I gave this one a solid two stars because while it wasn’t a terrible read, I didn’t like it. Based on other reviews I’m seeing on Good Reads I know this puts me in the minority but I firmly stand by my opinion.
The first reason I I did not care for this novel was because it was cliched. Of course that’s not a deal breaker. There’s a reason why writers tend to err on the side of caution and write a story that can be construed as a cliche…because that type of story has already been proven to work. Sometimes it’s nice to read this type of story because it can be comforting. Sometimes knowing how it’s going to play out gives you a chance to enjoy the journey to the end…but for someone who reads obsessively…sometimes it just gets boring and that’s how I felt at the end. I was bored.
The most important reason I did not like this book however, was because I felt that Jake’s disability was handled badly and that is a huge pet peeve of mine. I have stopped reading books if I get insulted by the way a character’s disability is being handled by the writer (that has nothing to do with the plot, if you understand what I’m saying). I even questioned whether losing your vocal chords was an automatic “You’re mute” sentence or if Jake could adapt to talking through a hole in his throat like someone who had had their voice box removed due to cancer. Aside from that though, I did not like the way Jake’s principal took it upon himself to change Jake’s schedule around so that he would no longer be taking certain classes i.e. Spanish…come on, just because a person can’t physically speak doesn’t mean they automatically have to give up trying to learn a language. Hell, when I was in high school taking Spanish I had a girl who was deaf in the class so I find it disappointing that Keary Taylor (who admits to having a minor hearing disability in the end notes) thinks it’s impossible for Jake to continue on as he did before the accident. I found it to be a disservice to anyone who does live with any kind of disability, whether minor or major.
So a little PSA to writers, if you are going to create a character who’s living with a disability…actually learn about the disability and try not to insult someone who’s actually living with said disability. Not doing so is a great way to hurt people.