Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Review: How to Say I Love Out Loud by Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
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Words are strong. Love is stronger.
When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they're related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can't shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.
Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?
What did I just read? Guys, this book is sooooooooo good. I was expecting a cutesy romance, but oh no, How to Say I Love You Out Loud is so much more. It's a book about acceptance, bravery and love. And I loved every single page of it(let's tally how many times I say love). Swoon Reads has delivered some cute and cheesy reads thus far. I've definitely liked what I've read so far. But still colour me surprised upon finishing How to Say I Love You Out Loud and realizing how well written and just on point this book is.
We meet Jordyn as she's start her junior year. As with her previous year at her high school she just wants to blend in well keeping her grades up and playing field hockey. Oh and she's also trying really hard to keep her feelings for her best friend, Alex under wraps. Which is becoming harder and harder, especially when he starts dating field hockey captain and senior, Leighton. As mentioned, Jordyn wants to be seen as little as possible, which means hiding her home life and her autistic brother, Phillip. Everything starts to change when, Phillip is sent to Jordyn's high school and she realizes she can no longer hide behind her hair. It's finally time that she speaks up about Phillip, Alex and what's important to her.
The funny thing with Jordyn is I can't remember there being a detailed description of her. Which fits really well with her whole blending in. If the reader couldn't tell her apart from her classmates than she's accomplishing her goal. I really really liked Jordyn. How to Say I Love You Out Loud was about Jordyn learning to embrace her life and not be afraid to speak out for herself and the people she loves, even when most of society will not understand. Jordyn could be super frustrating at times, but it's what made her realistic and relatable. She of course loves Phillip. But at a young age when your best friend turns the whole grade on you, ostracizes you because of your brother it can leave a lasting scar. See Phillip is on the spectrum of autism where he's very sensitive to noise. Well he's a very smart boy, his speech has not developed well. Phillip can talk, but most of what he says(and it's very little) usually would not make sense. His family has learned to interpret his sayings, whether it's a line from his favourite movie or what not. But Jordyn has never told her friends about her brother. I didn't see it as shameful or embarrassed. I saw it more as a girl who was scared of what her friends and classmates would say. And that become very prevalent when Phillip is moved to her school and their classmates think it's wrong that crazies and retards should be allowed there.
Now here's the thing, I could so see where Jordyn was coming from. And that's what made her character progression so wonderful. There wasn't this one light bulb moment. It was over the course of the book that different people in her life gave her the courage to be brave. Like I mentioned earlier, this wasn't some cutesy romance(although the romance was cute). It was really about Jordyn learning to use her voice, especially on behalf of a brother that can't. It was great that all the characters were there as points to move her character development forward. I'll get into Alex in a moment. But Jordyn's parents are the kind of parents I need to see more of in YA. Especially her mom. What a strong and positive lady. Even when Jordyn was being a jerk about Phillip her mom would just show her how great of a kid he is.
I think my favourite bits were Leighton the "mean girl". Even though I far from liked her, she was loud and self centered even when she was being unintentional about it. Like when Leighton called Jordyn out about not sticking up for Phillip as she was being absolutely horrendous about him. She managed to bring Jordyn down but still make it about herself. How could Jordyn let Leighton say that shit in front of her, it doesn't make her(Leighton) look good. It was so manipulative yet absolutely what needed to be said to Jordyn.
Lets talk about the romance, because Alex is a whole bunch of swoon. When I say he's one of the most kind, generous and sweetest boys, I am not lying. Just an all around good guy. Totally know why Jordyn was crushing on him. The poor guy is also totally in love with Jordyn. But seeing as she's trying to blend in, that's stopped her from letting the relationship develop beyond friendship. Alex still doesn't push her, He's just supportive and caring. He wants Jordyn to see herself like he sees her. Alex wants her to see herself as brave. Alex wants her to be able to learn to depend and share herself more with the ones she loves. And it's all just so effing sweet. Seriously guys, Alex is adorable and I need him to present himself on my door step.
I was just so wonderfully and ecstatically surprised by how on point How to Say I Love You Out Loud was. It really is such a good feeling when you go into a book expecting one thing and get so much more. Jordyn learning to realize not everyone is going to understand Phillip, is okay. What matters is that she loves him and that she uses her voice to help people understand. I just love myself a positive message that comes from such a brilliant character journey.