"When I write, I can be heard. And known. But nobody has to look at me. Nobody has to see me at all."
~Anything But Typical
Jason Blake is a twelve year old who struggles to communicate with others around him. He's autistic and sometimes misreads a situation or sees things his own way. In Jason’s world it seems that everyone wants him to be someone else or to feel things differently. Kids at school make fun of him, his teachers get frustrated with him, and even his mom wants him to fit in a little better by changing the way he wears his clothes. The only time Jason feels he can truly be himself is when he writes. Jason has a talent for storytelling, and it makes him feel comfortable because no one looks at him while he writes. He loves the online writing site he belongs to and even makes his first friend, who goes by the name of PhoenixBird. Being friends online is great, but there is a writing conference coming up and PhoenixBird, whose real name is Rebecca, will be there too. Jason doesn't want to go because he's worried about meeting her in person and isn't sure what she'll think of him. Should Jason attend the writing conference? If he does will PhoenixBird still be his friend or will she only see his autism? If he doesn't go will his only friend desert him? We can all learn a lot from the phoenixes in our lives, and Jason will too. You will have to read this book to find out what kind of lesson he learns!
I picked up Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin because I enjoy reading books that help me get into the mind of someone else. I was pulled into Jason’s story and could easily relate to him. I think many of us are insecure about ourselves and afraid to reveal who we really are to others. Jason loves to write and can be himself when he's putting his writing out there on the internet. I also find writing to be very freeing, so right away I connected to him. I was happy that Jason made a friend online, but I worried about what she would think of him in person. Seeing the world from a different perspective helps us to be more compassionate. I would recommend this book to readers in grades four and up who want to learn to understand others and see what it's like to walk in their shoes. I think we all feel misunderstood sometimes, and because of that you will relate to Jason and the struggles he's going through. I look forward to reading more books by this author!
Has anyone else read Anything But Typical? Or have you read another book by Nora Raleigh Baskin? We’d love to hear your thoughts!