Fade to Us

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Fade to Us Book Poster Image
Sweet but predictable tale of family, friendship, and love.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Readers will learn about Asperger's Syndrome, musical theater, and baseball terminology.

Positive Messages

Honest communication, compassion, acceptance are essential to healthy relationships. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Brooke selflessly puts Natalie's needs before her own and ends friendships with those who can't accept Natalie's quirks. She's incredibly responsible, goal-oriented, and more mature than your average 17-year-old. Micah is talented, humble, kind, doesn't treat Natalie differently because she has Asperger's Syndrome. Natalie is honest, brave, doesn't let her Asperger's stop her from pursuing her passion for musical theater.


Teens kiss.


Strong language includes "s--t," "crap," "hell," and "jerkface."


Pop culture mentions include Oklahoma!, PBS, Hugh Jackman, Food Network, One Direction, Teen Vogue, YouTube, Hamilton, and more. Brooke's job at the jewelry store requires her to wear clothes that look expensive, and she's encouraged to not repeat outfits.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fade to Us is a sweet contemporary romance novel that also provides a thoughtful depiction of blended families and Asperger's Syndrome. Teens kiss, and strong language includes "s--t," "crap," "hell," and "jerkface." There are also plenty of positive messages for teens about the importance of compassion and communication

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What's the story?

In FADE TO US, Brooke has always wanted two things: a father to love her and a sister to be her best friend. When her new stepdad announces that Natalie, his daughter who has Asperger's Syndrome, is moving in, Brooke is thrilled she might finally have the family she's always wanted, even if that means her epic summer plans will have to change. Instead of hanging out with her friends and working at a job that will pay her enough to buy a car, Brooke decides to volunteer at Natalie's musical theater camp so a family member will always be close by. But things become complicated for Brooke when she starts to realize she might have feelings for Micah, the production's stage manager and Natalie's mentor. Can Brooke balance family, friends, and a relationship this summer?

Is it any good?

Julia Day's sweet YA novel provides a carefully crafted depiction of blended families, Asperger's Syndrome, and summer love. Although the romantic storyline feels rushed and can sometimes be painfully predictable, Brooke shares plenty of heartwarming moments with her family members. As Fade to Us progresses, readers will appreciate how the family dynamics evolve, leading to an emotional conclusion, and understand that compassion and honest communication are essential to healthy relationships.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the book's portrayal of someone with Asperger's Syndrome. Was it stereotypical, or more nuanced? If you know anyone who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, how did the book affect your feelings about that person? If you have Asperger's Syndrome, how did the book resonate with you?

  • Does the romance in Fade to Us seem realistic? What are some of your favorite teen romances you've read or seen in movies? What makes them work?

  • How do the characters demonstrate communication and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and stories with characters on the autism spectrum

Themes & Topics

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