I really enjoyed this novel. It was a story with characters that you could relate to and a story which stole your heart. Benny is starting fourth grade and he’s was happy because he heard wonderful things about Mr. Norris, his teacher. Mr. Norris was fun and exciting and Benny needed that as he was starting the year off without a best friend. Kenneth had moved away and he needed to find a replacement. Benny situation at home was different than his peers. His brother was autistic and his father had just suffered a brain aneurysm for which Benny was blaming himself for. Benny found comfort at school and he was hoping Mr. Norris would help him forgot his issues at home. The school year started out fine but soon Mr. Norris started to change. He was not the person others projected him to be, nor was he the person the students knew from the beginning of the school year, something was different. Benny and Olga noticed this change immediately and wondered why.
I liked Benny’s relationship with Olga. She was comfortable in her own shoes and she did her own thing. She wasn’t looking for anyone’s approval yet Benny wondered about his relationship with her. I loved Benny relationship with his brother George. George is autistic, a high functioning autistic individual who is happy most of the time. Benny is very patient with George and there is definitely love between these two brothers. Benny knows George is special and he cares for him deeply, you can see that is his mannerism and in the language that he uses with him. There are times when Benny is frustrated with George but most sibling get this way with each other. It’s the stories with his family that touched me the most: the frustration, the love, the commitment, the embarrassment, there were many emotions that were tied to these stories. His father’s recent illness how this affected Benny and his family was moving and powerful and made for a wonderful read.
FIRST OFF I WOULD LIKE TO SAY PLEASE STOP COMPARING BOOKS AND SAYING THEY'RE THE NEXT TFIOS OR ELEANOR AND PARK. MOSTLY BECAUSE I REALLY LIKED TFIOS AND DIDN'T REALLY LIKE ELEANOR AND PARK ok thank you.
This book was not what I was expecting. I, like a few of my other friends who read it, were not expecting what was happening in the third act, and the first few acts I was bored. I hate the constant comparisons to things being the new TFIOS because...it was so unique and had such a fresh perspective on YA lit. Holding this to that standard and then also being unsure considering the comparison to Eleanor and Park, I wasn't sure what to think.
"Say What You Will" follows Amy, a girl with a disability that has prevented her from walking and living what we call a "normal life" and her adventures into having a peer assistant, specifically Matthew who is dealing with his own OCD. When I first started reading this book, I wasn't all that thrilled about it. I figured it was going to be exactly what so many of these books are where two flawed people meet and it's just all perfect and then someone dies. It was like that for the first two acts to be honest, but then it changed.
The third act redeemed this whole book for me. I enjoyed watching these characters grow, although I was really concerned through the whole book that they wouldn't be addressing the real issues but McGovern seemed to do that well. It still felt lacking for me, but it wasn't terrible. Not sure if I would readily recommend it, but the third act was strong. I found myself wishing the rest of the book was just as strong.
Also, when did I stop crying at books? I think I'm going to need to reread Harry Potter just to prove to myself how emotional I still am.
A Step Toward Falling is a book that is beautifully written and has a wonderful message of friendship and love, of fear and bravery, and of learning to reach out and stand up. This is a book that is well worth reading.
Lucas and Emily. One a successful football player and part of the popular social group at school, the other an academic activist. Now they are connected by one night where they both failed to act when Belinda, a fellow student with developmental disabilities, was being attacked. As Belinda deals with the aftermath of the attack she must decide what direction she wants her life to take, while Emily and Lucas must each deal with their guilt while undertaking community service at a relationship skills class hosted at the local centre for people with disabilities.
While this book is about Emily and Lucas' journey, it is equally, if not more so, about Belinda. It is about falling in love, but it encompasses two love stories not one, and it is also about friendship and learning more about caring for the individuals around you.
Belinda was my favourite character. She is so strong and brave and smart. She has been hurt, but is pretty smart about what she needs to do to move forward and about learning from something bad that ends up bring a lot of good for people. Emily on the other hand kind of drove me nuts. Now, no character in this book is perfect, they all have flaws and quite a bit to learn about being nicer to people, but Emily really takes the cake. She isn't mean on purpose, she just sometimes seems oblivious to how what she says hurts others. I thought she was especially obliviously rude to Lucas. But this book is about becoming aware and Emily does learn to reflect on what she says and assumes, I just found that Belinda is far more aware of this and reads as a much nicer character as a result. Lucas makes a nice contrast to Emily. As the story is not presented from his view point, we never really get much of an insight into his life, just fragments as he talks with Emily. There was a lot more I wanted to know about Lucas, about his home life, his goals for after school and his relationship with his father. Unfortunately we don't get to see much of this, but there are a lot of different stories in this book; Belinda and her mother and grandmother, the respective friendship and class groups at school and of course the Life Skills class group at which Emily and Lucas volunteer. I have to say I learnt a lot about communication and expectations from reading about their interactions, and I loved all the different characters and personalities that emerged as a result.
At first the story really jumps all the the place time wise, moving from Emily's first day at the centre, to just after the attack, to before, to during and back again. As the story continues though, this straightens out, with just a few jumps back to clarify the details of that night. As the story progressed I also became more connected with the characters.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved that it was Belinda's story and that she got to tell it. This is a book that is perfect for changing world views, or maybe just changing how you see and treat the people around you.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Since being a special needs mom myself, I thought I give this book try. I wanted to see things from another perspective and this story gave me just that.
Plot: This is about a young girl named Amy who has a disability and becomes friends with boy named Matthew. This story tells of their friendship from beginning to end. The good, the bad and the ugly. I really enjoyed how detailed the plot was. There was no painting a pretty picture but really giving a story that tells the truth.
Friendship/Love: Having a disability lots of people think that there is no possible way for love. Yet this story tells otherwise. I like that their friendship goes beyond what anyone would think. I love that their friendship goes through trials and at some points fails. They are just like everyone else, trying to be free and on their own.
Disability: One aspect of the story is the disability itself. When one had a disability there are a lot of no’s. No you can’t do this. No you can’t do that. Guess What? Amy did. She proved people wrong no matter the cost. She got things done on her own and learned. Not everything went perfect with her, but I really admired her strength to do more.
Overall, this is a really story that gives me hope. It’s raw yet real. Say What You Will is great!