Thursday, August 22, 2013
Description: Ian Taylor lives a secret life. His public life at school is a huge success—he is on the varsity football team and his girlfriend just happens to be the hottest girl in school. Everyone wants to be Ian. However, he has a different life at home. At home he lives with his divorced mom and is forced to be her right hand man especially when it comes to his brother, Davey. Davey is a handful because he is severely autistic. To Ian, Davey is a freak and no one must ever know about his existence. He has maintained this shaking balance for years but it is all about to come crashing down when Davey gets the chance to attend a special day class at Ian's school. Ian attempts to continue his charade of denying Davey's existence, even when Davey has massive public meltdowns and it is clear he is looking to Ian for comfort. Ian is screaming quietly on the inside until all of his resentment, anger, and embarrassment is ready to pop. Will his love for Davey and his desire to man up eventually allow him to overcome peer pressure and combine his public and private lives?
Opinion: Another Saddleback title in the Gravel Road series about tough decisions. These books have very quick pacing and are also smaller in size (so while it is 200 pages it is still actually a really short book). Overall, I find most of these stories to usually be average. They are meant to be hi-low books so they aren’t going to be the most gripping tales. Yet Saddleback does a good job of producing a number of books that are pretty entertaining. They could be much, much worse. The thing that struck me the most about this title was Ian’s reaction to Davey. I think the author’s background as a behavioral interventionist for disabled children really helped put Davey’s condition into perspective for those who don’t know much about autism or haven’t spent time around children or teens with autism. The scenes where Davey has meltdowns in the cafeteria were actually uncomfortable to read and I think this really helped put the reader into Ian’s shoes or another bystander who sees this teenage boy acting like a child and screaming, etc. It helps the reader understand autistic people better and that they shouldn’t be made fun of for their behavior.
Thanks to the people at Saddleback for the ARC for the YALSA YA Galley Group!