Sep 28, 2009

Say The Word, by Jeannine Garsee

Summary (from

Who is the “real” Shawna Gallagher?

“Perfect” Shawna, a mature, responsible high school senior who caters to her controlling father, and plans to attend medical school instead of exploring her talent as an artist?

“Pathetic” Shawna, who still stings from the betrayal of her former best friend, and lusts painfully after a guy who’s obviously out for one thing?

Or “Evil” Shawna, whose unexpected snarky comments make the other Shawnas shrivel with embarrassment, and who resents the fact that her estranged, openly gay mom deserted her years ago?

Her life explodes when her mom suddenly dies, leaving behind a long-time lover, Fran, and Fran’s two sons. Seventeen-year-old Arye makes no attempt to hide his disdain for Shawna, while his quirky little brother Schmule takes an inexplicable liking to her—two “stepbrothers” who knew and loved Shawna’s mom in a way she never had a chance to.

When Shawna discovers the secret of Schmule’s origin, the chain of events that follow lead to a “new” Shawna who questions everything she once took for granted: her desire to be perfect, her sexuality, the meaning of friendship—and even her love for her father whose single act of violence she can’t forget.
My Opinion:

Say The Word begins with a phone call, one no one would ever want to get.
We're introduced to Shawna: rich girl who's been abandoned by her Mother, who ¡s left her Father to live with a new love interest: a woman.

Shawna's Mom, Penny, is very sick, and Shawna has to go see her before it's too late.
Enter Fran (Penny's Wife) and her kids, teen boy Arye and his little brother Schmule. No one is pleased with Shawna's coming over, and no one makes any attempt to hide their feelings. Enter Shawna's Dad, John: control freak, who likes to have everything done his way, or no way at all.

Shawna has to deal with the loss of a Mother she never really knew, a Father who's determined to bring his ex-wife's body with him to NY, against Fran's and Penny's wishes, and a guy she doesn't know, but whom she hates, and who hates her back. In the beginning, at least.

Shawna's always been told what to do, and so, she has a really hard time standing up to her Father. She learns little Schmule is more than Fran's son, and she goes the extra mile to keep him from her Father manipulative grip.

Say The Word is truly the story of a girl -who really could be anyone, anywhere- who's learning to make her own choices in life. This is a confused girl, whether it'd be about her Mother, her sexuality, or her future, that's taking baby steps on to finding her true self.

Monkey Rating: 4 Monkeys

1 monkey thought (s):

Kelly said...

This one looked good from the Amazon description when I saw it, glad to see you liked it too!

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