This book was like a breath of fresh air. Dealing with disability and mental illness, ‘Amy and Matthew’ ticks a lot of diversity boxes, and gains some originality points, as I’ve never read something that covers these issues. So, ‘Amy and Matthew’, I didn’t have a problem with. However, the fact it’s subtitled as ‘A Love Story’ is where things started to get a little tricky.
The first twenty percent of the book, we are introduced to the lives of our protagonists, written in 3rd person so we can experience their lives separately, as well as together. Amy has cerebral palsy and Matthew has (to begin with) undiagnosed OCD. They have to deal with the stresses of over-active and absent parents, along with trying to survive senior year. Amy wants to make some friends, which includes Matthew. They hang out and slowly, they fall in love. Except, neither character can overtly say they’re in love and if they do, each character seems to be in a different place in the relationship.
The back and forth between the character, never really understanding where the other one stood, was irritating. Of course, teenage love is difficult, but these weren’t love-struck fifteen year olds. What was interesting about these characters was that they were eighteen, an age I’ve barely read. Because of their issues, I was expecting a more adult approach to their situation.
As the romance developed, I found myself liking Matthew more than Amy. I don’t think Amy really understood what Matthew was going through and I hated that she kind of used him because she needed a friend. It was selfish and led to unnecessarily broken hearts. Amy was trying to live her life alone, whereas Matthew wanted to live his life with Amy. The tension and the drama just made me roll my eyes and internally scream about the value of communication.
Cammie McGovern picked a difficult subject to write about. The things that Amy and Matthew experience are so personal, it must have been so difficult for her to make them relatable characters. But, I think she did an excellent job. Amy’s outlook on life was realistic. Both characters’ desire to be seen as normal was endearing and a the real message I took away from this book; you can’t judge a person by how they look (although, with books its fine. Can we just discuss the horrific kerning of this cover?)
Overall, I’d give this book 2.5 stars, leaning more towards 2 stars than 3. The characters and their perspectives were interesting and insightful – they really made me step outside myself and consider other people’s problems. But the plot and the romance? They just didn’t do anything for me. It took me ages to get through the book and, as a whole, I can’t say I enjoyed it, which is such a shame, because the concept of the characters was brilliant!