Author: Keary Taylor
Published: April 2012
My Rating: 4/5
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 a touching, lovely book, that I’m completely recommending. It makes you think, in a very what-have-I-done-with-my-life-so-far kind of way. It makes you reflect –or at least it did me –and appreciate what you have, because there is someone else out there that doesn’t.
Jake Hayes is a ‘normal’ teenager, he lives in this small island with his big family, he’s in the basketball team, he has big dreams for the future, and he’s in love. But he’s afraid of telling Sam his feelings for her. He drops little hints here and there, but she only seems friendly to him.
Like in most small towns/islands/whatever there’s nothing very interesting to do, most of the time. I should know; I grew up in a very small town. But kids need to find something to do for fun, something to pass the time, so they resort to partying.
Loud music + drinking + (possibly) doing drugs + driving = disaster. Or in this case, tragedy.
Jake should have known better than to get on a car with his drunken friends and drive away. He shouldn’t even have been drinking in the first place, it wasn’t really his thing. But after a couple of drinks and his friends continuous probing Jake makes a decision, he is going to tell Samantha that he loves her, and he is going to do it tonight.
I don’t need to tell you how that ended.
Now Jake has to deal with the aftermath. He can’t speak –will never be able to again –but he has to move on… somehow.
As things start to change in Jake’s life, he and Sam get closer. They now share most of their classes, they spend a lot of time together, yet Jake can’t say the one thing he always wanted to tell Samantha.
“My biggest regret is what I didn’t say…”
Samantha Shay is smart, beautiful and friendly. She moved to the island on her first year of high school with her mom, and instantly became the focus of Jake’s attention. But things aren’t going so well for Sam. She’s studying non-stop, she’s losing weigh by the second and looking more and more tired every day. Sam is hiding a secret, and she will need Jake’s help to live through her last year of high school.
What I Didn’t Say was a really emotive book. I think the author did a pretty good job portraying how living with a disability could be like. I felt for Jake, his frustration and desperation when he wanted to talk, or would start saying a word just to realize a second too late that no sound was going to come out of his mouth. And I felt for Sam, for all she was going through alone, with no one to lean on, for her fear of losing the little she still had.
But What I Didn’t Say was also an incredibly sweet and cute book, in a way. Seeing Sam and Jake together, goofing around, laughing, kissing and just being together made me grin and giggle and aww at them rather frequently.
Overall, it was an amazing book, which I’m so totally recommending. It’s sweet, endearing, touching and heartbreaking. It makes you stop, and think. We take a lot of things for granted in life, and no matter how many times we say we won’t, we just do. We don’t really appreciate thing until we don’t have them anymore. I’m going to end this review with the lyrics to the song the author mentioned on her Author’s Note (which I totally love) “Somebody wishes they were you” by Adelitas Way:
Life ain’t that bad Look what you have Yeah, Yeah When the highs aren’t so high Just do what you can Yeah, Yeah A world you can change and A life you choose ‘Cause somewhere out there, Somebody wishes they were you