In the latest YA novel from veteran author Eric Walters (who has written more than 90 books over the course of two decades), readers are introduced to Sam, a Grade 11 boy with an exceptionally high IQ, but a marked lack of social skills.
Sam takes an academic approach to resolving his situation: he observes the behaviour of the more popular kids at school and sets about emulating them to increase his chances of fitting in. He changes his look, makes some new friends, and purposely gives the wrong answers in class. When several students start staging “promposals” – elaborate, public scenes in which one student asks another to prom – Sam decides to use the method to reveal his feelings to a mystery girl while adhering to the school’s “new normal” way of asking someone to the dance.
Say You Will tackles standard YA themes including relationships, friends, the trials of high school, being yourself, and fitting in, and does so in classic Walters fashion, with strong teen characters and narratives. The story is equally funny and serious, and is a fast, easy read.
Although the identity of the girl Sam is asking to prom is kept secret until the end, astute readers will be able to figure out who she is fairly easily. The story is at times a bit too perfect and unrealistic, as when another student at Sam’s school is turned down during his promposal only to find redemption later when someone else asks him.
Fans of Walters’ previous work and readers looking for a lighthearted read (and inspiration for their own promposal) will find much to like in this fun, if somewhat superficial, book.