Copyright 2009, Simon & Schuster
195 pages, realistic fiction
Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old who attends public school and is constantly misunderstood. The only way he can express himself is by writing stories for site Storyboard. He makes friends online with Phoenixbird (her real name is Rebecca), but he worries that if they meet in person, she’ll only see his autism.
Let me start by saying that I rarely read realistic fiction, and if I do, I judge it harshly. I’ve read quite a bit by Sharon Creech, but in general, I’m a fantasy girl (just look back at the reviews I’ve written before and you’ll see). This book, told in the first person, was an insightful and enlightening experience. If you’ve ever felt different from others, or left out, this is the book for you. I really enjoyed it, and I’ll be sure to look for other books by Baskin.
Through most of the story, the narrative jumps around, telling, for example, part of a flashback, then going back to the current events, then finishing up the memory. It certainly keeps readers on their toes, and can be a bit confusing, but it enhances the feel of the story. The author makes everything sound honest and sincere, straight from the heart. It’s like being inside Jason’s head; As well as being in the first person, it’s told in the present tense, which can be an enchanting combination in the right conditions. Baskin pulls it off seamlessly. I absolutely adore the cover. It’s simple, yet so complex. It captures the essence of the books in a simple color scheme.
[WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD] I didn’t particularly like the ending, though. I felt forsaken. I’d almost prefer Jason didn’t go to the Storyboard Convention. [END SPOILER] That’s about it for negatives, although I felt so bad for Jason half the time. It sometimes brought me close to tears. Now that I think about it, though, that’s more of a positive. Anything But Typical was touching.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars