________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 38 . . . . June 5, 2015


Say You Will.

Eric Walters.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2015.
184 pp., trade pbk. & ebook, $14.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-0-385-68478-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-385-68479-8 (ebook).

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.

Review by Penta Ledger.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



"So, let me understand this," my mother began.

"After the most humiliating episode of his life-"

"Possibly any life," Ian added.

"All right, any life," my mother agreed. "After that, you walked up to the door of a boy you didn't know and asked to speak to him. Is that right?"

"Yeah, that's about it."

"But...why?" Brooke asked.

"I just wanted to talk to him, ask him how he was feeling."

"I think that was pretty obvious," Brooke said.

"Yeah, even I got that," Ian added.

"But I also wanted to tell him that I thought he was brave. And I wanted his advice about what he did, because, really, it got me wondering whether my promposal was such a smart idea."

My mother let out a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness you've decided not to do it."

"Good call," Brooke said.

"I have to agree with the ladies on this one," Ian agreed.

"No, you don't understand. It has made me decide. I am going to do it. If we can work out the details, I'm thinking Friday afternoon toward the end of the day. Trevor and I talked about that."

"You're getting advice from the guy who crashed and burned?" Ian asked.

"Who better? He said that the rest of that day after he was turned down was the hardest time in his life, so going at the very end of the afternoon is better. And a Friday is good because then you have the weekend to say home and recover. Oh, by the way, I'm going to be walking to school with Trevor on Monday morning."

"You are?" Brooke asked.

"Yes. Me and some of his other friends. We just wanted him to feel like we support him."

"Who arranged all of that?" Brooke asked.

"One of his friends put it up on Facebook."

"I like it," Ian said. "By the way, you might want to get everybody's names and cell number."


"I have a terrible feeling that you're going to need some extra company yourself next Monday."

Nobody said a word, which meant they all had been thinking the same thing. And so had I.

Eric Walters' novel, Say You Will, offers readers an interesting look into the lives of high school students with prom on their minds. The protagonist, Sam, is a teen with above average intelligence who struggles to find a balance between enjoying learning and fitting in with his peers. He does have some close friends, Brooke and Ian, but he still purposely gets answers wrong on tests so that he won't be singled out as the smartest person in the school. After Sam, his friends and most of the student body witness an elaborate and successful promposal given by a football player named Kevin to his longtime girlfriend, it is followed days later by a very humiliating promposal where the boy is rejected by a potential prom date in front of everyone. Despite this humiliation, Sam views the second proposal as an act of courage and has it in his mind to develop his own promposal for a girl he's interested in. Despite Brooke and Ian's prying, Sam refuses to give up her name before the big event and leans on his friends to develop his style of a promposal that he will make during an all-school assembly. With help from his friends and some guidance by his teacher, by the close of the novel, Sam's promposal is revealed, and readers will be pleasantly surprised by the touching event.

      Written in third person, the novel is truly a high school read. The specific details, including the girls creating a Facebook page on which they post their dresses so that they won't be duplicated, is a real life fact. There is also the inclusion of students working after school and on weekends, which is often the case for many high school students. Of particular interest is how Sam's teacher is woven into the plot. She is a guiding voice for Sam, offering advice on how to be himself and not try to be 'normal' by pretending to be less smart than he is as well as encouraging him and helping him with his promposal. The dialogue of the teacher seems a bit heavy at times compared to the rest of the novel, and I must admit that this was a little unexpected knowing Walters' background as a teacher. Although the teacher is a secondary character, her presence in the novel, overall, is fitting. Other interesting inclusions in this novel are the various 'teaching' bits, including explanations about 'Pavlov's Dog', Edward Thorndike and Einstein. At some points these inclusions seem forced, but they could offer high school readers other avenues of personal research.

      I would recommend Say You Will mostly as a read that will be enjoyed by high school readers. After sharing the plot line with some female high school students, it was clear that they were taken by the story and said they would definitely read the novel I'm happy that this is a feel-good story that has current high school student issues including the 'stress' of prom, becoming oneself, and the strength of friendship.


Penta Ledger is a teacher-librarian at Gravenhust High School in Gravenhurst, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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