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Say You Will    by Eric Walters order for
Say You Will
by Eric Walters
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday Canada, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's an utterly delightful YA novel from Eric Walters, author of We All Fall Down, Safe as Houses, The Taming and End of Days, amongst others. Though he tends to focus his excellent YA novels on surviving catastrophe (including his new dystopian series that opened in End of Days), he also handles YA angst well as in the modern Taming of the Shrew, The Taming.

In Say You Will, he takes another look at high school - young people trying to impress each other and to fit in, while others have a more global focus on what matters. Our nerdy hero, Samuel has a stratospheric IQ, but deliberately answers questions wrong in tests and avoids answering in class - he's trying to be normal. One teacher, Mrs. Tanner has figured out what he's up to and is on his case about it.

Also it's junior year and the way over the top promposals have begun - limos, balloons, marching bands and all. Sam has decided that he needs to make one too, so he enlists his two best friends, Ian and Brooke - who have also always been social outcasts - to help him succeed. He's undaunted, even after watching one promposal end in disaster and serious humiliation all over social media.

Ian and Brooke assume that Sam plans to ask head cheerleader Taylor to the prom - they'd been partnered on a project and have been friendly ever since. They agree to help even though Brooke has no interest in something that's not 'politically correct, green, carbon neutral, free range, fair trade, organic, peanut free, not tested on animals, global justice ... The bounds of her social justice commitments were limitless.'

Promposals do seem rather silly but Sam goes ahead with his preparations and makes his, and it's not silly at all. I did guess where the story was going but had no idea how it was going to get there, and I loved the journey, which was as charming and romantic as the bicycle built for two on the cover.

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