Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo

How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Words are strong. Love is stronger.

When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they're related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can't shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.

Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?

I loved this book.  Simple as that.  Let's lay it out there right from the outset.  The characters were amazing and sympathetic, the story was wonderful, the romance was slow-building and gratifying, and the emotional impact was perfect.  I could stop there and it would describe this book exactly right, but I'll dig a little deeper.

Jordyn was one of the most amazing characters I've read in a while, and I will admit, not everyone who reads this book is going to like her.  She has an autistic brother, and due to things that have happened to her in the past because of her association with him, she's withdrawn...from him, from her family, from friends.  And when I say withdrawn, I don't mean she doesn't have any friends or associations with family or friends... she just doesn't allow anyone to know any more than the surface. She pushes away the one guy she loved because having a relationship might mean revealing more about herself than she's willing to.

Then there's Alex.  Alex is a wonderful guy.  He's hot, yes, but he's also a genuinely good guy that cares about others, does volunteer work because he has a big heart, and is all around just someone you wish you knew yourself.  He's exactly what she needs, and they have a great friendship...even though Jordyn's feelings run a lot deeper than that.

What made this book amazing to me was the slow progression of Jordyn's growth.  Because of various events that happen in the book, Jordyn's safe world can't remain the way it's always been.  Things begin to change whether she wants them to or not.  And this turns her world upside down and forces her out of from behind that wall of protection...but not all at once.  It's gradual and painful.

The writing in this story was beautiful, poignant, and amazing.  The story was perfect, the characters complex, and the emotional impact so thoughtful and deep that I felt myself just sinking into it. I read it so quickly and was left with a feeling of deep satisfaction. One scene in the story toward the end made me cry, which doesn't happen to me often when reading, but it was so emotional and beautiful I couldn't help myself.  Just give this book a try.  So worth the read.
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