Monday, May 7, 2012
What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor
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.
I REALLY wish that Jake Hayes had not gotten drunk--not because of the permanent consequence he faced, but because I am so sick of reading about drunken teenagers. Blech! It is so distasteful.
I definitely liked this book, but you're going to sense from the review that I didn't. I liked it, almost a lot, but I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. This is the fastest turn around I've ever have on a Netgalley book. I just downloaded it last night (okay, a little late for my Monday review, I admit), and I read all night. I haven't really had time to digest it yet.
I thought the premise was cute and intriguing. Can't talk? Wants to say "I love you"? Call me sick and twisted, but I think that's sweet. But I kept expecting it to be If I Stay (which I really loved) because they are so similar with the car accident at the beginning and all, but I have to say it did fall short of that, like it felt like it could use another round of editing. And I'm not refering to the myriad of typos and plurals with apostrophe S ('s) (way more than one, but I was reading a galley copy). I'm referring to the tell-not-show method of telling a story. I really wanted it to be more show-not-tell. I wanted to put the intricacies together on my own and piece together the complexities within the characters together on my own. The whole first half just felt so hurried, and yet I didn't feel it got to the meat quite fast enough.
Things I did like. Jake was complex. Okay back to what I didn't like. He was supposed to "be in love" with Samantha since the start of Freshman year (they're seniors now), but until they really get to know each other, you only have the sense that what he feels is just a big, sweaty, debilitating, often if not easily ignored crush on her. I guess we say "Oh, I just love that pink, fluffy_____" all the time and are not actually in love with the pink, fluffy _____, but I got the sense that Jake actually thought he was in love with the elusive, ethereal (one-dimentional and predictable but not true to her character) creature, Sam. Which made me kind of not like him. But once he gets his stuff together, stops feeling sorry for himself, and has a purpose in someone to take care of and protect, he is quite the sweetums--so I guess it's just growth, and that is something I always look for in a novel.
I didn't buy the whole business that Sam had to go with Mike in the end. Seriously? They're going to send her away with an abusive drunkard she doesn't even know? None of the fantastic grown-ups in the story were willing to maybe look into that for her? And if the guy has custody, he HAS to take care of her, right? Taylor made it seem like Mike was some big monster (which I'm sure he seemes like to the kids), but he was being responsible. He didn't want her. He didn't even send her to school. He could have easily been talked out of taking her. All I'm saying is other arrangements could have been made, and it was just...squirly that nothing else was even considered.
Anyway, I liked it. Still thinking about it. Definitely recommend for the "Life Lessons" quality (though, sadly, not the "Cuteness" quality...even though at times it was), if you don't mind teen drinking and mild sexual inuendo.