What I Didn't Say
by Keary Taylor
Jacob Hayes had it all. He was on the football team that was headed towards an amazing season. He was getting ready to graduate senior year as one of the most popular guys at school. He was on his way to joining the US Air Force, making his love of flying the career of his dreams. And he was finally going to tell Samantha Shay that he loved her and had always loved her since she'd arrived on their small island of Orcas eleven years before.
Unfortunately, his first true moment of bravery in going to speak to the love of his life happened when he and his buddies were drunk at a party. And that moment became the absolute worst moment of his life when he and his drunk buddies rolled off the road and a T-post went straight through Jake's throat, permanently destroying his vocal chords and ruining any chance he ever had of speaking those three little words.
Now, Jake has to live with the consequences of his drunken actions.
He can't ever speak. He has to change most of his classes. He'll never be able to pilot a plane again. The USAF is out. He's got to learn sign language, even though he's horrible at it. He has to deal with the looks of pity and horror as people constantly see the scars on his neck. And he has to see Samantha Shay every day, and never be able to speak the words he wishes he'd said during all those opportunities before.
But Samantha has her own secrets and consequences. And Jake is about to find out that losing your voice isn't the worst thing that could happen to you.
Final thoughts: Solid realistic fiction. I understand why there was so much focus on the notebooks, but I wish there had been more about ASL in there. Sam's troubles were definitely troubling, but maybe just a little too easily resolved. Nice bit of romance, and it was realistically portrayed, given the circumstances of the novel.