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What I Didn't Say

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Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.

336 pages, Paperback

First published April 30, 2012

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About the author

Keary Taylor

67 books2,002 followers
Keary Taylor is the USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now splits her time between a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and Utah, with her husband and their two children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night.

Please Note: Keary does not check Goodreads very often, so the best way to get in contact is directly through email: me@kearytaylor.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 973 reviews
Profile Image for Leslie.
Author 10 books187 followers
April 24, 2013
If you know me on GR, you know I usually don't read YA books. Not because they're necessarily unenjoyable or not well written, simply because I can't always relate to the high school drama and immaturity. That being said, this story received great reviews and ratings so I decided, (in my constant search for something "different"), to take the plunge. I am very grateful I did.

Jake Hayes and his large family live on a small island off the coast of Washington state. The community is tight-knit and no one does anything without EVERYONE knowing. Samantha, "Sam" is the new girl at school and catches Jake's eye right off the bat. She's smart, she's beautiful and Jake doesn't know how and is too scared to tell her about the deep feelings he's beginning to develop for her. One night, after a party involving alcohol, Jake makes a horribile decision and gets into a truck driven by an equally drunk driver. That choice changes his life forever as the accident drives a t-post into his neck, ripping out his vocal chords. Weeks later and lucky to be alive, Jake reluctantly returns to school; without his voice and with the horrific scars on his neck, as a constant reminder. Jake thinks his life is over. His love for flying, playing sports and even going into the Airforce has been permanently ripped away. However, his love for Samantha remains, and to his surprise, he finds she can offer a talent he didn't know she possessed to help his disability.

Sam's living situation, however, is a different story. Her life has been going steadily downhill since her mother's illness. The weight on her shoulders and her commitment to keep her grades up, leaves devastating affects on her physical appearance. Soon everyone notices and unfortunately for Sam, things are going to get a whole lot worse. Suddenly, for Jake, his life changing accident dosen't seem so tragic.

This book seriously surprised me. I wasn't expecting so much poignancy and depth. My GR friend, Karla, said it perfectly when she responded to one of my status updates while reading this story by saying, "It kind of punches you in the gut, dosen't it?" Wow, does it ever. I'm actually thinking this book should be required reading for all high school students. It's witty, it's tragic, it's heart wrenching, and it's a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. lovely!
Profile Image for Anna.
483 reviews373 followers
August 30, 2013

So when life seems impossible, when it seems so bad that you can't go on, just stop for a second to take a look at all of the things that you do have. I bet the list will grow pretty fast. And even if it doesn't, you have the power to decide if you're going to let the bad or the good take control of your life.


I LOVED THIS BOOK !! 5 Stars!! What a great story. I went into this book expecting a total tear-fest. The blurb called to me and I mentally prepared myself for heartache. Surprisingly, this book was not as depressing as it could have been. I was actually feeling uplifted ! Face it I love books that go from great tragedy to triumphant end....this book was a great change of pace....it was a constant UPPPP.....a constant YESSSS!!! Monumental triumphs and a huge in-your-face to sobfest!

"Nobody is trial-free, but we have a choice. We can choose to allow our experiences to hold us back, and to not allow us to become great or achieve greatness in this life. Or we can allow our experiences to push us forward, to make us grateful for every day we have and to be all the more thankful for those who are around us."~ Elizabeth Smart

I loved so many things about this book!!! I loved that this book was told from Jake's point of view. Love that he kept a journal and I had the privilege to read his most intimate thoughts.

It had finally taken nearly getting decapitated for Samantha to finally really notice me. I didn't even say, or rather write or wave good-bye as she gave me one more sad look and left, closing the door behind her.

My biggest regret is what I didn't say...Guess that should teach me a lesson about procrastination or something, right? About not putting the really important things in life off? Life can be pretty cruel sometimes.

Jake had such a wonderful family and support system. I was so relieved that he was not outcasted or made the freak-show of his school. I saw myself giving his family a string of high-fives.. and do the football cheer...while leading Jake to victory of adjusting to his new life with no voice.

Samantha's story just about wrecked me. Damn. I wanted to just throw a hedge of protection around her. My mama bear came out in full-force over her story trying to protect this little cub. Jake's situation seem trivial compared to Samantha's trials. I was perfectly clear eyed until certain parts of her story. Then ~ the dam broke. This girl rocked.

They both couldn't say it....but they both showed it....

and I loved reading about it....and getting attacked by book butterflies....

This book was beautiful and emotional. So clean that I have given this a green light to my 15 year old. I will admit, I was a little scared to read this.....there's only so much wreckage I can handle at a time....but I was blown away....this story will stay with me forever.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,906 reviews852 followers
May 13, 2012

This was such a touching and heartwarming story. I loved it!

After getting drunk at a party one night, high-school student, Jake, gets in to a truck with his two friends. This is completely out of character for Jake, he's always listened to his parents when it came to drinking, but after the excitement of winning a game, he ignores their advice and has a few beers too many. Jake has had a long-time crush on Sam, the school braniac, and he's never told her. Being egged on by his buddies, Jake is convinced to go to Sam's house to declare his undying love. Liquid courage makes this seem like a good idea, and they all pile in a truck and head over there. They end up in an accident leaving Jake with his vocal cords ripped out and him being permanently mute. Jakes whole life is turned upside down. His plans for after high school are ruined. When Jake returns to school he finds it a surprise that, Sam of all people, has been working closely with the principal to reconfigure his classes to best suit his current needs. Sam and Jake begin to get close, and he starts to see that Sam has secrets and sadness of her own. Jake finds out that his life might be bad, but others may have it worse.

This had me crying in parts, yet this wasn't a depressing story. Jake struggles with his situation. Here's what he has to say:

"There's a lot of times when I almost feel like I'm trapped inside of myself. Like if I don't talk or yell or scream, or laugh I'm going to explode. A lot of the time it almost feels like I'm suffocating."

I can't even imagine! Jake could easily drown in despair but I love how his family and friends rally around him, and show him love and normalcy. This story was sooo sweet and it had so many important lessons. It underscored the need to be grateful for what we have. Also, I loved how it showed how much helping someone else, can pick you up. Being needed by someone you love, and being able to help them is a satisfying feeling. This is where Jake and Sam bring out the best in each other! There is no frustrating love triangle, yes! The romance is a build-up and oh, so, sweet! Jake is head over heels for this girl:

"I'd developed crushes on other girls, sure, over the last three years. But it always came back to Samantha Shay. Always."

Jake and Sam have a bumpy road to recovery and love, but watching them take the journey was so enjoyable.

I couldn't write this review without mentioning the note the author leaves us with at the end. She shares something very personal, and I just want to say I'm so glad she did. It makes this book even more special knowing her experience.

Thank you to Keary Taylor and Netgalley for allowing me to read this story!
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,882 reviews5,800 followers
April 22, 2014
**2.5 stars**

I think I'm in the minority here when I say I didn't love this book. I liked it, it was cute, but I had some issues with it that really got under my skin.

First of all, my main qualm is that people who lose their vocal cords do not only have the option of writing things down, sign language, or being mute. That is just silly and not well researched.

Now I'm going to get all dorky on you Goodreads. Fair warning... Citing Wikipedia, following a laryngectomy (when a person has their larynx, the voice box that houses the vocal cords damaged or removed from illness) person has the following options:

1)Voice functions are generally replaced with a voice prosthesis placed in the tracheo esophageal puncture created by the surgeon. The voice prosthesis is a one-way air valve that allows air to pass from the lungs/trachea to the esophagus when the patient covers the stoma. The redirected air vibrates the esophageal tissue producing a hoarse voice in lieu of the larynx
2)A second method is the use of an electrolarynx. An electrolarynx is an external device that is placed against the neck and creates vibration that the speaker then articulates. The sound has been characterized as mechanical and robotic.
3)A third method is called esophageal speech. The speaker pushes air into the esophagus and then pushes it back up, articulating speech sounds to speak. This method is time-consuming and difficult to learn and is seldom used by laryngectomees

Okay, I know the book didn't have to go into any of this detail but I would have liked maybe some discussion of his options. He may have not opted to do any of those things but it irked me that they just were like "hey, you're mute! Get used to it!"

Similarly, why couldn't Jake take Spanish class? He can't write in Spanish? Should he not take English classes as well? That makes no sense. Maybe he would have to drop a public speaking class but anything else just is silly. And further aggravating to me.

Moving on...

I also didn't like the lack of heat between the characters. There was was no passion there. It was like a deep friendship to me. It didn't have to be x-rated but a little more umph would have been nice. He was also so virginal that it didn't seem realistic. Most 18 year old guys would be trying to make moves left and right. He was very restrained. I didn't respond well to that.

Well, after all that bashing, I did enjoy that story. I thought the scene-setting was well done and the writing was good. It just didn't surprise me at all, and I didn't connect with it as much as I wanted to.
Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,096 followers
May 18, 2012

4 ½ Stars! Tragic, yet wonderful!

I read this last week, and can’t stop thinking about it. I needed a few days to get my thoughts together. Some of these YA books have such an emotional impact, and in this case it has to do with the fact that it’s told from Jake’s point-of-view. So, as he’s experiencing these life changing events, you feel them right along with him. You are not an outsider looking in, you become Jake! It was downright overwhelming, bowled me over.

Jake has liked Samantha since his freshman year, but the two of them have only flirted and skirted around their attraction for one another, but never acted upon it. However, he notices at the start of their senior year that she has become somewhat distant. So, on the urging of his friends, Carter and Rain, he decides to declare his love to Sam, before he loses her forever. Problem is, they’ve been partying and shouldn’t be driving, but they do, and it becomes the biggest regret of Jake’s life.

He wakes up in the hospital and when he does, I felt like choking...I knew what was coming, but it was still like a punch in the gut and I could barely breathe!!

“I’m afraid we weren’t able to save your vocal chords.”
“You’re not going to be able to talk again.”

And so, Jake’s journey into his voiceless world begins. One of his first thoughts upon hearing this devastating news is that he never told Samantha that he loved her. I know you’re probably thinking, why would that be what matter to him the most?! BUT when you’re seventeen, or for that matter anyone who’s suffered a trauma, you think about the strangest things. He’s young and in love, so I got it. Of course he has other thoughts going through his mind and I felt all his pain and confusion as he struggled to move ahead without a voice.

I loved how Jake’s family and friends rallied around him, and in due time he realizes that they are struggling right along with him. He is encouraged to learn sign-language, but primarily uses note books to communicate…his “paper voice”. He has moments of self-pity, understandably so. Samantha becomes one of his biggest supporters and when she reveals to him the events that have changed her life, it becomes his mission to save and protect her. It’s also his “light bulb” moment…he might have lost his ability to speak, but he is more than his voice! He has loving family, great friends and a community that care about him.

The story is told as a timeline, with Jake counting down the days to specific events. As your reading, check out the chapter headings and see how they change throughout the book, they 'speak' volumes. This is my first read from this author, but I will definitely look into her other books, I loved her writing style.

** An afterthought**
I don’t know if you ever take time to read the author’s notes, but I find myself doing this more and more. Sometimes it will give you a warning about the book’s content, the inspiration for writing the book, or possibly events in the author’s own life that motivated them to put pen to paper. Such is the case with Keary Taylor. So, if you read the book, take a moment to read her story and you will see how her own experience allowed her to express Jake’s feelings so poignantly.
Profile Image for rameau.
553 reviews187 followers
August 14, 2012

I’m done. I’m just so done.

Lately, apparently, I’ve been drawn to books where the main character has some kind of disability. There was Seraphina where the main character was half human, half dragon and disfigured with scales, and then there was Sight Unseen, a promising m/m romance that ended up just being just an offending mess to all blind people (at least in the opinion of this sighted person).

So, naturally, when I saw this book about a boy who loses his ability to speak, I was intrigued. Remembering the Buffy episode Hush and how forced silence was used to enhance communication between couples, I was hoping for the best. That Jake’s inability to use speech would squash the telling and do wonders for the showing.

I was sorely disappointed.

In fact, I believe the only part where showing was appropriately used was in the detailing of Jake’s accident that led to the loss of his vocal chords. Quite literally.

That’s what not bothered me, the location of the hospital he was taken to did. Seattle. Oh, well, I thought. Other people can write books set in the general area too, and it’s not like they lived in there. Jake and his family lived outside of Seattle on an island name of which I can’t remember right now. Then there was Jake’s obsession with Air Force and joining up right after graduation, and his unrequited love for Samantha Shay, the good girl student with an absent mother and a father who’d walked out of their lives many a year ago.

All something I could ignore and blame on genre clichés.

Then there were the things that I didn’t like and that brought down the impending rating. There was the mockery of school assembly or forced AA meeting for teens, the casual slut shaming, the dismissal of language studies because he can’t speak—it apparently means he can’t read or write let alone hear and understand another tongue. And there was the overall quality of writing, which found poor and lacking.

All things that frayed my nerves until I read that line.

“It felt like currents of electricity were running through the two of us-“

That was one cliché too many. At 45%, I’m done.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sheri.
390 reviews60 followers
January 21, 2013
What I Didn't Say is a captivating, emotional story. We follow the story through Jake's point of view as he comes to term with the consequences of his actions. After getting drunk with some friends one night and getting into a car accident, Jake's life is changed forever. No longer able to speak, he must learn how to come to terms with his disability and communicate again, not only with his family but with the rest of the world as well.

Through the story we watch Jake grow, although he does have setbacks, and he also learns that he's not the only one with problems. Enter Sam. Jake had been crushing on Samantha since she first moved to their town. As the two become closer, Jake learns that, although she appears perfect on the outside, she is struggling with her own troubles.

I enjoyed watching the changing dynamics of Jake's life and his relationship with Sam. I think this story was all the more powerful because it could be true. Everything that happened to Jake could happen to any teen today in real life.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews768 followers
June 12, 2012
What I didn’t Say is the heart felt story of Jake, who’s been in love with Sam since the first day of freshman year. For the last three years she’s always been on his mind, when he sits next to her in class he gets that warm zingy feeling and last summer he was sure she was flirting back, but then when school re-started again, Sam went back to how she was before; acting like a good friend. Jake has wanted to tell her how’s he felt, but never had the courage to do so. But out one night at a party, he’s finally had enough he’s decided it’s time to tell her the truth. May be it’s the alcohol talking, but Jake doesn’t care. So Jake piles into his friend Carter’s car about to make a monumental decision in his life but slightly worse for wear. However what was meant to be a life changing opportunity quickly goes downhill, with Carter crashing the car. Rain and Carter, Jake’s friends are left with a few cuts and bruises, but Jake’s left with the worst of it; he’s damaged his vocal chords so bad that he won’t be able to talk again, he feels like his hearts been stomped on, as his chance of telling Sam how he feels has been crushed, but not only that his dreams of joining the air force has also been shattered. What’s a guy like Jake to do?

It was truly heart wrenching at times watching Jake struggle without his voice, always scrambling around for a note book and pen. And no-one could actually really know how he felt. It was a lonely period for him, being cooped up with his thoughts and feelings all the time and only being able to let them out on a bit of paper.

I think Taylor did a fantastic job with What I didn’t Say, parts of the story could be a bit predictable and clichéd, but she allowed us to fully get into the mind of Jake and understood how he was feeling. I enjoyed getting to know his character by reading about his feelings, and the inner struggle and turmoil within him. But I also liked the path his book went down it wasn’t full with self-pity, regret or abandoning hope. But acceptance, accepting what life has thrown at you, and using it as a way to move forward in life.

What made this book even more realistic was the fact that this story was based on the author’s personal experience and something close to her heart.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

This review and more can also be found on my blog: The Readers Den
Profile Image for Angelina.
226 reviews32 followers
January 24, 2014
What I didn't say.... is a very inspiring and heartwarming story.

“I wanted to scream as I stood there, my toes hanging over the edge of the dock. I wanted to let a gut-wrenching howl rip from my disfigured throat toward those clouded skies. I wanted to say every swear word my mother had ever taught me not to say.
I would have settled for a cut-off whimper, just as long as some kind of sound came from my lips.”

One stupid mistakes changes everything.. when Jake got into accident and loose his vocal cords on the night that he grow some balls to tell Samantha his feelings. Since then things were never be the same with Jake.

“Not being able to talk sucks. There's no doubt about that. There's a lot of times when I almost feel like I'm trapped inside of myself. Like if I don't talk or yell or scream or laugh I'm going to explode. A lot of the time it almost feels like I'm suffocating.”

As the things goes by Samantha and Jake became close friends but the thing is Jake didn't know things about Sam that this girl is carrying a lot baggage in life until one night he found out her secrets.

The journey of two people falling in love and learning things about life..

The first thing you will learn about reading this is that the story will inspires you in a lot of ways and that we should be grateful to the things we have in life. Honestly I'm a bit teary eyed reading this.. touches my hearth about this girl Sam.

Such a great read and love everything about it.

“It was perfect moments like that that made all the bad ones worth living through.”

Profile Image for Tanja (Tanychy).
589 reviews258 followers
July 20, 2012
Here I'm again, with my all time I'll try not to give 5 stars to every book that make me cry "problem". At the end I always manage not to listen to myself. I know that a lot of you won't agree with me about this book and yes true, maybe it doesn't deserve 5 stars and maybe the writing could've been better and so on. But I enjoyed in this book and that's the only thing that matters.

It's hard to say anything about the story as too much is said in the summary. If you, like me, don't read blurbs then you'll be surprised or better said shocked, again as me, when you find out about the accident. Jake is like any other senior year student. He plays football, hangs out with his friend and thinks about his future. Everything seemed normal until the accident. He thinks that for him everything is over, because he is not like "normal" people again. He is mute. Only after one person shows him her real self and everything she bares on her shoulders he will understand that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you.

So this is story about teenagers and all the stupid decisions they make, all the doubts they have and all the words and actions that they're afraid to say or make. This is also the story about life. At the end this is the story that will made you consider your actions and maybe change your views. That's why I'm putting this book on my YA Saves Reading Challenge.

***NOTE: Copy of this book is provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thank you.
I'm not paid for writing review - I do this for free as a lover of written word. All opinions in this review are personal.
Profile Image for Jamie.
788 reviews141 followers
May 22, 2018
Two stars only for Sam! None for Jake because he was a self-pitying douchebag who almost hooked up with the girl who started rumors about and bullied Sam, his GIRLFRIEND whom he loves “SO” much, and wouldn’t have regretted it if she hadn’t seen it happen. He also feels sorry for this girl when he sees her with “no one she cares about” at prom. This being after he found out she was the one who ratted out Sam to the police and got her taken away by her absent drunken father. Total douche
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jeannine Allison.
Author 13 books512 followers
August 15, 2017
WOW! I am blown away. This was so, so good! At first I didn't think I was going to like the set up but I ended up really LOVING it. I liked having such a secure timeline and I liked how the things Jake was looking forward to started changing. I also felt like the line between recognizing your problems and drowning in self pity was handled very well. Both characters had shitty situations but they did their best not to let it define them. It's also very rare to find a solely male POV engaging for me but I was never annoyed with Jake's narrative, I actually quite enjoyed it. This did NOT read like a YA novel and I would absolute recommend it to anyone. You won't regret it ;)
Profile Image for Donna ~ The Romance Cover.
2,761 reviews317 followers
December 16, 2015
This was recommended to me as a tear jerker and I have to be honest and say I didn't shed a tear. I am a cry baby so it is extremely unusual.

This was a heart felt read, it covered a few tough subjects and my heart went out to him after his accident. I loved the premise but for me it was all too saccharine sweet and just a cute read. I did enjoy it but it was more a like than a love (full review to come)
Profile Image for AMythicalBeast.
166 reviews64 followers
July 18, 2012
What I expected on first picking up this book --

A boy losing his voice in an accident and a love story where he wins his girl despite new obstacles originating from his own insecurities and social scrutiny. Basically a story about a boy learning not only to accept his disability but to triumph inspite of it. Heart warming stuff. I want to read!

What I got halfway through the book --

Everything I expected above PLUS a parallel emerging storyline about Sam - this girl he's trying to win. He's won her, but the real point of conflict isn't that, it is the girl's own life and the baggages that she has -- does Jake have it in him to handle them and keep his girl?

What I decided I loved about the book by the time I flipped to the last page --

The writing style is comfortingly 'young adult romance', but I loved reading the story from Jake's sole perspective. The girl he's fallen for is complicated. Jake has plenty to deal with after the accident and he doesn't realize for quite some time that life could have been so much harder. It's through Sam that Jake realizes that losing his voice isn't the end of the world. That he has a warm supportive family and friends who're trying very hard to make everything go back to normal for him. That not everyone can say they have the same.
But knowing that theoretically and understanding that from a very close perspective are two different things. He knows he should be stronger, but it's watching Sam that he understands how much strength life truly asks for sometimes.

I especially loved the ups and downs of their relationship. That Sam and Jake's feeling deepened over the course of months, not days; that there was something beyond just shared interests and a few dates binding them. It was quiet support when things got desperate and laughter even when the spirits were down.

I think I would have ended up giving this book about three stars if all I got from it was what I had expected. But the author gave me two characters to invest my affections in and I rooted for them both and admired their individual strengths. I liked this book immensely. Just because it was from the boy's perspective the narrative wasn't made unnecessarily edgy or coarse. I never thought it was a woman's voice narrating the story. It was Jake, denizen of a small island with a tiny population and the son of a mother who'd implanted an anti-cussing button in his head.

Don't I have any complaints at all?

Now what kind of review would that be? =D

So here are the few things that I did stumble at. Jake had to write down almost everything he wanted to communicate in the first months after the accident. Now I have a hunch about human nature. When we get excited we tend to skip words to get the sentences out quicker. When we used to exchange notes in class, our hurried communications would skip formalities and read like -

ME: meet nxt period. 3rd flr. back stairs.
ME: band practise
BFF: right.
ME: ;D
BFF: (nothing)
ME: game?
BFF: cant
ME: plz!
BFF: Eng cls.
ME: bunk
BFF: asgnmt due
ME: pretty plz!
BFF: get sspndd
ME: pfft!

You get the idea. =D But Jake here writes in long sentences. He keeps thinking that all conversations happened in slow motion around him now, but that didn't shorten his written responses. He didn't even 'disemvowel' his words like we do in text messages. Where's the teenage impatience?

Next, the school 'slut' with a grudge against Sam and then later Jake. There was no reason for this girl to be part of the plot. She was one dimensional and simply there to serve one purpose -

Finally, I could see that the author meant the story to be a warning against indulging in drinks and drugs. My problem is that she doesn't deal with this with the same finesse she used when exploring Jake's disability and Sam's situation. It just crops up randomly.

And that's all, folks!

DISCLAIMER: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Malina Skrobosinski.
240 reviews96 followers
June 25, 2017
I'm not sure where to even begin reviewing this book.

Here we learn about a 17 year old young man who suffers a tragic accident that causes him to lose his ability to speak. For those of us fortunate enough to still have all our senses, I'm sure you've all imagined at some point or another in your lifetime what it would be like if you suddenly lost one of these senses? When I was 24 years old I came very close to losing sight in my right eye from a detached retina. Fortunately with surgery, my vision was restored (not perfectly), and I am now able to see with corrective lenses. I was 24 years old, not 17, and it was terrifying! My point is, I could not imagine what it would be like to have something like this happen at such a young age. The adolescent mind is such a fragile thing, it's still learning and developing, and lets face it, teens just don't see the world the way adults do. Everything seems to be on a bigger scale, more dramatic and extreme. Not getting asked to the prom, or breaking up with your girlfriend/boyfriend is a tragedy to the adolescent mind. To suffer a real tragedy... well... that just takes the adolescent mind to a much darker place. That's where I felt the novel lacked for me. I never quite felt like Jake got to that dark place. Maybe that's a bit morbid of me to say, but I think back to my adolescent days, and everything was practically the end of the world.

Just before Jake can reach the darkness as I like to call it, Sam, Jake's love interest pulls Jake back to reality and shows him all the things in life that he still has to be grateful for. It's here that we learn that Sam has also suffered a tragedy recently, one that hasn't left her life with what many would feel is a lot to look forward to. Sam, however, determined to not let her situation deter her from her goals puts everything on the line to keep her secrets hidden from her classmates and the rest of the islanders, only confiding in Jake. It's here that we see the story develop and these two individuals who have suffered such tragedies come together to overcome them against all odds.

While I did feel there was some raw emotion missing from this story, it's a good one nonetheless. There's a message to be found here, I get that's what the author was trying to portray. Life may come with unexpected surprises, and not always for the better. As Jake puts it "It would be easy to get pissed off at the universe for changing my plans, but what good is that going to do me?" Sometimes, the universe has a way of putting things into motion even when you don't want them to, or you're not ready for it. As the old cliché goes "Things happen for a reason." I suppose that reason is up to you.
Profile Image for Nikki.
962 reviews255 followers
February 11, 2015
This book blew me away! I don't typically read YA since they're usually a little too tame for my tastes, but every now and then I stumble across one that is so worth it. What I Didn't Say most definitely falls in that category. This is a book I've had on my tbr for a long time and had gotten lost in the mix. I ran across it last night and something about it was calling me in a way I knew I needed to read it right now. So I did. I stayed up all night until I just couldn't hold my eyes open any more. Then when I got up today I finished it. It was an amazing story that broke my heart, made me cry, and slapped me in the face. It made me take a look at my life, which has been having some serious ups and downs lately, and appreciate the things that are up. I think it was the perfect book that I just really needed and it came to me at the right time. I can say with certainty, this was without a doubt, one of the best books I have ever read. I cant even begin to describe all the emotions this heart wrenching tale of two high school kids dealing with such grown up and heartbreaking trials of life brought out in me. You never really think about the things we take for granted until they're gone. Or in this case, you read a book that straight up socks you in the gut with a message so strong you can't help but stop and take a look at your life and be thankful for all you have. ❤

This is the first book by Ms. Taylor that I've read and with all the praise I gave it, you know it won't be the last! The story flowed and there was never a dull moment. The characters were so well written that I felt what they felt throughout. I've also never read a book that was totally from the male's pov. I felt that Ms. Taylor did an awesome job with that as well. And even though this story was about teenagers, I didn't feel like it was too "young" for me. I was engrossed the entire time. I'm so happy that this was my first book for this year. Hopefully it's a sign of more great books to come! :-)

My Jake and Samantha:

Profile Image for Eunice.
255 reviews524 followers
May 23, 2012
3.5 stars

After reading the blurb I thought it was a heavy read. Because, you see, it involves some devastating and depressing incidents. But surprisingly it was not, in fact it was actually a pretty light read but with great in depth lessons. I was touched and moved by this story and although I think I get a bit teary-eyed on some parts it wasn't really a depressing story.

Jake's story was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. And I couldn't help but be impressed by this boy and by the way he faced and accepted his situation. Jake didn't let himself be overcome by self-pity even when I know it was hurting him really bad. I was waiting for him to breakdown and cry and get angry over his loss but he never did and I was really touched by it I think I teared up a little.

Sam was a really strong character. I didn't like her right away and how she reacted on some stuffs on the earlier parts but when I learned her story I finally like and understand her. Through her Jake was able to realized that he has a lot to be happy about despite not being able to speak. I really love how Jake and Sam were able to find and save each other.

The love story was sweet and very touching. I did find some bits of it a little corny and some dramas had me saying 'ohkaaaay' but sill the message and lessons the author wanted the reader to see was very well conveyed. It was beautiful and poignant. There are so many things in this world we should be grateful about and shouldn't be taken for granted, that there are a lot worse out there that we couldn't even imagine but we have to see the good things we have even the simplest things.

Overall, this was a very heartwarming and touching book that teaches great and wonderful lessons. I really enjoyed it and I love to recommend this to you guys! :))

Thank you Kaery Taylor and Netgalley for providing a review copy!

This review is also posted at Book Overdose
Profile Image for Savannah (Books With Bite).
1,399 reviews186 followers
June 7, 2012
Ms. Taylor is hands down, one of my favorite self-published authors. Her books are always written
with great depth. And it's no wonder why I instantly fell in love with this book.

There is so much in the story that I what to just gush about. For instance, the plot line. How can you express your emotions if you can no longer talk? Convey what you have felt for years and in a swift moment have it all taken away from you? The plot line alone intrigued me to read faster. The way Ms. Taylor leads the reader into Jake shoes, leaves me with a serious book high.

The love interest just triples my love for this book. With a serious communication strain, it's easy for the reader to be amused and laugh at the attempts to...well communicate. Some parts are so sad cause you just want to words spoken, while other moments leaves you breathless.

Take it from me when I say that this author needs to be put on your "books I must read list." What I Didn't Say speaks to the reader as if you are the character. Thoughtful and engaging, What I Didn't Say captures the irony in love and words. It's not in all what you say, but in what you do.
Profile Image for Wanda Hartzenberg.
Author 6 books72 followers
December 28, 2013
What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor


Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.

My review

Every now and again you come across a book with such an amazingly new and fresh take on life that you know as you read it that the story will stick to you like gum on your shoe. This is such a story.

Living the life of Jake who lost his vocal cords in days and weeks to the countdown of his girlfriend Sam's 18th birthday is an amazing journey. Jake is such a real boy that I as a reader became so invested in his story that it felt as if I knew Jake and eventually also Sam! For a character with no voice Jake sure knows how to express himself and integrate his views upon that of the reader.

The Island becomes a character all it's own. During world building the author did an amazing job in making the life, love and trials of these teenagers real and tangible.

Somehow 5* seems not enough for this amazing read. Suffice it to say that the second I got hooked on this story I immediately went and downloaded two free books by the same author. Yes I loved it that much.


Amazon link:


Two free books available on Amazon.

Here is the first:


Profile Image for Vicki.
2,283 reviews88 followers
January 4, 2020
This was a very heart-warming story of a young boy and the effects of drinking and driving. More than that, it was also a story of young love and two teens facing very difficult circumstances.

This is my second reading of this book.

I previously read this book back in 2013 and I really liked it a lot. When I started to read the book this time around I didn't realize that I had already read it before because I had a different edition/cover. But I decided to go ahead and read it anyway because I was really enjoying the book.

The story focuses around Jake Hayes and the girl he crushes on and falls in love with, Samantha Shay. The live on Orcas Island, where the population is small and everyone knows everybody else. He falls for Sam when he's a freshman and wants to tell her he loves her but is too afraid, until one night he is drinking with his friends and gets brave enough. So they head to her so Jake can tell her but on the way they have a bad car accident and Jake is has permanent injuries.

As a result of their wreck the entire school they all attend makes some changes. It is life-altering and Jake and Sam find out a lot about themselves. Sam has a secret she's keeping and she elicits Jakes's help to keep her secret. He wants so badly to tell her that he loves her but for a special reason she doesn't want him to say those words.
Profile Image for Mery St. Clair.
288 reviews13 followers
May 23, 2012
Antes que nada, muchas gracias a Keary Taylor, la autora, por este ARC.

Tenía muchas expectativas de este libro, es decir, ¡Que buena sinopsis! El libro no me defraudo, el tiempo leyendolo se paso volando, y sin darme cuenta llegué a la última hoja. Si te agradan los libros YA con una dosis justa de drama, y no el típico superficial chica-conoce-chico-nuevo, ¡What I did't say es tu elección!

No sé como yo pudiera arreglarmelas para vivir y comunicarme con los demás sin mi voz, sencillamente no podría, es algo que admire de Jake, a pesar de que al inició de su accidente se aislo y se cerró en sí mismo, poco a poco comenzó a salir adelante.

El libro tiene la dosis de drama, romance y una pluma fluida que hace de la historia una lectura amena.

¿Los "Peros"? Que definitivamente es un libro muy corto, sentí que algunas escenas debieron haberse alargado un poco más; Encontré una que otra falta de ortografía; Y los cliche, que aunque me encantan, en esta ocasión me hicieron rodar fuertemente los ojos. Es decir, ¿Tenía que saber Sam el lenguaje de señas? Que casualidad u.u

En fin, a pesar de esos detalles, disfrute muchisimo del libro, me hizo suspirar y llevarme la mano al corazón varias veces, ¡Cumplió mis expectativas!

Bastante recomendable. :)
Profile Image for Kenny Danewitz raveh.
522 reviews21 followers
November 17, 2018
3.5 stars. It was an easy nice read, the beginning of the book was very good, it was Jake’s (a guy’s POV is always refreshing) and I loved it.
Somewhere along the book the story shifted and I felt it wasn’t his story anymore.
I think this would have been a perfect book to some younger audience but I just couldn’t really feel it all the way.
Profile Image for Brooke.
956 reviews188 followers
June 1, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 326
Rating: 3 Stars

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Keary Taylor via Net Galley for review.
This is the story of Jake, a teenage boy who has everything: a great family, good friends, a spot on the football team, a crush on Sam (who he says he has loved forever). Then one tragic night Jake makes the mistake of his life: drinking with his friends and then going for a ride. The ride ends in tragedy with Jake being injured beyond repair. He loses his vocal chords and, thus, his ability to speak. The story unfolds showing his growth during the process of learning to heal, learning what love really is, and becoming a man. He bonds with Sam and they grow to love each other by learning to overcome his disability and the tragedy that has recently happened in her life.
This book is a rollar coaster of emotions as the two teens come to terms with how they need to change their lives in order to pursue their dreams. I felt an immediate connection to the main character, feeling both saddened by his situation and inspired by his ability to try and see past it; to learn something from it. It made me laugh in spots and then a few pages later made me cry. It's the story of becoming inspired, overcoming adversity and rising above obstacles.
The book starts out strong, with the main even happening right at the beginning. Jake realizes he must deal with his inability to communicate without his voice. His family is very supportive. We feel their pain at Jake's loss and their happiness, at the same time, because they still have Jake around. We see Jake pull away from family and friends. We see him angry and frustrated as he tries to learn sign language and communicates mostly through the written word. He spends much of the book nodding his head, raising his eyebrows, making hand gestures, furrowing his brow. All body gestures we may use every day with our verbalizations of how we feeling. But he does not have the ability to verbalize, so people must learn to read him and understand him by those gestures.
Then there's Sam, the girl Jake has loved for so long. She is brainy and, according to him, doesn't seem to see anything outside of her studies. Little does he know that she has had her own tragedy in her life. She is as broken as Jake is, but for other reasons: she has no family and has to fend for herself. We see her slowly deteriorate and close down. She becomes disheveled and loses a lot of weight. Finally, she confides in Jake that her mom had died the summer before and she has been living on her own, fending for herself with no one to help her. But her secret doesn't last for long when one of her school mates turns her in and her abusive, drunken father comes and takes her away.
It is not long before we see the two teens reunited and profess their love for one another.
I have to say that when I first started the story I did not know the main character was male. The voice just did not strike me that way. And even throughout the story, I thought the voice was more on the feminine side. But perhaps this was showing the sensitive man that Jake really was.
I did note there were quite a few editorial error (spelling, grammatical) that stood out to me, tho they did not take away from the story for me, which is good. I was never bored with the story, in fact, I finished it in less than 24 hours time because it kept me wanting to know what would happen next.
I loved that Taylor included an author's note at the end explaining why the story line was so near and dear to her heart; and why it was so hard for her to write, even though she knew it had to be done. Once I read the note, I felt even more connected to the characters. It caused me to reflect on what it was like being a teenager who had no disabilities to overcome. It made me realize how lucky I was and how lucky I still am to be able to hear, see, talk, smell and taste.
The thing that stands out most for me in this story is the fact that most of us take for granted the ability to say those three little words to our family and friends: I love you. What if you could not say those words? What if the person you loved was never able to hear your voice again? Would you try and overcome this adversity or would it shatter you into pieces?
If you want an action packed story, this is not it. This is a simple story of learning how to love, how to let go, how to grow. I very much enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Taylor's writing in the future.
Profile Image for Sandra .
1,770 reviews316 followers
September 12, 2012
This review is also available at My Fiction Nook.

Imagine you're a teenage boy living on a small island in the PNW, population about 5,000. Everybody knows everybody else. You hang with your friends, you make eyes at pretty girls, you play football and you dream of getting out of Dodge as soon as you graduate. The Airforce has accepted you, and you love to fly, so you're really looking forward to your future, so much so that you're counting down the weeks and months.

You're invincible. You're almost eighteen, and your Senior year is looking damn fine. You study hard and play harder. Sure, there's that one girl who caught your eye a while back, but she's out of your league and not really in your circle of friends. Samantha Shay is poised to be the valedictorian, and there may possibly be something not quite right with her, but hey, that's her loss, if she doesn't want you, right?

And still, you can't quite forget about her, so one drunken night right before your Homecoming game, your addled brain confesses to your friends that you're in love with her. You say it - out loud - and then you get this crazy idea in your head that you should tell her, to her face, right now.

So you get into your car, with your equally drunken friends, and on the way to her house, you get into an accident, and subsequently you lose your ability to speak.

That is the premise of What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor. The story is told from Jake's perspective, and it sucked me in to the point where I simply couldn't stop reading, forgoing sleep to finish it in one sitting.

The author brilliantly captured the voice of an American teenager, who finds his dreams shattered due to an act of stupidity that can never be taken back. I cried and wailed and ranted with Jake when he wakes up in the hospital to find out about the extent of his injuries. Those scenes were exquisitely captured and the author made me feel all the pain and confusion and desperation Jake experiences.

As the story progresses and Jake finds out what's going on with Samantha, the author lets them be teenagers. The way they both deal with the situations are exactly what I would have done at that age, and the ups and downs they go through and learn from are very realistically portrayed.

And yet, this story is about more than two teenagers turned friends turned boyfriend/girlfriend. It's about forgiveness, about family, about support from friends, about looking out for each other, and about doing the right thing, even when that is hard.

A couple of things that were a bit jarring - Orcas Island is not in the Pacific Ocean. I read that reference a few times to make sure I understood it correctly. When taking the ferry to the Island, you're not in the Pacific Ocean. Google Maps will show you that with a simple click. I'm a stickler for that sort of thing, and this jarred me out of the flow.

Also, when using a foreign language (in this case, German) in your writing, please consult with a native speaker to verify that what you're saying in that language is actually accurate. This was not. I know this for a fact, because I am German.

There's some slut shaming in this book, but since it's told from the perspective of a 17/18 yo boy, I can excuse that as being an accurate portrayal of that mindset.

What was slightly unbelievable to me was that Samantha managed to fool everyone about her situation for so long - that, considering how small the island is, didn't ring quite true.

Overall, this is an excellent novel, with realistic dialogue, showcasing with great accuracy the mindset of teenagers and the lessons they have to learn. What I really appreciated was that this novel is not dreary and Debbie Downer all the time, especially considering the situations the two young lovers have to deal with. There's plenty of humor as well, and it really made this a very special book to read.

It's definitely one I'll re-read in the future.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,064 followers
August 17, 2012
Keary Taylor's "What I Didn't Say" turned out to be a decent read for me overall, though it's very much a simple teen chick-lit novel that follows in some genre clichés and has some distracting elements that affected my reading experience of it.

The premise is an interesting one: following a car accident, Jake has a significant throat injury that causes him to lose his voice. Life after the accident proves no easy adjustment, and Jake has many regrets, including not telling the girl he loves how he feels about her. In the initial stages after his accident, he goes through various stages of grief, but realizes that his family and the people around his community are willing to help him recuperate, including Sam, his love interest. Sam seems to have her own share of problems and isn't willing to open up about them at first, but the more that Jake gets to know her, the closer they become, and soon Jake realizes that Sam has a tragic circumstance of her own.

I felt the real story began when Jake was in the accident and comes to the realization that he'll never speak again. His grief is palpable for the most part, though I think some odd stretches were taken with his assumptions of living with his disability. For instance, I didn't like the fact the book communicated that Jake could no longer take Spanish because he couldn't "speak" it - it felt very heavy handed and wasn't accurate in its blunt assumption. I also didn't like how the school made an example of Jake's disability with the assembly against drunk driving and signing the pledge - it felt manipulative and it was clear that Jake regretted drinking and driving in his actions that night. Still, I was able to swallow those qualms and move forward with the story.

Sam is a girl whom he relates with and helps him along in the healing process by teaching him to communicate in ASL. The two grow closer and as Jake yearns to tell her how he feels, he learns that she's keeping a major secret of her own, which explains her condition as perceived by other students at the school. The two have their share of ups and downs with Sam's living conditions, and the novel does pace itself well between a number of obstacles facing the couple. I think the interactions between Sam and Jake are what make the story stand out as well as it does. I could've done without the continual food analogies, the slut shaming (Norah the Whora), among other odd elements that peppered the description/depiction here, though - because it didn't endear me in the way they were used. Nonetheless, the overarching conflicts are genuine, and the resulting interactions and relationship built upon between Sam and Jake are that which I liked watching through the novel in its best moments. It ties up a little neater than I expected, but reflecting on the novel as a whole, despite places where it didn't click with me for faults, I did like watching the evolving central relationship and Jake coping with his disability in spurts.

Overall score: 3/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, self-published by the author.
Profile Image for Athena.
366 reviews4 followers
May 13, 2014
3 Aweeee Stars

Puss and boots GIF photo: Puss In Boots tumblr_lveqn2eRMT1qjyirdo1_500.gif

After Jake Hayes loses his voice in a horrible car accident, he realizes one of his biggest regrets is that he never told Samantha Shay how he feels about her.

Samantha Shay is the smartest girl at Orcas High School who doesn't believe in love and her only goal right now is doing well in high school.

Jake has always loved Sam from afar, but during a class debate Jake discoveres that Sam doesn't believe in love and from that moment on he's too gun shy to tell Sam how he feels.

Let me start by saying that this was a very sweet story. Unfortunetly it was a little too vanilla for my taste!

vanilla ice cream photo: ice cream ice-cream-cone.jpg

The story was well written and I really loved Samantha. She was a smart, strong, young lady that kept pushing through all the obstacles life kept throwing at her. Jake was a very sweet young man, but he was a little too passive for my taste. I like my male leads to be outspoken and the take charge kind of guy. For a guy who played on the football team and seemed pretty popular, he was a bit to shy for this role.

Anyway, if you know a teen who likes to read then you should highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Jenny Q.
1,008 reviews54 followers
August 29, 2012
I really liked the first half of this book, which introduced us to Jake Hayes, a popular senior who had it all, and then followed his struggle to put his life back together after a drunken crash robbed him not only of his voice, but of his confidence and his passions and his dreams, too. The premise really intrigued me, Jake won my heart right away, and I couldn't wait to see how he would find the courage to tell his life-long crush Samantha that he loved her when he had never been able to do so before when he could still speak. I loved the depiction of life on a small island and the dynamics of a large, close-knit family, and I thought the unraveling of his relationships with his friends who were also in the accident but not badly hurt was very realistic. It was pretty emotional at times watching Jake cope with his new reality, and his increasing closeness with Sam was sweet and heartwarming.

But then the book shifted focus from Jake and the repercussions of his accident to Samantha and her home life problems, and that wasn't what I wanted to read about. It would have made a nice subplot, but having it take over Jake's story didn't really work for me. And that monumental scene I'd been waiting for since before I started reading ended up being rather anti-climactic and uneventful. It's by no means a bad book and I give it props for tackling serious subject matter, and there are plenty of glowing reviews, so if it intrigues you, read it. But for me it didn't quite live up to my expectations.
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews332 followers
May 6, 2012
What an amazing story about how making a wrong choice can end in truly devastating lifelong consequences, overcoming the tough challenges life throws at you and fully appreciating what you have because it can always be worse.

This book was sweet - both heartbreaking AND heartwarming.

I love the characters in this book. I like how Jake and Sam felt real. I admit, Taylor may have a gone a little overboard making the situation for both Jake and Sam just downright terrible - how can it get any worse? But I like how it didn't feel like it was too much to where it's just totally gut-wrenching. Despite their situation, the two did not really wallow in self-pity, and they'll have their low moments, but they work it out and focus on staying strong and overcoming what they have to face.

I teared up in a few places, , but Taylor did an amazing job of sucking me into the story so much that I was totally consumed with sympathizing with the two characters.

*SIGH* I just have no other words for this book.
Profile Image for Christina (Ensconced in Lit).
984 reviews287 followers
July 24, 2012
I was sent a copy of this book from the author through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I requested it because I loved Keary Taylor's Eden.

This book is a departure from that one, which is nice, because I love authors with versatility. What I didn't Say, focuses on two people, Jake, an ordinary teenaged boy who gets into a horrible accident at the beginning of the book and loses his voice, and Samantha, the girl he loves. What happens next is gripping, and many times moving. I won't say any more so the readers can unveil the secrets of the book themselves.

I'll be honest-- this isn't a perfect book-- it could really use a good editor to get rid of the remaining grammatical errors. However, the heart of this book really won me over. Both Jake and Samantha are terrific and likeable characters, and their story really drew me in. Whenever I thought the story was becoming too typical, Taylor would put in a twist that would turn the story on its head.

I know Taylor didn't want to tack on the Author's Note, but I may have been the most moved by her own story. I thank her bravery for sharing it.

Overall, a heartwarming, worthwhile YA read with great characters!
Profile Image for CeCe.
3,450 reviews109 followers
February 13, 2015
Audio Review
Narrator: Matthew Dunehoo

I have had this book in my KINDLE forever, but Audibles had a sale on it and I decided to listen to it instead.
What a great book, great story, and a beautiful, sweet love story.
When my daughter is around 15-16 years old, I will want her to read it. I hope my daughter falls in love with a boy like Jake. Loved Jake and I loved Samantha too.

One thing I did not understand is why Carter was not punished at all!! I mean where I live drinking and driving means you get a a suspended license.

Number two, I wish there was a prologue just a few pages to let me know how Jake and Samantha are doing. Something 15 years later. Not picky. I will take anything.

Matthew Dunehoo did an amazing job as the narrator.

And Keary Taylor, I will definitely be reading "listening" more by you. I loved your note at the end with your own voice telling your readers about what you went through.
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