August 4, 2015
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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 that Jordyn wasn't perfect. She understands that her autistic brother, Phillip, gets more of their parents time and energy and she understands why - he needs more of it than she does. That doesn't mean she likes it, though.
She is just beginning her second year at a new school, where no one knows about her brother and that's just how Jordyn wants it. Sure, it means not having anyone over, keeping much - if not most - of her life a secret even from her best friends, but it's what she wants.
When word comes that Phillip will be attending Jordyn's high school, it's the last thing she wants. Even as she does everything to keep anyone from making the connection that they're siblings, she knows it will happen, eventually.
I really liked Jordyn. No, how she feels about her brother - at least where others are concerned - isn't noble, but it's also not without some basis. Whether she's right or wrong to feel how she does, you can understand her reasoning. The more we see her at school, with Alex, at field hockey practice and with her friends, the better we're able to see who Jordyn is. She is caring and smart and trying to be a good friend.
The same thing that's keeping her from being a truly good friend is also what's causing her stress and difficulties: keeping her home life such a secret.
Phillip's character was nicely done and he felt very realistic. There is enough of his behavior, how he acts at home and how he is at school, for us to get a sense of both who he is and what Jordyn's relationship with him is like.
Jordyn's wish to keep her brother - and his autism - a secret isn't noble or great, but we can see how she came to that decision. In How to Say I Love You Out Loud, we get a great example of how much impact just one person can have. Especially considering the characters' ages, I thought it was very believeable.
I loved Alex and his role. We know he and Jordyn are friends - even if that doesn't seem to be all there is to how they see each other. As the novel progresses, we learn more of what transpired between them and wonder if they will be able to be more than friends. Or if they may even lose that friendship thanks to Jordyn's secrets and lies.
How to Say I Love You Out Loud is a book with something to say (though, shouldn't they all be?) and you'll thoroughly enjoy Jordyn, her relationships and her journey to, hopefully, accepting (and acknowledging) her brother . . . and maybe even finding love. Jordyn may not be perfect, but she's real and I loved her story.
digital copy received, for review, thanks to publisher, via NetGalley