In a world where young adult romance has actually spawned a genre called “sick-lit” (thanks for that, The Fault in Our Stars), thank the literary deities for Say You Will.
This is a book that I have no reservations handing over to even a younger teen (my own daughter, for example), and it is fully readable by boys as well.
I first heard about the book last fall, from Eric Walters himself – he was really excited about the book, and the whole idea of “promposals” – which I had never heard of. A promposal is an elaborate, public invite to the prom – like it wasn’t laden with enough pressure to begin with. The protagonist, Sam, is a boy with a very high IQ who is only just starting to get the hang of social interaction, who wants to create the perfect promposal for the girl of his dreams. I can’t tell you much, because it will ruin the story, however Walters not only tells a sweet love story but also makes sure to puncture as many tropes and preconceptions along the way as possible. Highly recommend this.
I now digress from this review to make a point that has been bothering me. As was brought up very eloquently in a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, boys are often steered away from books that either have female protagonists, or that might be classified as romance. GIRLS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO LIKE ROMANCE. I have a couple of male customers at my store who are die-hard Harlequin lovers, and know many men, including my husband, who are fond of a good love story. (In fact, a great romantic night in can be a bottle of wine and taking turns reading The Notebook) Even books like The Hunger Games, or Divergent, I have seen parents steer away from because a female is the star, so of course their son won’t want to read it. Thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy; Clearly there must be something wrong with a boy reading a book starring a girl, or with a guy reading a love story – so he will never pick one up. This is dumb. Boys can empathize with a girl main character, and you’re selling them short by assuming they won’t. Boys dream of being the star of their own epic love story too, and Say You Will is a great one.