OPINION: 3 STARS
Softly charming though not quite holding the emotional depth and intensity I had hoped for, What I Didn’t Say is a cute romance with a twist thrown in. With an overall sweet and nice main character, despite the major mistake he makes, this one is easy to fall into and get behind. Navigating things after a major life altering event, and holding a strong family component to it, there is something compelling about this one despite the ways it left me wanting more.
Jake is a caring guy, and one with a strong drive in him to keep going. Devastated after the accident, and angry almost more at himself than anything, he finds the will to keep going pretty quickly. Though I did feel like he settled into his new life almost too quickly, he has such an intense support system that it does make sense to some extent. Still, he had his moments of self pity and depression, but also reminded himself of all the things he still has. Guilty about what he’s put his family through, and leaning on them in the ways that really count, Jake pushes past the whole no longer able to talk thing pretty quickly and focuses back on what’s important to him, namely figuring things out with the girl he’s loved for so long. He goes through some great change in his mindset towards things, not only because of what’s happened to him but due to other things thrown at him as well, and there is something endearing about him that will warm readers.
Admittedly, I didn’t feel like there was anything too specific driving this book. The pacing fell off more than once for me, and things seemed to just amble along. Ultimately, it’s a romance, despite the way the blurb makes you think there’s a lot more to it. This book is about Jake trying to figure out things with Sam, taking into account the situations they are both in individually, and then together, but keeping the primary focus on their budding relationship. Truthfully, I felt like actually losing his ability to talk wasn't too big of a factor in the book, beyond giving Jake more of a reason to want to talk to Sam in any way he can. There are some very wrenching moments to this book, but they are few and far outweighed by the sweet ones. Though some of those sweet moments were a little too, well, sweet, for my liking, and kind of corny at times, there is still a lot of heart in this book.
This one is well written, although I felt like the voice lacked a little for a male character. The setting for this one is very well described, bringing it to life in a great way. The impact living on a close knit island has had on Jake is shown throughout the book, and Taylor does a good job of doing this without it being forced or obvious. While there wasn’t quite enough drive in this plot for me, and I went in wanting much more emotional turmoil and depth, this was still a feel good and cute read that fans of romance will enjoy.
Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace/Keary Taylor
Publication Date: April 30, 2012