The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo – Complex Study in Characters and the Grieving Process

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Author: Amy Matayo
Publisher: SYG Productions (Indie)
Source: Author provided – thank you, Amy.
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★½

At the top of the charts that command the success of his profession, musician Cory Minor has everything. Or that’s what the paparazzi and outward world sees. Inside his own private world, Cory’s life is another story. Losing himself in woman enamored by his lifestyle and the buzz of a new city every night, Cory’s life is on the fast track to disaster. Tragedy strikes when, while leaving his latest tour stop, his tour bus hits a car with two teenage girls inside.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Cory is listless. He wants nothing more than to hide and keep far away from the tabloid rumors, but first he has something to do. This leads him back to his hometown and Samantha Dalton, a woman Cory’s future is now inexplicably linked to.

Anytime you pick up a novel by Amy Matayo, you’re sure to walk away with a lot of emotions. Not all of them are of the good kind. Some slap you across the face and ask, “What if...” Each time, they become kind of questions that linger and wonder and prod, breaking reader’s hearts (just a little bit) alongside the characters whose journey Amy takes us on.

I went into this book “blind.” All I knew was it had Amy’s name on the cover, and I’d read it. So, without reading the summary (prior to reading the book, I had when it was announced), I loaded it on my Kindle and away I went. Oh, my! I didn’t expect what greeted me mere pages inside this book. Two chapters in, a waterfall of tragedy assaults the reader, which makes us sit up and realize, this story (investing) is going to be anything but easy; emotionally or otherwise.
“Last words. They can kill you with their lack of meaning, slay you with the absence of thoughtfulness, shackle you to a career of writing lyrics for the rest of your life just to hopefully one day get them right. Last words cut. Last words haunt. Especially if they're careless. Especially if you have no hope of ever having another chance to make them better.” - Amy Matayo
Cory and Sam’s respective POV (first person) switch offs help us establish where they’re at emotionally, their heartbreak (current and prior), and their mindset when it comes to what a future might mean. No matter how much I adored these characters (and I did – more on this later), I do wish they’d been expanded on more than what they are. Are they sufficiently tested? Absolutely. But I wish we’d seen more of them, felt more from them because I think they stand out as being memorable (these two are far from “cookie cutter” normal). Because of the deep roots this plants in my reader's heart, this isn't a flaw. Instead it's a sign of how good this story and its characters are.

Cory’s lifestyle diminishes the person he could be and yet shapes the person he learns he can be. Sam’s past shapes her present, but she’s also able to see, through this unique bond with Cory, that it doesn’t have to define who she is.

Don’t misunderstand; I have nothing bad to say about this novel. It’s beautiful in so many ways – reasons, and ways I cannot speak of for two reasons. The simplest being spoilers and the other is I simply couldn’t do the story justice. To discover why, you simply must read The Whys Have It. 

Synopsis: Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for. 

As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus crashes into two teenage girls, killing one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own. 

It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on. 

Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years, she’ll be fine now too. 
At least that’s what she tells herself. 

But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way. 

Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keeps hurting them both? - Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary e-copy of this book.


  1. such a great book! yes!

    1. YESYESYES! One of 2017's best. :)

  2. There's a time and place for such strong stories! I've heard so much about this book and now I know why.

    1. Hope you enjoy, Debra! It's a wonderful story, and so long as you don't mind bittersweet novels, this one doesn't disappoint. :)

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  3. YES!!! Putting the impact of this story into words is nearly impossible. It's amazing! And I agree with you that, in the best way, I wanted more of Cory and Sam. Like, Cory and Sam grocery shopping. Or Cory and Sam talking about their childhoods together. Anything :) I'd read it.

    1. It IS impossible. I have a really tough time writing reviews for books like this because they are so well written and in the case of this novel, I know the author poured a LOT into this book. Such lovely results all that hard work resulted in. Good for Amy!

      YES! You say it exactly. Those "little scenes" would have been beautiful. Maybe Amy will write a novella to catch us up on these two. Someday. :)


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