Anything But Typical

 
(i)

 

Realistic look inside the world of a tween with autism.

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.

Violence

A boy pushes another.

Sex

A boy likes a girl; a typical tween crush.

Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book deals with a child who has autism and how it affects others around him. There are some emotional situations, as well.

What's the story?

Jason is 12 years old and has autism. He doesn't like loud noises, likes order and routine, but more importantly, 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 has autism.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Author Nora Baskin tries to bring readers into the world of a child with autism, and it's a heartbreaking, moving, yet loving look as 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
Genre:Emotions
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:March 9, 2009
Number of pages:208
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Anything But Typical was written by

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

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Award-winner faces tough topic of animal testing.
  • Newbery honoree about life with an autistic sib.
  • Gorgeously moving story about autistic teen.
  • Delicate story of impending death of a loved one.
  • Lets readers walk in the shoes of a tweenage girl.

For kids who love poignant reads

External sites

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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
Teen, 13 years old Written bypondo February 20, 2012
 

the mind of a twleve year old with autism

the best fictional book i have read with an autistic main character, i (since i am autistic) found myself realating to him alot, and really enjoyed the book, that being said, the ending seemed quite rush, other then that, a brillant book, that really dwelves into the mind of an autistic tween, and gets almost pefectly, so in fact, you would think the author herself was autistic, it will also help you understand autism, a good read.
What other families should know
Educational value

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass