Anything But TypicalTitle: Anything But Typical
Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin
ISBN: 9781416963783
Pages: 195 pages
Publisher/Date: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2009.

There are some writers who know things and post them on the Internet so other writers can learn them. Some of them say that there are only seven plots in the whole world. […]
Other writers say there are only three plots: happy ending, unhappy ending, and literary plot (that’s the kind of ending that is uncertain). There is a whole book called Twenty Master Plots, which I happen to own. And another author wrote that he thought there were thirty-nine plots.
But really, if you ask me, there is only one kind of plot.
One.
Stuff happens.
That’s it. (9-10)

12 year old Jason Blake has autistim spectrum disorder, or ASD. His mother prefers to call it nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) or pervasice developmental disorder-non-specific (PDD-NOS). Is it any wonder, with all these letters following him around, that he joins an online writing community where he learns to express himself through words. It’s through his writing that he begins to communicate with another member, known as PhoenixBird. Jason thinks of her as his first friend, and possibly girlfriend. But when he learns that they’ll finally be able to meet at the annual conference, Jason begins to wonder if PhoenixBird will continue to like him after she sees how different he really is. You might learn something about writing, people with disabilities, and maybe even yourself when you read Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, the scattered brain narration made it sometimes difficult to follow the narration and determine what was actually happening as opposed to what Jason was imagining. However, that was probably done intentionally to reflect the over stimulus that he’s experiencing. Astute readers could definitely see comparisons between Jason’s life and what the characters in his stories go through. I’m not sure how realistic PhoenixBird’s reaction towards him is when they finally do meet, but I thought Jason’s sort of friend Aaron at school is a compassionate character, and a nice addition. Overall, it’s a nice quick read, but doesn’t compare to Rules by Cynthia Lord if you’re looking for books that deal with autism.

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