Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publication Date: April 6th, 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books
Format: eARC from Pan Macmillan via Netgalley
Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.
Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.
Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.
This release was really popular when it came out, and it is one of the few books I have seen/read where the main character has Asperger’s. I had high hopes for it due to the hype, and it lived up to my expectations, that’s for sure. It was refreshing and honest and though I cannot comment personally on how Asperger’s can impact someone’s life, it appears to be a sensitive and thoughtful representation (I am going off other comments I have seen so I may be completely wrong. Please correct me if that is the case).
Grace was a wonderful, complex character, with a lot of development throughout the novel. I don’t just mean in terms of her Asperger’s – she is portrayed as more than that (thankfully – I’ve read too many books where a character is merely a tool for discussion). Yes, she has Asperger’s and it does influence a large part of the novel, but there is a lot of development in other aspects of her character too; relationships, personality, hobbies, etc. Her relationships with a whole number of people – and also animals – are beautifully portrayed and very much make this book a fantastic one.
That being said, a lot of the other characters come across as fairly underdeveloped and simple, in that there is little else to them besides someone for Grace to communicate/interact with. I would have preferred more detail in these characters – her sister, love interest etc – just to make this communication more realistic and believable.
Grace’s mother was the main problem I had with this book. She was awful. I know that sometimes it is frustrating coping with someone when you can’t work out what is best for them, but it was throughout pretty much the entire book. I just find it hard to believe that she doesn’t understand her daughter at all – they seem so distant throughout – I mean, I know relationships can be strained, but it just didn’t seem realistic to me.
Other than those issues, which I didn’t find to impact my reading that much if I’m honest (I got too sucked into the story to notice the undeveloped characters until afterwards, and Grace’s mother just annoyed me a bit), I really loved this book. I would highly recommend picking it up, as it’s a new perspective – I haven’t seen books with a character with Asperger’s, I could just be reading the wrong books though – and it is done well. I really enjoyed it, and will definitely be reading other works by this author.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 🌟