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
Thanks to Netgalley and Keary Taylor for giving me a e-copy of What I Didn't Say. I absolutely loved this book. It is a sweet story of family, love, and getting past obstacles in life. I read almost all of it in one sitting.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Jake is a great character. The story is told in his first person POV. After he gets into a crash homecoming night and destroys his voice box, he learns he will never speak again. This is a challenge to him, but he manages to hurdle it by finding his "paper voice." To talk to people, he writes what he wants to say in the journals. He also starts to learn sign language, but he can only use that around people who know sign language. He is a strong, kind, and caring guy, but he also has a few moments of self-pity. These seem realistic since he is going through a lot.
Samantha (Sam) is also a great character. She is very strong, and she is hiding a secret of her own. Her secret is that her mom died, and she is living on her own in a motorhome. Because of all her challenges in life, she gets mad when Jake pities himself too much. She tells him that he has food and a family. Sam is very sweet, and she begins to let Jake help her. When power goes out across town, he tells her to come stay at his house. He brings over extra food for her.
The romance between Sam and Jake is very sweet and well-developed. Jake was going to tell her he loved her on the night of the car crash. He regrets not getting to say this to Sam. Both Sam and Jake had secretly had a crush on the other. At the beginning of the story, Sam doesn't think she believes in love. By the end, her feelings have changed since she has fallen in love with Jake.
If you like sweet YA contemporary with heavy parts, read this book.