SUMMARY -Jake is not the type of kid who would get drunk on homecoming night with his friends...or drive with them afterward. But one choice - one simple mistake - changes everything when Jake's friend crashes...and a t-post through Jake's neck takes away one of life's most important tools - the gift of speech. Now Jake has to reevaluate everything: his life, his passions, love - everything - and find a way to tell the girl he loves, "I love you" before she, too, is taken away.
MY THOUGHTS -While I'm not typically a contemporary girl, I have recently been drawn to a few titles. This one, at the very very top of my list. When I was accepted to review this on NetGalley, I was ecstatic, and the book did not disappoint!
Maybe there could have been more editing. Things could have changed to make the story better. Sometimes the pace felt a bit too fast, when I wanted to revel in the moment. These, however, are minor flaws.
Because, really. This story is beautiful.
CHARACTER NOTES -I loved Jake from page one and on. I still look back at my experience of living through his perspective, and I think, "What a guy!" His reactions to the accident, his recovery - it's all realistic and so moving. He really inspired me. He made a stupid decision, but what he makes of the consequences is so respectable.
Samantha is an intriguing character. She has secrets, a hidden life, and she has a lot of love to give, even if she doesn't know it yet. She adds a strange and very neat dynamic to the story. While not a favorite character, I still wanted her to succeed and really loved the change wrought in her through Jake's friendship and care and love.
Jake's parents, I must say, are rad. They are so supportive, filled with faith, and loving even when things are really hard. Their awesome relationship with their kids, especially Jake, is so nice to see, especially in YA lit. Plus, there are all of Jake's siblings, who really bring a lot to the table and definitely made me laugh a few times.
STORY NOTES -I stayed up so late reading this and finished it the next morning. Fast-paced, intense, and totally engrossing.
The accident and the first part of Jake's recovery hardly take up any of the story... The rest is full of romance, hardship and healing (in other areas of Jake's life). His journey is just stunningly beautiful.
I love what Jake's school does for him and what the students choose to do. Jake's accident inspires them to take action in their own homes and to stay away from underage/illegal activities. I love this small-town/one-bit-family aspect of the story.
The romance develops very nicely, to insta-love here! Jake and Sam's love develops so sweetly; Jake's longing to be able to speak Sam and tell her how he loves her translates into him having to show her. Sam, who doesn't believe in love, is fascinated by this devotion. I ached for Jake, though... Not being able to say the important things. Wow. Just - hard.
I loved how everyone had a part in speaking into Jake's life. Again - his parents were AWESOME.
The climax of the story is beautiful, realistic, and gut-wrenching. I loved it. Everything fell together and brought What I Didn't Say to a magnificent close.
SUMMING IT UP -Delightful. Real. i'm going to read more of Keary Taylor now I know how awesome she is. And you should, too - you will be moved!
For the Parents -
A few intense make out scenes... I think one or two almost lead to sex. It is mentioned that both want to. Some details...the scenes are definitely very passionate. Sam buys lingerie and models for Jake. I'd say 16+ (My sister is 15, so I'm gauging based on that it wouldn't be the most appropriate for her right now.)