Anything But Typical
by Nora Raleigh Baskin
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Jason Blake is twelve years old and autistic. He is smart and perceptive and has a very rich inner life, but it’s hard for him to verbally express himself and his feelings. He communicates best through his writing and has been sharing it on a website/online community called Storyboard for the past 3 years. Recently, he’s been exchanging emails with a girl who goes by the name of Phoenixbird – also a writer and Storyboard member. When Jason’s parents surprise him with a trip to Texas for the Storyboard meetup/convention he’s both excited and miserable. He might get to meet Phoenixbird, but he’s pretty sure there’s no way she’ll be able to see beyond his autism. Almost no one else ever has.
Jason’s life is pretty difficult. It’s hard for “normal” people to understand why he acts the way he does – it’s even hard for him sometimes to understand his own reactions. Kids are mean to him and adults get angry with him because he seems weird and out of control. But readers will find Jason a sympathetic character – anyone who feels different or misunderstood will be able to relate to his situation. Nora Raleigh Baskin’s story promotes a better understanding of autism and autistics. Excellent.
Reviewed by YA Librarian.