Author: Cammie McGovern
Publication Date: March 27th 2014
Book: For Review*
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Find: amazon || goodreads || the book depository
Summary: Amy loves Matthew and he loves her back. This is their story.Sweet, satisfying and heart-warming, I read Amy & Matthew in one sitting – my eyes glued to the page as I devoured the ribbons of words streaming across the page. Reminiscent of The Fault in Our Stars storyline, but with a unique main character’s voice, it was a refreshing change to read from the POV of a person with cerebral palsy who is unable to talk. The crop of revered characters nowadays are kick-ass heroines (with the exception of Hazel Grace of course) who shoot arrows as if they were born to and can conquer their fears without breaking a sweat. Yes, they have their own problems and ‘flaws’ to make them feel realistic to the reader, yes they are inspiring in their own ways – but none so much as a person who lives in the ‘real’ world with a ‘real’ problem, dealing with things most people will never have to. This book is not imaginary, it is a contemporary. It has happened, and will happen, the same things may not happen to the afflicted person, but the illness Amy has is not fiction, only the plot is.
Amy is unflinchingly honest about her limitations. Born with cerebral palsy, she can’t walk or talk without help. But trapped inside this uncooperative body lies a brilliant mind and a luminous spirit – a girl capable of truly loving and worthy of being loved in return.
Matthew has his own set of challenges – a mind consumed by unwanted repeated thoughts, obsessive rituals and a crippling fear that he can't explain. But underneath all of the anxiety lies a deep seed of hope for someone to come along who believes in him…
This is the story of Amy and Matthew. It may not be a fairy tale romance or set in an imagined world far from our own. But the love they share is real. And yes, there's magic in it. - goodreads
Which is what made this book so special, like The Fault in Our Stars our main ‘heroine’ suffers a terminal illness. Unable to walk and talk, prone to awkward, sudden jerky movements from her ‘bad’ side, Amy was born like this. She has help, of course, her mother is dedicated to helping her; but at the age of 17, she doesn’t want to have her help forever, she wants to be independent. She wants to be as normal as she can, for the first time in her life she wants to make friends that are her age. Not adults. Teenagers like herself. This is how she meets Matthew.
The slight parallels to The Fault in Our Stars irked me a little, and at first I wasn't sure whether I was actually enjoying the book or if I was reading it because it sounded good, it was based on a subject I enjoyed reading about, and because I ‘felt’ like reading it. Why? At first, I couldn't really connect to the characters. They felt two dimensional, and ‘fake’, like I knew they were fiction and I wasn't able to immerse myself into the book enough to absorb their personalities and disappear into their world – as I can with all the best books I read. This continued on for almost half the book, me reading, almost impartially with only a slight ‘feeling’ towards most of the characters. I kept going though, determined that this wouldn't put me off and it would pick up soon, I would be able to step into the character’s shoes at some point. And I did. Thankfully, I did. At one point in the book I was so fully immersed that I forgot my surroundings and I was absolutely absorbed in the book – and from then on, I loved the book. I would say one more point about something that slightly put me off but I want this review to be spoiler free, so I won’t.Amy & Matthew was an eye-opening piece of fiction, which really made me appreciate the things I have that no-one is ever really thankful for. Hands, feet, speech; the ability to dress myself, things we expect, things we believe are necessary that we should all have. Well, a lot of people don’t. This book also emphasizes something very important, which some people fail to think could ever happen (don’t ask me why because I have no idea). Love can cross all boundaries. Because love is imperfect, as we are, we make love happen – love is different. My rating: ★★★★
*huge thanks to Macmillan for sending me this book free of charge. This in no way affected my opinion.