Happy National Autism Awareness Month!
And to celebrate, here is a story about two brothers, one autistic, solving a mystery.
Eleven-year-old Green loves his devoted older brother, Cedar, a popular basketball star, but that doesn’t mean he wants to follow in his footsteps. He doesn’t really care about sports or making friends. Still, eventually, Green caves to pressure to try out for the basketball team. He may be tall like Cedar, but he’s nowhere near as skilled.
And when a confrontation with the coach spurs Green to flee the court, his flight coincides with Coach’s diamond ring necklace going missing—making him the number one suspect. To clear Green’s name, the two brothers team up to find the necklace, and along the way, they learn to appreciate their differences and the things that bring them together.
I love this book so much! Nothing grabs your attention faster than the word ‘butt sandwich’ on a book cover. The reasoning behind this term of phrase is because the word Asperger’s sounds a lot like assburger, which can also translate to butt sandwich. Contrary to the title, this isn’t a potty-humor story. This is a mystery/basketball story with a realistic look at a kid on the Autism spectrum and the family who loves him.
I read this book out loud to my mom, and she laughed out loud at every other sentence. I love Green’s sense of humor. Everything he thinks and says is comedy gold. So you can get an idea of Green’s sense of humor, here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“I actually don’t cry very much, which sounds super tough, but Dr. Lee said it’s because kids with Asperger’s can be ‘emotionally detached.’ Honestly, I can’t do anything right for these doctors.”
“Basketball looks simple enough, but my body has always been a little . . . off. It’s like someone assembled me and forgot a couple of screws at my shoulders and knees, but it was lunchtime, and they were like, Close enough, let’s leave this butt sandwich and grab a panini.”
“I explained how the Hardy Boys solved their cases last night, and we watched two episodes of Veronica Mars as well. Now we both want to be her instead because she is awesome.”
It was appalling how the Coach immediately accused Green of stealing his ring. It broke my heart how easily everyone in school believed he was guilty. No one even considered for a second that someone else might have taken it. To everyone else, Green was an easy mark to accuse because he has autism spectrum disorder, and he “just doesn’t understand it’s wrong.” If everyone had stopped and asked themselves, ‘does this sound like something Green would do?’ they would have realized that he didn’t do it. Green ends up using his intelligence to solve the mystery instead of angrily accusing others as Coach and Cedar did.
I love how the story was told from both Green and Cedar’s points of view. I enjoyed seeing their worlds through both perspectives. I love the sibling dynamic between Green and Cedar. The brothers genuinely like each other and enjoy spending time together. Cedar does get frustrated with Green sometimes, but that’s normal sibling behavior.
I learned in the Author’s Note that this story was inspired by Wesley King’s own experiences with a younger brother with autism, which is why this story feels so authentic.