Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.
Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoenixBird — her name is Rebecca — could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.
By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles—and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.
Trying to type a review for Anything but Typical is proving to be difficult. There’s very little that I can say about it because, ironically, it was a completely typical book about a kid with autism. I liked a lot of the viewpoints and I believe it could really help a neurotypical (A.K.A. probably you) understand the disease or someone with it, but not any more than any other autism book. What I found most remarkable about Anything but Typical, though, was the way the author really tried to describe someone with autism using the first person. There were several times throughout the book that Jason- the narrator- internally knew that someone expected some sort of social que from him, but had no idea what. I found it was very easy to sympathize with both sides of the issues here. I understood Jason easily, which is remarkable considering how hard I find it to understand people with mental illnesses, and I really liked him as a person.
I believe Anything but Typical would be a very good read for someone who actually dislikes or is afraid of people with conditions like autism, because it explains the inner thoughts of someone with the condition without putting them in a white light. Like “everyone around autistic people is totally unfair to them and they’re completely wonderful people!” Although I wouldn’t argue that Jason was a wonderful person, he didn’t spend the majority of the book abused and mistreated but instead had regular conflicts with regular people, which is why I think it would be better for someone that doesn’t like autism. It puts the condition in an understandable light without demonizing everyone who dislikes it.
Overall, a short and mildly interesting read that may invoke a few deep thoughts.