- Alisha Barnes
Jason Blake isn't a "neurotypical" kid. Jason is an autistic 12-year old struggling to live in a world filled with "neurotypicals," who unsuccessfully try to understand the problems he faces in day-to-day life. In the book, Anything but Typical, Nora Raleigh Baskin demonstrates what it is like to be a sixth grader with autism.
Jason tries to express himself with others but finds that people don't like to take the time to get to know and understand him. The only place that Jason feels safe to communicate is online. There he writes and posts short stories on a Web site where young writers share their work amongst each other. There he meets Rebecca; they quickly begin helping each other with their writing. Jason strikes up a friendship with Rebecca but fears that they could never meet due to his autism.
This is an admirable story about a young boy trying to understand his place in the world. It also gives an in-depth description of what it is like to live with autism; however, it isn't just a story about overcoming a disability. It's about learning to respect others as well as yourself. Everyone has struggled to fit in at some point, and this is about one boy's struggle to understand himself and those around him.
(Ages 10+ reading level)