on April 30th 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance
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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.
4.5 Stars! Tragic, yet wonderful!
Some of these YA books have such an emotional impact, and in this case, it has to do with the fact that it’s told from Jake’s point-of-view. So, as he’s experiencing these life changing events, you feel them right along with him. You are not an outsider looking in, you become Jake! It was downright overwhelming, bowled me over.
Jake has liked Samantha since his freshman year, but the two of them have only flirted and skirted around their attraction for one another, but never acted upon it. However, he notices at the start of their senior year that she has become somewhat distant. So, on the urging of his friends, Carter and Rain, he decides to declare his love to Sam, before he loses her forever. Problem is, they’ve been partying and shouldn’t be driving, but they do, and it becomes the biggest regret of Jake’s life.
He wakes up in the hospital and when he does, I felt like choking…I knew what was coming, but it was still like a punch in the gut and I could barely breathe!!
“I’m afraid we weren’t able to save your vocal chords.”
“You’re not going to be able to talk again.”
And so, Jake’s journey into his voiceless world begins. One of his first thoughts upon hearing this devastating news is that he never told Samantha that he loved her. I know you’re probably thinking, why would that be what matters to him the most?! BUT when you’re seventeen, or for that matter anyone who’s suffered a trauma, you think about the strangest things. He’s young and in love, so I got it. Of course, he has other thoughts going through his mind and I felt all his pain and confusion as he struggled to move ahead without a voice.
I loved how Jake’s family and friends rallied around him, and in due time he realizes that they are struggling right along with him. He is encouraged to learn sign-language but primarily uses note books to communicate…his “paper voice”. He has moments of self-pity, understandably so. Samantha becomes one of his biggest supporters and when she reveals to him the events that have changed her life, it becomes his mission to save and protect her. It’s also his “light bulb” moment…he might have lost his ability to speak, but he is more than his voice! He has a loving family, great friends and a community that care about him.
The story is told as a timeline, with Jake counting down the days to specific events. As you’re reading, check out the chapter headings and see how they change throughout the book, they speak volumes. This is my first read from this author, but I will definitely look into her other books, I loved her writing style.
An afterthought: I don’t know if you ever take the time to read the author’s notes, but I find myself doing this more and more. Sometimes it will give you a warning about the book’s content, the inspiration for writing the book, or possibly events in the author’s own life that motivated them to put pen to paper. Such is the case with Keary Taylor. So, if you read the book, take a moment to read her story and you will see how her own experience allowed her to express Jake’s feelings so poignantly.