Tuesday, 18 September 2012
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.
When I started reading this, I'll admit that I was a little concerned, to begin with, that it wouldn't be quite what I was hoping it would be. I didn't get any kind of immediate connection to the main character, Jake (or any of the other characters, for that matter), and the story, although mildly interesting, wasn't as gripping as I thought it would be.
I also felt that some of the chapters were a bit odd. Some of them were very short, and it wasn't initially in chronological order (which usually wouldn't be a problem, but it felt a little bit fragmented in this). It jumped from the 'present' story, to a few months before the accident, and back again, and it just didn't quite feel like a 'natural' transition, to begin with. Once I got into the book though, I started to appreciate these 'past' scenes more - they really accentuated how much Jake's life and personality was changing, after his accident.
Eventually though, the chapters did follow on from each other, and this was no longer a problem anyway.
As I've already said, I did not initially connect with Jake's character, which was a bit of a problem, seeing as the book is told from his point of view. However, after his accident (as mean as this might sound), I began to like him more and more. Of course, there were moments of self-pity etc, but this didn't last long. I really admired that, instead of taking the easy way out, and just giving up, he decided to push himself, and do his best to make his situation into the best that it could possibly be, and just generally try to carry on with life as normally as possible.
This would obviously be a difficult thing for anyone who had suffered a traumatic event, but even more so for someone in Jake's position, so this is where my respect for his character really started to grow.
By the end of the book, I adored him. I love character development, and Jake had it in spades! He became so much more mature, and despite his own predicaments, he was determined to be there for Sam, the girl he loves, and for the rest of his family and friends.
Sam and Jake's relationship is definitely worth mentioning as well - it was such a beautiful one! I had wondered how they were going to make things work, with Jake being unable to speak, and Sam not only being unable to say those three little words that Jake wants to hear so badly, but she also harbours some secret troubles of her own.
Despite all of this, though, they are a wonderful couple, and I was cheering them on the whole way through!
The ending was also so beautiful that it genuinely gave me goosebumps and, as cliché as it may sound, bought more than just a single tear to my eyes. I will say nothing more on this, but if you decide to pick this one up (which I think you should), the ending is definitely worth it!
I was a little worried about how Keary was going to decide to write about Jake's condition. Mutism can be a fairly sensitive subject - as can many other disabilities - but then there is the issue of a lack of audible dialogue with the rest of the characters. They weren't all going to learn sign language in a fortnight, after all!
I thought that Keary dealt with all of this extremely well, though, and despite my worries, the book worked really well.
Although it took me a little while to get into the book, I ended up adoring it. The characters were incredibly well-written and, quite honestly, adorable, especially Jake, and it was easy to see all of them grow, as the story went on. And what a story! It was a brave subject to choose to write about, in my opinion, and presented plenty of problems (both to Keary, and to the characters in the book), but she dealt with it, with apparent ease.
Another great read, from a truly great author! I definitely recommend this to fans of YA contemporary fiction - especially if you love a good 'love conquers all' kind of story.
Posted by Dani C at 00:10