Jake Hayes and his family of eight live on a small island off the coast of Washington state, population 5,000. Jake has been in love with the same girl for the last four years, but he's never had the guts to tell her. And when he gets into a car accident after a party involving alcohol, he never will. Not when his vocal cords have been ripped out, and he'll never be able to speak again.
Taylor's novel deals with a very serious subject, one that I wasn't expecting to resound with such depth and poignancy. Jake's loss, all because of a stupid decision to get into a car with his drunk friends, is terrifying. He's lost his ability to speak. He'll never be able to tell a girl he loves her. Of course, this is relatable; almost everyone, I'd think, has regrets about things they didn't say but wish they had. But Jake's pain is all-consuming. His frustration and struggles ring true.
Jake is thoroughly developed as a character. He has a strong voice and, through his trials, his character shows three-dimensionality that makes him incredibly real to the reader. Life as he knows it is, essentially, over. His dream of joining the Airforce? Destroyed. His hobby of flying? Gone. His social life? Over. His difficulties are real. They jump off the page. Samantha, the girl Jake loves, is moderately likeable; well-developed but not in the way that Jake is, which is understandable. When it is revealed that Sam is having some problems of her own, though, that pain is there, too.
This story, through and through, is a powerful one.
Keary Taylor definitely achieves what I believe she hoped to--to create a fictional story, a fictional world, that has words of truth. These things happen. There are people like Jake out there. Taylor herself, she reveals in an added author's note, is one of these people. As a high school student, she had gone deaf in one of her ears. Her life changed. She struggled. She overcame.
Buy this book . . .
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