Amy & Matthew
As YA genres go, the current trend for ‘smart-ass teen romance with a side of grim reality’, as exemplified by John Green’s wildly popular ‘The Fault in our Stars’, must surely be considered a welcome addition to the vampire-worshipping and cartoon-laden diarising that have dominated publishers’ offerings for this age group over recent years. Amy & Matthew is a sharp, sassy and genuinely touching tale of a love that grows between two young people, each with burdens to carry – Amy, born with cerebral palsy, is trapped inside a body that constantly betrays her and marks her apart from her peers; while Matthew is troubled by irrational anxieties, which are only kept from consuming him entirely through repetitive and life-limiting rituals and thoughts. Both protagonists are intelligent, witty outsiders – not desperate to belong, exactly, but burning to make meaningful connections; and McGovern tells their story with warmth and a compelling honesty. It’s no fairy tale.