HAPPY 450TH BOOK REVIEW!
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I present to you an extra special story about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.
For autistic people and for anyone who knows someone on the autism spectrum
Selah knows her rules for being normal.
And she always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feeling locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it.
Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.
Selah’s friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble.
But as Selah begins to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Maybe different can even be good. Can she get her school to understand before it’s too late?
I was asked by Meg Eden Kuyatt to review her forthcoming book, Good Different. She heard about me through the Novel Mind blog, where I was interviewed as an autistic author.
See post interview here: https://www.anovelmind.com/post/meet-alexandra-adlawan-autistic-creator-of-maddie-albert
Obviously, I was honored to be given this opportunity. I was thrilled when I got the advance copy in the mail.
I sat down one night to skim through the book and ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting.
It’s hard for me to write reviews on books featuring autistic characters without talking too much about myself. Reviewing this book was exceptionally hard because I saw so much of myself in Selah. So many of Selah’s struggles mirror my own as a kid:
- Keeping everything inside
- Good at appearing like I’m fine
- Being afraid to voice my feelings out of fear of upsetting others
- Not getting any help until breaking down in school
- A school administration that didn’t want to make accommodations for me
- Parents who tried their best to help me but also unintentionally made me feel guilty for having a hard time
I’m not a fan of novels-in-verse. I’ve tried them before, and they are usually written in a way I don’t understand, and I can’t follow what’s happening. This book is different. I had no trouble understanding what was going on. I related and agreed with pretty much everything Selah’ says. Here are a few snippets of Selah’s poems that I liked the most:
I stuffed my feelings into my chest like used tissues.
Pretending to be a Normal person is tiring.
I try to keep my mouth shut and be “the good kid” people think I am.
I tell myself to push it all inside until I can get home.
When Selah mentioned dragons, and more specifically, ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ I was hooked. I LOVE HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON!
I wish this book had been around when I was a kid. I could have used it as a reference to show my parents how I was feeling.
Everyone needs to read this book! It will help so many kids voice their feelings while giving those not on the spectrum a better understanding of the challenges we go through.
Be sure to read the Author’s Note to learn about the author’s own autistic experiences.