Book Review: What I Didn’t Say by Keary Taylor

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A beautiful story of blooming teenage love, What I Didn’t Say is well written drama that shows us how love can help us endure things we never thought we would possibly have the strength to overcome.

From Goodreads:
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.

Review:

This book was such a surprising pleasure to read. It took me back to those high school years and feeling of first love. This book is an honest look at some tough situations. Jake pays dearly for his transgression. He’s lucky though. He has a large, loving, understanding family and the support of a close-knit community. He borders on depression at times. His senior year and plans for the future now have to accommodate his impediment of being mute. He teeters between feeling lucky that he’s still alive and being overcome with frustration over not being able to voice his feelings.

He starts to see that he can overcome these obstacles when Samantha, a girl he’s had a crush on for a while, starts to help him through his ordeal in more ways than one. Love blooms, at least for Jake. Samantha on the other hand says she doesn’t believe in love. Her parents split when she was young and she never really knew her father. But Samantha has many secrets and, as those are revealed, Jake realizes he’s not really the one who needs saving.

These teens were pretty responsible. Jake was great at sports, comes from a great family and acts “grown-up” for the most part. Samantha is a straight A student with her future in mind, never taking her eyes off the prize of a full scholarship. I wouldn’t call these two your “typical” teenagers. They’re a little more adult like.

This one’s pretty “clean”. There’s some make out sessions but nothing beyond that. I think this is a conscious decision between Jake and Samantha that’s never verbalized.

I did find it disheartening that in such a close-knit community with a small population, no one ever noticed what was happening with Samantha.

This is a great story! It’s heartfelt and deals with issues that a happen more often than we like to think. Even if you don’t typically read teen books, this one would be well worth your time.

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.

View this book on Goodreads.
View this book on Amazon.

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