Anything But Typical on the South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee List, I rushed to the school library to check it out. What a gift of a book.
Told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Jason Blake, we get an insight into what it's like for him in a neurotypical world. Written in short segments, Jason describes his family who love him but can't understand his way of expressing love in return. His mother particularly breaks my heart, full of worry and fragile hope. By the end of the book, I was ready to write some fan fiction in which Jason is able to tell her how much he loves her.
Feeling out of sync with his family and full of problems at school, Jason's release is writing online. Author Nora Raleigh Baskin deftly explains why this outlet is so essential. When Jason develops a crush on his online friend, his anxiety is something to which all readers can relate. This experience, nerve-wracking for anyone, is especially frightening for Jason, who has been rejected by his peers. By sharing this aspect of Jason's life, Baskin makes him more relatable and hopefully inspires some empathy in middle school readers.
Get this book, it's wonderful.