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Anything but typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
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Anything but typical (2009)

by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Anything But Typical is about a 12 year-old boy named Jason. Jason has autism. He starts middle school without a one-on-one aide, which leads to all kinds of difficult situations at school with teachers who don’t understand him and being bullied by other students. However, Jason makes it through everything just as long as he can keep writing and posting stories online. One of his followers, the enigmatic ”Phoenixbird”, is Jason’s only friend. They share stories, feedback, criticism, and also talk to each other about their real lives. Jason’s struggles with school, friendships, girls, family, and everyday life are pretty realistic portrayals of what the world is like for a boy with autism. The narrative is authentic and easy to read, and it really allows the reader to get inside Jason’s head. I would recommend Anything But Typical to any middle school reader, and high schoolers looking for a fiction book about autism. ( )
  ErlangerFactionless | Apr 5, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book, and I think that more books should have individuals with disabilities as protagonists. The first-person narration is essential for proper presentation of this subject, and it's very enlightening to step into shoes that may be vastly different from your own. Personally, I talk a lot, and I found myself struggling while reading this because I felt so much could be solved if Jason just said what he was thinking. His thoughts were always very astute. However, I know this wasn't a reasonable demand, and it just deepened my understanding of Jason's frustration with the world around him. Baskin is wonderful with words, and really tied each part together, from the primary plot to the premises of Jason and Rebecca's stories. I was most fond of the way time was depicted throughout, there is frequent jumping around between memories, reality, and dreams of past and future. Despite the potential for confusion, it was very easy to track and added lovely layers to the story.
  biarias | Mar 14, 2014 |
This is a great book about navigating the social land mines of middle school told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old autistic boy. Jason's narration gives us insight into the challenges of being different, being perplexed by social "norms," and having difficulty with communication. We learn that Jason has an active mind, loves his family, and wants to have friends, but with words that have a fairly flat, "just the facts" tone that one might expect from an autistic child. Our heart breaks when Jason has disappointments, and so does his. But his reasoned narration, courage, honesty, and objective point of view in some ways soothe us, the reader. I particularly appreciated the description of his sensory challenges - noise sensitivity, the need to keep a tight belt, the pain of scratchy clothing. His development of an on-line relationship had me reading with a sense of both happiness and foreboding. Reading how much he looked forward to simple notes from his new friend was so touching, and yet I wanted to protect him from anything that might happen to jeopardize it. I was also touched by Jason's observations of his parents' love, challenges, disappointments, and frustrations. This is a unique "coming of age in middle school" story that could not only help students learn about those who are different, but could also help them to think more consciously about their own challenges at that age. I have a seven-year-old autistic boy and I found this to be a great guide for preparing me what might be ahead for my son. It would be a good resource for parents.
  susan.mccourt | Feb 19, 2014 |
MSBA Nominee 2010-2011, Schneider Family Book Award for Middle Grades

An autistic teenage boy struggles with school and whether or not he should meet phoenixgirl, an online writing buddy. ( )
  scote23 | Dec 26, 2013 |
Anything But Typical was pretty solid. The characters were fairly average, but the rest of the story was beyond amazing. This is a great story from the point of view of a 12-year-old with Autism.

First, the plot was phenomenal! It is an amazingly realistic plot, and I enjoyed watching Jason "discover his world" and nurture his one true passion : writing. I loved the relationship between Jason's family - it was so realistic. And my heart just tore out for Jason whenever he was at school...what a terrible experience that must have been for him!

The characters were pretty average, they seemed (like most characters in YA books) flat and one-denominational. However, I am debating whether this was due to lack of character development or if this was a choice made by the author.
         "A choice by the author - to not do any character development?" you might ask yourself. This is because of Jason's autism. In Jason's world, things are in "black or white:" they're either good or bad - in Jason's world, there is no "in-between." The same goes for people - meaning people are simply people. How could Nora Baskin develop her characters if the narrator sees the world this way? She can't - so this is her charterer development. If this is the case, then Nora Baskin, you are a genius! And if this WAS just due to a lack of character development, then well...you're still an amazing writer. (:

All in all, I loved Anything But Typical and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in reading a heartwarming story similar to [b:Out of My Mind|6609765|Out of My Mind|Sharon M. Draper|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347602096s/6609765.jpg|6803732] and [b:Mockingbird|6596547|Mockingbird|Kathryn Erskine|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1301271068s/6596547.jpg|6790315]. Happy reading! ( )
  ZoeSNicholson | Sep 16, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nora Raleigh Baskinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bromley, LizzyCover and book designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hancock, James GulliverCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Most people like to talk in their own language.
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Curriculum Connection:  AASL Std. 4 Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

4.1.3 Respond to literature and creative expressions of ideas in various formats and genres.

Personal Connection:  to help students understand how autistic children think and react.
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Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

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