Anything But Typical Book Poster Image

Anything But Typical

Realistic look inside the world of a tween with autism.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A very sensitive look at an autistic 12-year-old. Also shows what a positive impact writing and self-expression can have for anyone.

Positive role models

School kids tease Jason and people treat him as if he doesn't understand things as well as he does. Still, there are some great examples of family love and friendship.


A boy pushes another.


A boy likes a girl; a typical tween crush.


Name-calling, like "weird," "freak," "stupid."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book deals with a child on the autism spectrum and how he affects others around him. There are some emotional situations, as well.

What's the story?

Jason is an autistic 12-year-old who doesn't like loud noises, likes order and routine, but more important, he loves to write. His stories are a way to express himself to a world that often doesn't understand him. He submits his stories to an online website and finds a friend in another writer, a girl named Rebecca, who goes by the name Phoenix Bird. She likes his stories and accepts him, but when an opportunity comes for them to meet in person at a writing conference, Jason wonders if he'll lose his friend once she learns he's on the autism spectrum.

Is it any good?


Author Nora Baskin tries to bring readers into the world of a child oon the autism spectrum, and it's a heartbreaking, moving, and loving look. Jason struggles to use "our language" to describe the world around him and how he fits into it. He describes knowing how others feel about him even though they think he doesn't understand -- his mother taking his baby brother with her everywhere because she's afraid he might hurt him, his grandmother speaking slowly and loudly to him as if he can't hear, kids making fun of him, his anxiety about meeting a friend who doesn't know about his condition.

The words can sometimes come in a jumble, but the words are Jason's way of trying to connect his life to the lives of "normal" people. Some of the true gems of this book are Jason's stories that he posts online that parallel his life in ways he may not understand, but the readers will. Both kids and parents will love this wonderful, eye-opening, and sensitive story.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about being different. Are there special needs kids in your school? How do others treat them? How do you treat them?

  • Can you imagine what it would be like to be them? What are some things about you that are different from most of your friends? Why is different OK?

Book details

Author:Nora Raleigh Baskin
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:March 9, 2009
Number of pages:208
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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Teen, 15 years old Written bybookwormwriter August 21, 2011

Awesome Book

I loved this book! I can relate to Jason a lot, and I kept thinking, 'Exactly!' and 'I thought I was the only one!' I really liked this book. It was a lot better than some of Baskin's other books, and I will almost definitely read it again. I recommend it for kids 10 and up, because some younger kids have a hard time understanding autism, and it can kind of scare them sometimes. The only thing that I thought was kind of weird was that Jason told his friends that PheonixBird was his girlfriend, and she had never agreed to that. That would be kind of weird, if I were in her place, and I would get mad. Other than that, I really, really loved this book! Happy reading! :)
Educator and Parent of a 13 and 15 year old Written byms k January 29, 2011
Wow! Autism is not a subject many like to talk about. Anything But Typical is a wonderful book about a 12-year old Autistic boy named Jason. He is most comfortable at his computer, writing fantasy stories and posting them to a blog devoted to amateur writers of the genre. It is a compassionate look inside Jason's thoughts and dreams. I love the honesty with which the book is written.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old July 17, 2011

I had to do this for Summer reading... and liked it!

A very interesting story. It will help kids understand autism and how every has a different way of seeing the world. I put it a "on for 11 and up" because kids have to be mature enough to understand all of this. It also has a lot of good advice for writers. : D
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages