Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: August 4th, 2015
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, another Swoon Reads release with an absolutely beautiful cover, took me quite by surprise. I guess the "swoon" word made me expect a fluffy, light and cute contemporary read. This one definitely made me swoon, it was occasionally fluffy and cute, but what really blew me away was the way Cozzo delved into the main characters family life and her brother's illness with so much detail, emotion and seriousness.
Jordyn is a definitely a main character for my taste. In many ways, she is quite a complicated character and I do have to admit that several times her actions made me question my feelings towards her. For her whole life, she has struggled with her brother's autism. She has felt that if people know about Phillip, she is always be seen as just "Phillip's sister" and not as her own person. This has made her quite resentful and occasionally slightly bitter towards her parents and Phillip's illness. She is a teenager, living in a world where appearances are important. So yes, she thinks and says things that are hurtful and seem petty, but at the same time, think of yourself as a teenager... didn't it matter to you quite a bit what people thought about you? I know were a not the same, but I think Jordyn deserves my understanding. Keep your eyes and heart open for her - don't give up on her.
After miserable middle school years, Jordyn has been able to keep her home life and her school life separate from each other. Everything changes when the school Phillip has been going to is closed down and Phillip is enrolled to the same high school with Jordyn. Soon, he is known as the "cray-cray" kid, and the worst thing Jordyn can imagine is everyone knowing that Phillip is her brother. It hurt my heart to read about the way the other kids talk about Phillip, mostly because you get the feeling that they do it either because they don't know what Phillip is going through or worse, just so they would fit in. The way Jordyn acts and declines to open her mouth definitely does not help, but as more and more happen and time goes by, the thoughts and understanding of Jordyn evolve and she becomes more aware of what is happening. Jordyn's character development is very well executed and definitely worth a mention.
Though romance isn't the biggest focus of this novel, the chemistry between Jordyn and Alex is palpable. Ever since the summer before, they have been friends, and though Jordyn feels like she would like to be more than just friends, she has never been able to open her heart to Alex. When the new school year starts and Jordyn learns that Alex has a girlfriend, she thinks everything between them is over. But the more they spend time together, the more the chemistry increases. And oh my, Alex definitely is worth swooning. He is honestly just a REALLY good guy who cares about those around her. What's between Alex and Jordyn is not instalove - rather, it is the best kind of "we are going to drag this out for a long time" kind of love you find from the best kind of romantic comedies.
The fact that the author has worked with kids that have different kinds of disabilities really shows from this book, especially when it comes to the way Cozzo writes about the struggle Jordyn's mother goes through. Though I do not have kids of my own and I probably never want to have, I always find it touching to read about mother's who despite everything that is going on are willing to fight for their children. My mother is like that, and I love her for it. Jordyn's mother is like that too, and she definitely deserves my love and respect.
How To Say I Love You Out Loud was a short, quick read that, as I said, took me quite by surprise. Don't be like be a let the "swoon" word fool you. If you are looking for more than just cute romance, look no further.