Thursday, May 21, 2009

Anything but Typical-- Nora Raleigh Baskin

Neurotypicals have it easy. When there is an annoying noise, they ignore it. When they feel stressed or anxious, they take a deep breath and continue on none-the-less. They have control over their appendages. They don't need violent outbursts to get their message across.

Jason is not neurotypical; he is autistic. When he was a little kid, his parents thought he was a genius. He could read before most kids could make full sentences. He could memorize anything, spell any word perfectly, and is an accomplished story-writer. But when he started to get older, some things made him stand out, and not in a good way. His hands flutter like birds and he pulls at his face, hair, and clothes when something bothers him. He sometimes responds with violence when people don't understand what he is saying. And he is honest, too honest for a word full of white lies and platitudes.

But one day Jason makes a friend, a GIRL, through an online fanfiction community. And when he has the opportunity to travel to Dallas for the fanfic convention, Jason can't decide if it's worth it to meet his first real friend or if the world of neurotypicals will be too much for him to handle.

This well-written and interesting book takes a different look at the world of autism. I know there have been other books written from the perspective of an autistic person, but for whatever reason, this book feels more intimate. I recommend this book to girls and boys who feel like outcasts, or who enjoyed Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, or even Wendy Mass's A Mango Shaped Space.

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