Book Review FEB. 23
What I Didn't Say
by: Keary Taylor★★★★ 4 Stars
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 I Didn't Say was such a beautiful gripping love-story it was a joy to read. There is so much emotion evoked that you can't help but feel like these characters are your family. This book is a great representation of teenagers and high school life. It reminds you of all the games you played, pranks you pulled and mistakes you made. Unfortunately Jake makes a grave mistake and learns that every action has a consequence and no matter the intent, you have to pay for your choices, good and bad.
All poor Jake wants to do is tell the girl of his dreams how he feels. Only this simple task turns out to be a bit harder than he expected. It was hard to read about Jake's accident and him learning what happened. He truly grows through the stages of grief for himself and everything is written remarkably well you go through each stage and loss with him.
I thought the issues both Jake and Sam are going through really helps them connect. Samantha is both homeless and alone in the world after her mom died. When Jake feels sorry for himself, Sam is the slue that keeps him together and reminds him that not having his voice is not the end of the world because he still has so much.
I thought is was brilliant that even through a drunk phone message, Sam is able to hear the words from Jake.
Jake is a great kid. He makes the wrong choice, which he knows is wrong at the time, and ultimately has to pay the price. Eventually he recognizes loses his voice may seem like losing his life but it's not. I was heartbroken when he learned all the things he could never do anymore such as sports or fly, which was his passion. It was like the world slapped him in the face and he can't seem to understand why since no one ever feels they deserve something so horrific happening to them. But that is one of the many lessons this book teaches. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect and we can't always expect to be. But life sucks and bad stuff happens, even to the people who don't deserve it.
Sam's life is not perfect either. This makes the two mesh together so well, even when Jake is blaming Sam and the world for his accident, he has no clue the utter crap that is her life. Although, when he finds out it's like his own problems don't matter. He steps up to the plate and goes above and beyond to help Sam. These two are like a real-life fairy tale couple, not perfect but they handle life and their issues with a envious grace and ease.
This book is honestly a great read for people of any age. Jake is a strong character who has to go through the emotions to learn to live with his new disability. After his accident he calls his words, 'my paper voice,' and not only did I find that to be blindingly accurate but also a beautiful statement because words are something not many of us are thankful for. He may not be able to speak but his voice was not silenced.
What I Didn't Say is beautiful and heartbreaking in many ways. It was sad. It was sweet. It was depressing as hell but it was an amazing read. Anything can happen in life and though we can't always be prepared for it, we can rise above it like Jake and not let our weaknesses hold us back from LIFE or LOVE.
I wanted more at the end though. Maybe an epilogue or a peak ten years from now to see where everyone was at. Though watching everything they overcome the last line makes for an amazing end.