Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Anything But Typical (MG)

Baskin, Nora Raleigh. 2009. Anything But Typical. Simon & Schuster. 195 pages.

Most people like to talk in their own language.
They strongly prefer it. They so strongly prefer it that when they go to a foreign country they just talk louder, maybe slower, because they think they will be better understood. But more than talking in their own language, people like to hear things in a way they are most comfortable. The way they are used to. The way they can most easily relate to, as if that makes it more real. So I will try to tell this story in that way.
And I will tell this story in first person.
I not he. Me not him. Mine not his.
In a neurotypical way.
I will try--
To tell my story in their language, in your language.

I am Jason Blake.

I loved Jason Blake. I didn't just love him. I love, love, loved him. He was such a great narrator. I really felt an instant connection with him, with his story. (And I think that you will too!)

From the start I knew we would get along:

When I write, I can be heard. And known.
But nobody has to look at me. Nobody has to see me at all. (3)

If that doesn't describe me, I don't know what does. (Not that this is about me. It isn't.) The book is about a boy--labeled many things, but generally referred to as autistic--and his journey to self-acceptance. It's about his life--his home life, his family relationships, his school, etc. While real-life friendships are a bit of a struggle, he loves to be online. He loves to be part of a community. He loves to write stories and interact with others through forums, emails, etc. He's currently working on a story about a dwarf named Bennu. Chapter twelve is pretty amazing:

This night I am writing a new story to post on Storyboard. The whole idea came to me on the car ride home from Uncle Bobby's. It is about a dwarf--not a midget, because dwarfs do not like to be called midgets, even though there was a time when "dwarf" was the bad word, and "midget" was better.
But now it's the complete opposite.
Titles. Names. More words, the same twenty-six letters strung together that sometimes hurt someone and sometimes don't. (75)

Names are very important when writing a story. (76)

Some people, like teachers and librarians and other adults, like to say that names are not important.
Like sticks and stones.
But they are wrong.
Every word you choose means something you think it means, and more.
Like if a person is different, that is a good thing.
But if they have a defect, that is not.
Letters. (77)
One day his parents surprise him. He can go to the Storyboard writing convention. He can attend all these sessions. The problem? He doesn't want to meet his online friend, Rebecca, in real life. He's afraid--terrified--that she will judge him if she sees him.

This is a beautiful novel. The writing is just amazing. It has this oh-so-right feel to it. Almost poetic in a way. It also feels authentic and sincere. I really connected with Jason's character immediately. I lost myself in his story, his voice. It just felt so good to spend time with him. He felt so real, so vulnerably (but lovably) real. I thought the whole thing was really well done. The writing. The characters. The story.

I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone. It is releasing in paperback in March 2010. (Or it's available now in hardback.)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


She 2:06 PM  

I love it when you can connect and love a character like that!

Sweet cover, too.

Kailana 5:40 PM  

This sounds really good! I will add it to my wish list. :)

Suko 9:35 PM  

Great review, Becky. By great I mean I read it easily and connected to it. Anything But Typical sounds like a book I'd enjoy and possibly love also.

Stephanie 9:18 PM  

I don't think I've heard of this one before, but now I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for a great review! :)

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) 4:20 PM  

I have this in my pile from the library and am so glad to hear that you liked it so much. Great review!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP