Author: Keary Taylor
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Pub Date: May 2012, Self-published
Source: Received a copy from NetGalley for review.
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.
I hadn't really heard much about this book until seeing it on NetGalley and then came to realize that it had taken off more than many self-published books out there. It's a little different from the Young Adult fiction I typically read, but I thought I would branch out a little and see what the fuss was about.
I am going to go ahead and get the negatives out of the way right now before getting to the good stuff. There are typos--several of them--and they were the kind that just make me cringe when I see them. In a few instances, words were pluralized with an apostrophe before the "s" and "you're" was used in place of "your" at least once. I remember coming across a few other typos/grammatical errors, but the specifics aren't coming to mind at the moment. Other than that, the writing was relatively good--not great--and felt true to the way a teen might tell this story. Truthfully, though, if it weren't for the fact that the actual story was so good, I would probably take more than one star off of my rating. It just goes to show the importance of editing and unfortunately it does seem like self-published books frequently lack good editing.
All of that said, the story itself is very powerful. Given the nature of the book, I'll admit I was concerned that the story might be sad and depressing (I'm sorry, I just don't enjoy sad stories) but thankfully it really isn't. What I Didn't Say is actually pretty uplifting and inspiring, as Jake and Sam work to overcome their respective troubles together. They are both likable characters, which is important since they are the primary focus of the story. As we so often see these days, there is a major plot twist around halfway through the book. Looking back, I knew something was "up," as they say, but I didn't see it coming, that's for sure! This book is compulsively readable if you are able to overlook the typos and take it for what it is: a self-published book. I have read many enjoyable self-published works so I can be inclined to cut some slack for less-than-stellar editing if the story itself is strong, and this one is strong enough to make up for some blatantly obvious typos.