Rummanah Aasi
  I've read a few books that feature characters who have autism and for the most part really enjoyed them. It helps me look at the world with a different lens. Anything But Typical is a middle grade novel that successfully tells a story about autism with heart and universal appeal.

Description: Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

Review: Baskin tells an enlightening story entirely from the point of view of Jason, an autistic boy who is a gifted creative writer, but is mainly viewed as the odd ball by the neurotypicals (i.e. normal people) both at school and at home because he can't comprehend human emotions and social interactions. He is most comfortable in an online writing forum called Storyboard, where his stories explore his rich imagination and eventually kindles an e-mail-based friendship with a girl. His excitement over having a real friend (and maybe even girlfriend) turns to terror when he learns that his parents want to take him on a trip to the Storyboard conference, where he'll no doubt have to meet her in person.
  With short chapters and precise word usage, Baskin describes Jason's attempts to interpret body language and social expectations, revealing the extreme disconnect created by his internalization of the world around him. Jason is an empathetic character and quite witty. He moves through his failures and triumphs with the same depth of courage and confusion of any boy his age. His story, neither overly heartbreaking nor saturated with saccharine sweetness, shows that the distinction between normal and not normal is hard to distinguish yet we ironically have no problems to label things as "different" and "defective". Since I have no personal experience with autism, I can't atest to the authenicity of Jason's voice, but I do appreciate Baskin for making Jason's story universal.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Rules by Cynthia Lord, Mockingbird by for a YA read try Marcelo in the Real World by Franciso X. Stork
3 Responses
  1. Candace Says:

    I have had Marcello in the Real World on my shelf for a long time. I also have Harmonic Feedback, which I think has an autistic character. I haven't heard of this one though. It sounds good!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Lovely review! Ive heard great things about this book, its been on my TBR for ages, but its nice to know its a good book for kids...:)

  3. This sounds incredibly interesting! I don't think I'd heard about it before, but I'm fascinated by minds that operate on a different level. This is probably a great book to keep in mind for my kid when she grows up just a bit more, but I'll read it in the meanwhile. :)
    Thank you for the lovely review!

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