Synopsis: When Jordyn’s brother joins her at her school she’s determined not to let anyone know they’re related. He is different, autistic, and Jordyn craves a bit of normal in her life. But by trying to keep her secret, Jordyn ends up pushing away her closest friends and her crush… and no matter how hard she tries, Jordyn can’t forget the kiss they shared over the summer.
Plot: Most teenagers are embarrassed by their family, and in this book Jordyn tries to hide the fact she has an autistic brother. While Jordyn goes to extremes, it isn’t unrealistic for a sibling to deny the existence of certain family members (my own brother would rather shove me in the trunk than be seen with me in the car). This novel takes a serious topic of acceptance and makes it accessible for its readers through the eyes of a teenager.
Theme: The story is basically about the power of speech. Those who have it and those who don’t, those who choose not to use it and those who do — for better or worse.
Character Development: Jordyn’s arc is well-written and you can see her progression from being secretive and cynical to learning how to effectively deal with the challenges in her life. She ends the story with courage and hope.
Romance: Alex is smart, friendly, and the leader of a community project. He is too good to be true and you can’t help but fall in love with him. Jordyn’s habit of pushing people away causes a major obstacle, yet Alex’s acceptance of Jordyn’s limits both aggravates and makes you like him all the more.
Quote: Fair doesn’t mean equal, fair means everyone gets what they need.
Verdict: I am one of those people who can be a bit awkward around people with disabilities, as I’m scared of doing the wrong thing as I don’t know how or when to help. To be honest, I’m like that with all strangers as new situations make me uncomfortable. While I’l likely always feel out of sorts around screaming children, those with disabilities, authority figures, and cute guys this book has made me more aware of the challenges of being autistic and working with someone who is. With this book you not only get a love story, but the power of speech and a greater ability to accept the differences of others.