You Say It First

Image of You Say It First
Release Date: 
June 16, 2020
Balzer + Bray
Reviewed by: 

Meg and Colby come from different worlds. Meg is academic and upper middle class, with divorced parents and an almost sure acceptance to Cornell. Colby lives on the “other side of the tracks,” where he struggles to come to grips with his father’s suicide and has a hard time keeping down a job.

“Meg’s first memory was of her parents arguing, a fact she hadn’t realized was unusual until she’d mentioned it offhandedly to Emily at a sleepover in seventh grade and Emily had given her a super weird look, after which point she’d been careful not to mention it to anyone ever again.”

Emily is great, and Meg’s boyfriend, too, until he dumps her out of the blue. And Meg is discovering she really doesn’t want to go to Cornell and be Emily’s roommate, as Em had always wanted. So Meg dives deeper into her political activism and the job where she registers voters over the phone. Little did she know she would be calling a number that would change her life when Colby answered the phone.

“Colby knew it was a dumb idea to climb the water tower pretty much from the moment Micah said he wanted to do it, but it wasn’t like there was anything more exciting going on, so on Wednesday after midnight they all met at Jordan’s stepdad’s house, zipped their jackets against the skin-splitting rawness of March in Alma, Ohio, and set out for the wide, overgrown field at the edge of town.”

Colby doesn’t mean to be bad. He just doesn’t know how to fill the void inside him left by his father’s death. No one gets him. No one listens to him. Until he talks to that annoying upper crust girl on the phone.

Meg and Colby get to know each other over the airwaves, talking late at night for hours. Could this become something more? Or is it really just something that only lives across the miles? Finally, they decide . . . they need to find out.

This book will be enjoyed by those who like teenage romance, star-crossed lovers, and a discussion of what it means to lose a parent through divorce and remarriage or death. Cotugno’s writing is easy to read and entertaining, and her characters come to life. A good entry into Cotugno’s growing list of books.