Anything But Typical

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Anything But Typical Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Realistic look inside the world of a tween with autism.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 11 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 comfor... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHi XD November 23, 2017

Sends a Great Message!

My cousin has autism and when i was a kid i used to hate him because of how weird he acted though i regret that now. This novel follows the story of a young aut... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAnnbelle May September 14, 2015


It is ALWAYS important to be teaching kids about the themes and issues that arise in this book - I read this book in 2 hours and it is inspirational. If you enj... Continue reading

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.


Talk to your kids 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
  • Genre: Emotions
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: March 9, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 208
  • Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
  • Last updated: December 4, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love poignant reads

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate