I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo
Published by Macmillan on August 4th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Special Needs
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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?
How To Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo is a sweet, adorable, quiet young adult contemporary book. Of course, it is part of the Swoon Reads imprint which I love with maybe one exception that proves the rule. Cozzo’s debut is one that I sped through as the story felt relevant to me for a few different reasons. Yes, the book is a romance, but it is also a story of siblings and love and acceptance and so, I am enthusiastically recommending you read this book like right now.
Karole Cozzo’s How To Say I Love You Out Loud is narrated by Jordyn Michaelson. Jordyn goes to private school. She’s in the gifted and talented program. She is a quiet girl who does not make waves. She plays field hockey. Over the summer, she worked at a camp for children with special needs. There, she became good friends with this guy named Alex who kissed her at the end of the summer and scared her off. When she goes back to school with Alex things are different between them. This, however, is the least of Jordyn’s problems. You see, her brother Phillip’s special school is closing. While trying to find a replacement school, in the meantime, Phillip will be attending Jordyn’s school. Jordyn is pissed about this because her brother is autistic and so she believes he will draw attention to her. What this debut is about is how Jordyn comes to accept her brother and even be proud of him and also, find her own voice. Of course, this would not be released by the Swoon Reads imprint without some kissing.
While Jordyn’s actions are not perfect, I really related to her character. Like Jordyn, I have a sibling who could be considered special needs. Cassie and I have a sister who has a speech disability. Like the character Phillip, people have made fun of her for it. Jordyn has feelings of resentment and embarrassment of Phillip. She doesn’t think of him as a person, but as his condition. I could relate to her reactions and emotions to the various situations she experienced. No one is perfect or acts in the best, most respectful way all the time and I thought Jordyn’s character was realistic. What I loved is that she eventually embraces her voice and speaks up for herself. She goes for what she wants. She realizes that even if Phillip is different from her, he is a person who is worthy and deserving of love.
As for Alex, he is a nice guy character. I would say that he is not perfectly developed. He does not seem to have any flaws at all. I mean, the guy is an actual boy scout and a football player and legitimately nice. He is very big on helping others and absolutely altruistic. I admired that. This stated, I would have liked it if he had some kind of flaw to make him more real. He’s great for Jordyn though and LOL calls her MJ for Michael Jordan. Hilarious for sure. OH OH and also he sort of starts the school year dating the captain of the field hockey team, Leighton, who is a bully and awful.
I thought that Cozzo was respectful in her portrayal of Phillip. I thought she did a great job driving that point home that people who may have sensory sensitivity and people who are autistic are PEOPLE and HUMANS and if they have outbursts and reactions that is no reason to dehumanize someone. I thought this book showed that a little bit of patience can go a long way. I liked that it didn’t make people who are differently abled invisible. I loved all the various elements within How To Say I Love You Out Loud.