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Life Happens Next by Terry Trueman

Life Happens Next

by Terry Trueman

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This book really shows life through someone else eyes and there hardships. It changes your perspective on things. I choses this book on a teacher recommendation.
  edspicer | Nov 19, 2012 |
Trueman, T. (2012). Life happens next. New York: HarperColins/HarperTeen. 144 pp. ISBN: 978-0-06-202803-7. (Hardcover); $17.99.

In Stuck In Neutral, Trueman’s Printz honor winning book, Shawn McDaniel’s father plans to smother Shawn with a pillow, thinking that he is doing him a kindness. Shawn has cerebral palsy and has absolutely no muscle control, but he does have a high functioning brain. Shawn’s father does not kill him and this sequel continues Shawn’s adventures, sans his father. While this book, obviously, will not have the surprise (and, consequently, a somewhat muted impact), what readers will notice is that Shawn functions like most teens. He dreams of girls. He laughs. He wonders about his purpose. He becomes deeply depressed. In this book, Debi moves into Shawn’s home with her dog Rusty. Debi has Down syndrome. Shawn’s fantasies, however, revolve around his sister’s hot friend Ally. Debi does not at all compete with Ally. Since nobody is even aware that Shawn is able to think, much less have fantasies, his disgust with Debi does not have to be filtered. Shawn is too smart, however, to ignore the fact that, like him, Debi is not taken seriously and often treated in an extremely patronizing manner. His own condition provides him with an essential advantage when it comes to evaluating Debi’s strength’s and weaknesses—he has the time to focus on Debi for long periods of time. When Debi reciprocates by actually communicating with Shawn, no one else in the family is even aware of it. Nor is the family really able to observe the almost psychic bond Debi has with Rusty. Recognizing the potential for communicating with others in a meaningful way helps banish the depression that has Shawn wondering whether or not his father had the right idea. It also has Shawn rethinking his comparison between Ally and Debi. Communicating with others, however, comes with its own risks and its own heartbreak. Teens will be doing the same sort of reevaluation. Readers are not getting Stuck in Neutral, but what they are getting is a continuation of that important, even essential, discussion of what it means to be human. That is plenty! Put this one right next to Stuck in Neutral; ask students to read both!
1 vote edspicer | Nov 15, 2012 |
In this sequel to Stuck in Neutral, Shawn is still in his wheelchair, living in his internal world as things happen around him. His mother takes in Debi, a cousin with Downs Syndrome and her dog who both seem more aware of Shawn that other people. ( )
  lilibrarian | Sep 18, 2012 |
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Shawn McDaniel, almost fifteen, cannot speak and has no control over his body due to severe cerebral palsy, but he forms a strong connection with his mother's cousin Debi, who has Down Syndrome, and her dog Rusty.

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