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How to Say I Love You Out Loud


Words are strong. Love is stronger.

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

    5 (16 ratings)

  • Tears

    7 (24 ratings)

  • Laughs

    6 (17 ratings)

  • Thrills

    6 (17 ratings)

Full Description

When Jordyn Michaelson's autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she's determined not to let anyone know they're related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can't shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.

Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?


It all happened so fast.

Even though we couldn't find anything else in the darkness, we had no trouble finding each other. His hands fell to my hips, like they belonged there. I felt myself being pressed against the rickety wooden shelves, the firm, warm heat of his bare chest against my damp skin.

I gave into everything and dropped my hands to his waist. When I did, Alex finally lowered his head to kiss me. His lips crashed against mine without hesitation, on the most natural course in the world. They were soft and full and he caught mine between his teeth before softening the kiss and entering my mouth.

My tongue met his, and a ragged noise escaped Alex's mouth and echoed in the darkness.

For about two minutes… my walls were down. I twisted my legs around his calves. I pulled him into me at the same time he pulled me into him, and I gave up the idea of holding anything back. It was so easy in the dark and for the first time I allowed myself to have something, without considering what would have to be sacrificed or what it meant in the context of my life. For about two minutes, I was honest. I told Alex everything.

But I'd spent sixteen and a half years constructing walls, or allowing walls to be constructed around me.

A single kiss, even the best kiss in the history of kisses, was not enough to bring them down.


A 2016 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book

"A budding romance with family drama and a feel-good ending.” —School Library Journal

"A book of acceptance, bravery, and most of all, love. It’s a book that will touch everyone’s hearts.” —Bibliophile Soprano

"Powerful and emotional, and it brings autism to light in a way I had never considered it before . . . It’s an impactful story about love, compassion, and the power of your voice.” —Snuggly Oranges

"You know a story captures your attention when you need to get the tissue box to continue reading through your tears." —Mindy Gebert, Swoon Reader

"What a wonderfully written and poignant story! This story hit me from two angles—one as the sibling of a person with a disability and the other as a high school guidance counselor. A beautiful story woven with just enough romance and drama to keep you on your toes." —Casey, Swoon Reader

"This was an excellent book! The details and plot were realistic, relatable and highly recommended to anyone looking for a phenomenal story to read. So glad my teacher showed me this!" —Sophia, Swoon Reader

"The story is really one-of-a-kind. It blends together style, plot, and humor perfectly, with a bit of tragedy and well-deserved tears. Many aspects of this book I found relatable to my own life. My own brother is mildly autistic, so I can connect to Phillip's oddities and Jordyn's occasional frustration but ongoing love. All of it is realistic and believable." —KC Feldman, Swoon Reader

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