Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Kids Like Us

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Source: Macmillan
Date Read: 10/31/17 to 11/1/17
288 pages

Martin is an American teen on the autism spectrum living in France with his mom and sister for the summer. He falls for a French girl who he thinks is a real-life incarnation of a character in his favorite book. Over time Martin comes to realize she is a real person and not a character in a novel while at the same time learning that love is not out of his reach just because he is autistic.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Kids Like Us was an interesting read, but ultimately not the book for me. BUT, I still think it had an amazing message overall, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for more ASD representation (I say this but I'm not exactly sure how accurate it is).

The story revolves around Martin, who is diagnosed with autism. He’s attending a local school in rural France during the summer while his mom is directing a movie. And it just so happens that his father taught him French before he left, so Martin is able to communicate with his new friends. The problem is that he doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to believe, that his new friends only hang out with him because of the connections his mom has with all these famous people.

The thing that really stood out to me was Martin’s inability to make things his own. And he is very much obsessed with the book Search by Proust. So much so that he takes what happens in the book and “applies” it to real life. For example, he meets a girl in school, and he just cannot imagine her being anyone but a character from his book, Gillberte. And so this is a bit of a problem because she’s a real person, but Martin does not attempt to know her or even her real name. The focus of Kids Like Us is Martin’s development as the summer goes by. And the message that kids with ASD are not something to be fixed.

I really liked the overall message of this book, and Martin himself. I would say that this is a rather simple book, due to the fact that there is not much of a plot throughout. And I may have skimmed through a couple pages because of that. But nevertheless, it was still a good read.

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