Anything But Typical is about a 12 year-old boy named Jason. Jason has autism. He starts middle school without a one-on-one aide, which leads to all kinds of difficult situations at school with teachers who don’t understand him and being bullied by other students. However, Jason makes it through everything just as long as he can keep writing and posting stories online. One of his followers, the enigmatic “Phoenixbird”, is Jason’s only friend. They share stories, feedback, criticism, and also talk to each other about their real lives. Jason’s struggles with school, friendships, girls, family, and everyday life are pretty realistic portrayals of what the world is like for a boy with autism. The narrative is authentic and easy to read, and it really allows the reader to get inside Jason’s head. I would recommend Anything But Typical to any middle school reader, and high schoolers looking for a fiction book about autism.
Bi-Normal is a fantastic contemporary novel perfect for reluctant readers or high school students reading at a low level. That is, as long as they are comfortable with the topic of sexual orientation. While not graphic or explicit in any way, Bi-Normal explores in depth the confusion and anxiety that results from questioning your sexuality. The narrative is so realistic and relatable, the dialogue is interesting, the protagonist’s dilemmas are intense. This all makes the book a page-turner of a high school drama. I would highly recommend it to teens that are confused about their sexuality or boys looking for a realistic, dramatic story.