situation compare to them. It kinda opened my eyes in scenarios that I would’ve known if not by the circumstances of these characters. Poignant? Yes. But it didn’t cut me too deep.
Amy has cerebral palsy and Matthew has obsessive compulsive disorder. In some way the one helped the other, vice versa and in between it all fell in love with each other. At first, like Matthew I didn’t buy this whole I’m still lucky despite everything outlook of her. I think it’s normal to acknowledge misfortune because everyone experiences it but the way you handle it in truthful way is, for me, important. I really think there’s nothing wrong with it. It is why I understand why Matthew initially felt that way. And it prompted the changes she wanted to achieve for herself. Matthew on the other hand has his issues he was also dealing with. Amy recognized it what he tried to suppress it all this time. She wanted to help him, giving him assignments and urged him to seek professional help.
At first I thought it was about coping, learning and perhaps…growth through these characters. Yes, I’m both aware of their conditions, perhaps in an educational context, and maybe more on Matthew’s. The story was at the beginning like that. Amy trying to learn getting along with her peers (and the matters attached to it), and Matthew trying to face the thing he very well know that he had yet failed to admit (denied even) before. I shared his sentiments when Amy decided to inconspicuously tell people about his issues even though people already knew it. But I guess it served a purpose because someone needed to shake his system and to bluntly tell him the real problem on hand.
That last part caught me off guard. Something’s telling me to question it. Is it really necessary? Part of character’s development? A lesson learned? I’m not sure myself and can’t even explain. Even though I liked what it wanted to convey and logically speaking it did successfully send the message, I’m still a little detached to it. Ok, so more than a little—actually, a lot. But I get it. I know what the book wanted from me but I unfortunately didn’t yield to what it desired. My emotions are steady but the reader in me still recognized it. So it wasn’t a complete letdown after all, right?
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “But here’s the important part, Amy. I feel like I want to always be here, with you. Helping. Like that should be my job or something. This is where I belong.” He couldn’t help it. He started to cry as he said this. “I’m not sure if I’ll be good at very many things, but I’m good at this. I’m good when I’m with you.” — Matthew