What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor
Source: Free kindle copy
Publication Date: May 6th 2012
Age Genre: Young Adult
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.
And since that's what hooked me on, you can imagine my surprise to end up feeling like this book could deal with being mute more. It's like, Jake wasn't born mute - he became mute due to a stupid accident that could've been avoided. He had to learn to deal, and that is featured, but it takes backstage to Sam's family issues and difficulties.
It's not that Sam's issues are not important and need to be discussed and such, but Sam's type of issues have lately been the crux of so many books (true, mostly NA books), while dealing with muteness mid-life (or at all, really) has not. Jake's side of the story was what I was more interested in, and I wanted that to be in the spotlight, not the other way around.
What I did love is how the Drunk Driving issue was handled. I recently read a couple of books that used drunk driving as a plot point, but grossly mishandled it. Here, though, drunk driving was discussed multiple times. It affected both those who did it and those around them. I applaud Keary Taylor for it.
Another reason that this book did not get a higher score for me is that I didn't fully connect with the characters; therefore I had a hard time feeling their pain. And books like this... the pain needs to be felt, you know? (but this is really subjective).
Despite all this, Jake and Sam were cute together. Their romance was clean and sweet, and it really helped both of them find their inner strength. It is healthy and good, and I loved knowing it's something that's been developing for years (especially on Jake's side).
Speaking of which... the only complaints I have in regards to the writing is that I felt it could do without the flashbacks to past years. As there were too few of them to flow properly and feel like an instrumental part of the narrative, I feel like they should've been told in a different way - like Jake recalling them, or telling us those little anecdotes from the past in his head in relations to what was happening, instead of time jumps.
All in all, cute story, but it wasn't the perfect read for me.
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