*Warning this review contains spoilers and discussion of sex which may be inappropriate for younger children*
I did not like AT ALL! I would say skip, skip and definitely skip!
First, I will tackle Cammie McGovern’s YA - young adult - debut Say What You Will (2014). McGovern’s heart was in a good place, I think - maybe? I honestly don’t know what in the world this woman was thinking in her YA debut. But... Dancing Daisies (Just Be: book 1) by Sara Psyzka, Switch the Song (Just Be: book 2) by Sara Psyzka, Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum, The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, This Is Not A Love Scene by S. C. Megale and My Perfect Imperfections by Jalapa Williby are much much better portrayals of how typical a disabled teenage girl who uses a wheelchair and/or communication device really is. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Roll with It by Jamie Sumner were also better portrayals of how typical girl who uses a wheelchair and/or communication device really is and geared towards younger readers, say late elementary schoolers and middle schoolers. In comparison, McGovern paints us as pathetic, coddled and willing to have sex with whoever will just say hi to us. It was just so degrading and far fetched!!!! The last half of the book the main character, Amy, who is a senior in HS with cerebral palsy who uses a walker and communication device, has sex with a boy she has no interest in just so she could "know what to expect" with the guy she does like and then has his baby, while whining about the guy she does like (not the baby’s dad). The girl’s parents were also very controlling. Ugghh!!!
I thought I would give Cammie McGovern another try with her next YA book A Step Towards Falling (2015), but I cringed in my seat all over again. This book deals with the assault of an intellectually disabled high schooler that is witnessed by two students who do nothing. It was full of stereotypes about those with intellectual disabilities and did a horrible job dealing with sexual assault - nothing got resolved. The two students who stood by were made to do community service with special needs young adults which led the book to be screamingly berated which messages like "Don't be judgmental" and “Special needs folks can teach you things". Instead, read Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum (abuse, independence, and inter-dependence) or The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (high schoolers realizing those with disabilities have purpose in a less “able-bodied people are heroes who can learn so much” way) or Switch the Song (Just Be: book 2) by Sara Psyzka which features a chapter on how individuals with physical disabilities feel about individuals with intellectual disabilities providing a rare honest glimpse into the fragmentation of the disability population and how people with disabilities tend to feel about each other - topics very hard to put into words. Girls Like Us by Gail Giles also handled sexual assaults of two young ladies with intellectual disabilities much better than Cammie McGovern.
Cammie McGovern has since published another YA novel Just Breathe (2020), as well as two books for middle schoolers Just My Luck (2016) and Chester and Gus (2017). She also has a few books aimed at adults such as Eye Contact (2006) and The Art of Seeing (2007).
Should I give Cammie McGovern one more chance? Or just move on? Let me know in the comments!
And even though I am not a Cammie McGovern fan per say, if you would like you can still check out her author page and books on Amazon here: www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B001IXME6G?_encoding=UTF8&node=283155&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-sidecar-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader
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