“Amy’s email started in late July and kept coming all summer. Each one made Matthew a little more nervous:
Subject: I’m Happy!
I just slipped into my mother’s office to look at the names of my new peer helpers, and I’m so happy! Your name is on the list! I thought maybe I’d scared you by coming right out and asking you to apply. I realize it’s an unusual set-up, but try not to think of it as my parents offering to pay people to be my friend. I know there’s something unsettling and prideless in that.”
Amy has difficulties in school. Her adult aides and the computer she uses to speak have distanced her from her peers for as long as she knows so she decides to change things for her senior year. This year she will get rid of the adult aides and have peer-helpers to assist with her getting to and from classes. She already decided one of them should be Matthew but her mother needed more convincing. Now he has made it through her mothers rigorous hiring process she can get to know the boy who is one of her biggest mysteries. This is their story; its about being different, feeling alone and finding one another. Its about love, and falling – in more than one sense of the word.
Amy & Matthew is a love story like no other and its one that will have you questioning everything you ever assumed about YA romances. It was one of the most heartbreaking and true love stories I have ever read and because of that I urge you to pick it up too.
Amy is disabled – she has Cerebal Palsy and can only walk with the aid of a walker, she is non-verbal so has a computer to speak for her and she has no friends, none at all. However, despite all this she is determined and hard working and the best student her school has. Matthew is also a loner, he has no one but is quite smart, and pretty good looking. He could be popular if he wanted to be but his health issues hold him back. He cannot have friends because the thought of sleepovers terrify him. The idea of touching someone freaks him out and he must always wash his hands right up to the elbows. In Amy & Matthew the combination of Amy’s disability and Matthews mental health issues is a tough one but it works because no matter what is going on, both of them are more than aware of their actions and the consequences of them.
I adored the story and how it built. From the start you are unaware of just how bad things are for Matthew and how much things get to Amy. The whole book is a run up to the characters real feelings, thoughts and dreams and the things you think you know about them at the start will definitely not match who they turn out to be at the end.
The story is a romance, its a love story tackling serious issues, some of which I will not go into due to spoilers but these are the ones that I loved the most. Its also about finding out who you are, breaking down the boundaries you put on yourself and facing your fears.
On first glimpse this book may look like just another YA romance but it is so much more. Its a book that will break your heart and stitch it back up again. Its more about people than about love and I loved that about it. I felt like I was reading an honest but fictional account of real life and it gripped me in ways no other book has managed before. I loved how well Matthews issues were handled, especially as YA books have a terrible habit of taking OCD as a quirky factor in characters sometimes. Amy & Matthew showed just how terrible it can be for sufferers and how much it can effect peoples’ lives.
I really do recommend this book to any young adult contemporary fiction lover as you will absolutely adore it. The characters invoke very strong feelings and there are questions about ethics and other things in the book so its not just a floaty romance and it is fantastic.
Amy & Matthew was published on March 27th by Macmillan Children’s Books. The publisher sent a copy to me in exchange for an honest review.
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