***Please note this review previously posted on My Secret Romance Book Reviews and is being reposted with permission***
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.
Jake was in a car accident after drinking at a Homecoming game party, while on his way to finally speak up about his feelings for Samantha even though she doesn’t believe in love. The accident caused him to lose his vocal cords and can no longer speak. He has a decision to make, either let the loss of his ability to speak bring him down and be angry at the world or he has to carry on with life and realize that he is lucky to be alive and live life to the fullest.
Jake is upset that he never got to tell Samantha how he felt, and thinks he will never have a chance with her now that he has a nasty scar and can’t talk. Samantha treats him the same and it seems to have brought their friendship even closer. Sam even starts to teach Jake sign language and they write notes back and forth to each other in his red notebook.
At first Jake accepts his fate and while he is upset on the inside he tries not to show it to his friends and family. It hits him that he will no longer be able to fly or join the Air Force after graduation like he planned, and when he finds out he can not even play sports it starts to set Jake into a spiral of depression and anger that he takes out on his friends and family and even Samantha. Then on Thanksgiving Jake sees Samantha walking home from the grocery store and she tells him that her mom is out of town and will be alone. He invites her home for dinner and they seem to get along fine until that night when Samantha really lays into Jake for being bitter when he has so much to be thankful for. When Jake learns Samantha’s secret everything changes for him. He wants to take care of her and they finally become a couple. One afternoon Samantha unintentionally hurts Jake’s feelings and he doesn’t talk to her and makes a major mistake. Then Samantha’s secret becomes public and everything changes. Jake protects her the best that he can and counts down the time until he can be with her again. When Jake can finally tell Sam how he feels, she reveals her feelings for him as well. It is like that they are meant to heal each other’s pain.
This book really tore at my emotions. At times I had to put the book down because I would become so sad and just want to find a way to take Jake’s pain from him and show him life goes on. It is so easy to take for granted being about to speak or hear or even see. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be able to speak one minute and then an accident occurred and I couldn’t the next. To never be able to tell my husband or my daughter that I love them again is something I hope I will never have to experience. This book really makes you stop and take a look at your life and makes you learn not to take life, or anything as basic as being able to speak for granted. I have a friend who has been deaf since she was a little girl and while before now I have never stopped to really think about the struggles she has overcome in life and everything she has gone through to overcome it. For her, having to wear hearing aids everyday isn’t a handicap it’s just her way of life and I have never seen her let it affect her in a negative way. In my opinion this is a book that should be read by young and old alike, even though it is a young adult book, all of us can use a lesson on not taking life for granted and to be thankful for what we have and can do, not what he do not have or can not do. I really will take a lesson from this book and make it a part of my life from this day forward.