Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jason is a 12-year-old with autism. He knows that his brain functions differently than other kids' brains, but still it is hard to change his behaviors in ways that will make him fit in better with his peers. The greatest joy in his life is his writing, and he posts his stories on a website called Storyboard. A fellow writer named PhoenixGirl reads his stories and strikes up a friendship with him. Jason finds out that her real name is Rebecca and he has some illusions that she might be his girlfriend. But when he finds out that he and Rebecca will both be attending a Storyboard users conference in Texas he fears that she will see what he is really like and not be his friend anymore. While not heavy on plot, the strength of this book is the first-person look inside the mind of a bright, struggling autistic boy. I would recommend it to readers who like to get inside of different characters heads and understand how they think and act. (By the way, the autism spectrum teacher at my middle school said it's the best middle school fiction book with an autistic character she has ever read.)

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