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Anything But Typical

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Overview

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.

Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that ...

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Overview

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.

Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.
By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy's struggles-and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.

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  • Nora Raleigh Baskin
    Nora Raleigh Baskin  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
*“Baskin’s delineation of an autistic boy’s world is brilliant.”—Kirkus, starred review

* “Luminous....This is an enormously difficult subject, but Baskin, without dramatics or sentimentality, makes it universal.”—Booklist, starred review

“Should readily captivate readers and open eyes.” –Publishers Weekly

"Baskin reveals not only the obstacles that Jason faces, but also his fierce determination to be himself at all costs. Jason is a believable and empathetic character in spite of his idiosyncrasies. Baskin also does a superb job of developing his parents and younger brother as real people with real problems, bravely traversing their lives with a differently abled child without a road map, but with a great deal of love."—School Library Journal

“A children’s book that’s every bit as subtle and smart as the best adult novel.”—nytimes.com

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

Baskin writes in the voice of a high-functioning boy who identifies himself as having numerous disorders, most with labels that appear as alphabet soup. In the third grade, after yet another battery of tests, Jason receives the diagnosis of autism. Now in sixth grade, he relates how he does not fit in, even though he tries to follow the instructions of his therapists and helpers. He labels the rest of his classmates and teachers as neurotypicals, or NTs for short. While humor resonates throughout the book, the pathos of Jason's situation is never far from readers' consciousness. If only he could act on what he knows he needs to do, his life would be so much easier. Jason also shows himself to be a deep thinker and an excellent writer. Through his stories and thinly veiled fictional characters, Baskin reveals not only the obstacles that Jason faces, but also his fierce determination to be himself at all costs. Jason is a believable and empathetic character in spite of his idiosyncrasies. Baskin also does a superb job of developing his parents and younger brother as real people with real problems, bravely traversing their lives with a differently abled child without a road map, but with a great deal of love.-Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD

Kirkus Reviews
People say 12-year-old Jason Blake is weird. He blinks his eyes oddly and flaps his hands, his fingers jerking "like insects stuck on a string." Jason is autistic. He hates art class and PE, where there's too much space and unorganized time, but he feels at home on his computer, writing stories on the Storyboard website. When he meets a fellow writer named Rebecca online and has the chance to meet her in person at a Storyboard conference, he panics. What will happen to their comfortable online relationship when she meets him? Baskin's delineation of an autistic boy's world is brilliant, putting readers into Jason's mind, showing how he sees the world, understands how his parents feel about him, frets about fitting in and yearns to find at least one friend in the world. Readers even get some tips about writing short stories as they observe Jason composing his way to self-acceptance. "This is who I am. This is me," as one of his characters says. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416995005
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/9/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 195
  • Sales rank: 44,794
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: HL640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Raleigh Baskin is the ALA Schneider Family Book Award–winning author of Anything But Typical. She was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, and has since written a number of novels for middle graders and teens, including The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah, The Summer Before Boys, and Runt. Nora lives with her family in Connecticut. Visit her at NoraBaskin.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Most people like to talk in their own language.

They strongly prefer it. They so strongly prefer it that when they go to a foreign country they just talk louder, maybe slower, because they think they will be better understood. But more than talking in their own language, people like to hear things in a way they are most comfortable. The way they are used to. The way they can most easily relate to, as if that makes it more real. So I will try to tell this story in that way.

And I will tell this story in first person.

I not he. Me not him. Mine not his.

In a neurotypical way.

I will try—

To tell my story in their language, in your language.

I am Jason Blake.

And this is what someone would say, if they looked at me but could only see and could only hear in their own language:

That kid is weird (he’s in SPED, you know). He blinks his eyes, sometimes one at a time. Sometimes both together. They open and close, open and close, letting the light in, shutting it out. The world blinks on and off.

And he flaps his hands, like when he is excited or just before he is going to say something, or when he is thinking. He does that the most when he’s on the computer or reading a book. When his mind is focused on the words, it separates from his body, his body that almost becomes a burden, a weight.

Weight.

Wait.

Only his fingers don’t stand still while they wait. They flap at the ends of his hands, at the ends of his wrists.

Like insects stuck on a string, stuck in a net. Like maybe they want to fly away. Maybe he does too.

In first grade they put a thick, purple rubber band across the bottom bar of his desk chair, so Jason would have something to jiggle with his feet when he was supposed to be sitting still. In second grade Matthew Iverson sent around a note saying, If you think Jason Blake is a retard, sign this, and Matthew got sent to the principal’s office, which only made things worse for Jason.

In third grade Jason Blake was diagnosed with ASD, autistic spectrum disorder. But his mother will never use that term. She prefers three different letters: NLD, nonverbal learning disorder. Or these letters: PDD-NOS, pervasive developmental disorder– non-specific. When letters are put together, they can mean so much, and they can mean nothing at all.

From third grade until this year, sixth grade, Jason had a one-on-one aide, who followed him around school all day. She weighed two hundred and three pounds. (Jason asked her once, and she told him.) You couldn’t miss seeing her.

But the thing people see the most is his silence, because some kinds of silence are actually visible.

When I write, I can be heard. And known.

But nobody has to look at me. Nobody has to see me at all.

School doesn’t always go very well. It is pretty much a matter of time before the first thing of the day will go wrong.

But today I’ve gotten far. It is already third period. Mrs. Hawthorne is absent and so we are going to the library instead of art class. This is a good sign. You’d think art class would be one of the easiest classes, but it’s not. I mean, it’s not that it’s hard like math, but it’s hard like PE. A lot of space and time that is not organized.

Anything can go wrong in that kind of space.

But not in the library. There are computers in the library. And books. And computers. Keyboards and screens and desks that are built inside little compartments so you don’t have to look at the person sitting next to you. And they can’t look at me.

When we get into the library, somebody is already sitting in my seat, at my computer. At the one I want. Now I can’t breathe. I want to log on to my Storyboard website. I was thinking about it all the way here. I have already had to wait so long. I don’t know.

“Jason, this one is free,” the lady says. She puts her hands on my shoulders. This lady is a lady I should know, but her face looks like a lot of other faces I don’t know so well, and I group them all together. Her face is pinched, but her eyes are big, round like circles. Her hair doesn’t move, like it’s stuck in a ball. She belongs in the library or the front office or my dentist’s office.

But she is here now, so I will assume she is the librarian.

I know from experience that she is trying to help me, but it doesn’t. I can feel her weight on my shoulders like metal cutting my body right off my head. This is not a good thing.

I also know she wants me to look at her.

Neurotypicals like it when you look them in the eye. It is supposed to mean you are listening, as if the reverse were true, which it is not: Just because you are not looking at someone does not mean you are not listening. I can listen better when I am not distracted by a person’s face:

What are their eyes saying?

Is that a frown or a smile?

Why are they wrinkling their forehead or lifting their cheeks like that? What does that mean?

How can you listen to all those words when you have to think about all that stuff?

But I know I will get in trouble if I don’t look at the lady’s eyes. I can force myself. I turn my head, but I will look at her sideways.

I know the right words to use.

Last year Jane, my one-on-one, taught me to say, “I am okay just as I am.”

I am okay just as I am.

She told me I had to say something in this sort of situation. She said that people expect certain things. She said that people will misunderstand me if I don’t say something.

This is one of the many, many things I need to run through in my mind, every time. Also the things my OT, my occupational therapist, has taught me:

Look people in the eye when you are talking (even if this makes it harder for you to listen).

Talk, even when you have nothing to say (that’s what NTs do all the time).

Try to ignore everything else around you (even when those things may be very important).

If possible put your head and your body back together and try very hard not to shake or flap or twirl or twitch (even if it makes you feel worse to do this).

Don’t blink.

Don’t click your teeth. (These are the things people don’t like. These are the things they hear but can’t hear).

“I am okay just as I am,” I say, and I take a step forward. I want the librarian to take her hands off my shoulders. The weight of her hands is almost unbearable, like lead. Like the lead apron the dentist puts on you when you get an x-ray, a crushing rock while the technician counts to ten. And you can’t move.

Or they will have to do it all over again.

Also, I want to stand close, so there will be no confusion that I am next in line. The person at the computer turns around to the sound of my voice. It is a girl. Most girls look the same, and I can’t tell one from the other.

Long hair. Earrings. Different tone of voice.

A Girl.

I don’t know who this girl is, or if she already hates me, but chances are she does.

The girl doesn’t say anything, so I have to look at her face and figure it out. Her eyes are squinched up, and her lips are pressed so tightly together they almost disappear. I recognize that she is unhappy or even angry, but I don’t know why.

“You are breathing on me,” she says. “You’re so gross.”

“Gross” could mean big or refer to a measurement or weight, but in this case it doesn’t. It means she doesn’t like me. She is, in fact, repulsed by me, which is how most girls react. My mom tells me not to worry. My mom tells me I will find a girlfriend one day, just like everyone else. I will find someone who sees how “special” I am. I know no girl will ever like me. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try.

But maybe I am wrong.

I hope so.

I hope I am wrong and my mother is right. But usually I am right about these things.

“I was here first, Miss Leno,” the girl says.

Miss Leno is the librarian’s name.

“Jason, here,” Miss Leno is saying. “Sit here. You can use this computer.”

But I can’t use that computer. I don’t want to. I can’t. My breathing is too loud inside my ears. I stiffen my body, solidify my weight, so she can’t move me with her hands. You’d be surprised at how quickly people will try to move you with their hands when they don’t get what they want with their words.

I wish Jane were here with me right now and then this wouldn’t happen. Words don’t always work.

“Jason, hold still. There’s no need to get so upset. There are plenty of other computers.”

Miss Leno is trying to shift my weight off my feet, and she’s trying to pretend she’s not, as if she’s just walking with me, instead of pushing me, which is what she’s doing.

“Jason, please.” But she doesn’t mean please. There is no please in anything Miss Leno is asking. She is pulling me.

I feel off balance, like I am going to fall. I need to shift my weight back and forth, back and forth, rock to stabilize myself. I can feel my chance to use my computer getting further and further away from me. There isn’t even enough time left in the period. I might not get to log on at all, even if this girl does get up. A hundred little pieces threaten to come apart.

“Jason, please, calm down. Calm down.” Miss Leno’s voice sounds like a Xerox machine.

Sometimes there is nothing to hold me together.

Copyright © 2009 by Nora Raleigh Baskin

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Introduction

Synopsis:

Jason Blake is anything but typical. He tells his story in his own language, that of an autistic twelve-year-old boy. He is intelligent and sensitive, with many special gifts, and he is different. We learn of his sensitivity and "differentness" as he writes about his life and describes his world. Through his writing, which he posts on a writing website, he meets another young writer, Rebecca, who responds to the post of his story. Jason is intrigued with this girl in his life and fantasizes about her being his girlfriend. Jason's challenges in school, socially, and at home all portray his difficulty in navigating normal life situations. Complicating his life is his desire to have a girlfriend, and his fear of meeting Rebecca and of her rejection becomes almost too much for Jason. By facing his fear and meeting Rebecca, he is able to grow and ultimately accept himself.

Discussion questions:

1) How do we know, right from the beginning of the book, that Jason is not a typical twelve-year-old? Name some of the characteristics he exhibits. Are these behaviors things you have seen before?

2) The letters NLD, nonverbal learning disorder, and ASD, autistic spectrum disorder, are labels used to identify the symptoms Jason displays. Describe what it would be like to have a conversation with Jason.

3) Does it seem that Jason has a hard time understanding what other people are doing or asking of him? Give an example of a communication from Jason's point of view. What things does he notice? What things are hard for him to tolerate? What things doesn't he notice or respond to?

4) What are some of the techniques his therapist suggests he use in order tocommunicate with NT (neurotypical) people? Do you think these are easy or hard for Jason to do?

5) What does Jason do well? What is he particularly knowledgeable about?

6) Describe Jacob's relationship with his mother, father, and younger brother Jeremy. How has Jason learned to communicate with each of them? What do they do that makes communication with Jason possible? What about his relationships with his aunt, uncle, cousins, therapists, teachers, and librarian? Who is most successful communicating with Jason?

7) Jason's writing, and his use of the writing website, is an outlet that allows him to be anonymous and to be known to others without their awareness of his autism. What do we learn about Jason from his writings?

8) When Jason and Rebecca begin to correspond on the writing website, how does it affect Jason's life? Is he successful in sharing this relationship with others? How does it change how he feels about himself?

9) Through the dialogue in the book, we get insight into how Jason's mind works. Describe the difference between how Jason perceives things and how his "more normal" brother, Jeremy, does.

10) In Chapter 10, Jason is sent home from school, after causing a huge disruption in art class. Everything about the episode shows us who Jason is and how he perceives his surroundings. Describe how Jason experienced the events of art class, and then present the point of view of the teacher and other students. Finally, once Jason is at home, how do his parents see it? We also find out more about how he feels about his parents. What does he tell us about his dad? His mom?

11) In his story about Bennu the dwarf, Jason explores the possibility of a person being fixed of the thing that makes them different. What parallels can you draw between Bennu and Jason?

12) When Jason's parents reward him with a trip to the Storyboard convention, and he finds out Rebecca is attending as well, describe the dilemma that Jason faces. What is his biggest fear? How would you handle facing the same fear of exposing who you really are to someone you liked?

13) How did Jason end up going to the convention? What does he tell us about his relationships with his dad and mom?

14) What happens to Jason after he meets Rebecca? Is Jason's reaction to Rebecca understandable? If you were Rebecca and had just met Jason, how do you think you would react? What questions would you ask yourself?

15) During the convention Jason says that he will never write again. He feels himself shutting down. Do you think that he will continue to write?

16) What happens in the writing workshop that turns Jason around? How is he able to communicate with Rebecca the last time they see each other?

17) How does Jason use Bennu to show his own happy ending? Do you think Jason has also accepted himself?

18) What makes a person who they are? Is it how they look, what they wear, how they act? Does Jason know that he is different from other children?

19) Is Jason's family able to accept him as he is? Does Rebecca accept him? Does that help Jason accept himself? Explain why or why not.

20) Through Jason's voice, we can experience the thoughts and perceptions of an autistic child. Do you think readers of this story will have a better understanding of autism? Support this position, using examples from the book that help explain autism.

Activities:

1) Many young people use writing as a way of sharing who they are: it helps them find a voice that they don't have in talking with people. Try writing something that reveals something about yourself that you may find difficult to tell but that you can write about. The expression that Jason experiences from writing frees him from some of his limitations. What do you feel as you express yourself in your writing?

2) Autism, or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex and unique way of decoding the world. On the following website you can find out more about the disorder and how it affects people: www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/asd.cfm

The signs or symptoms of autism can include:

  • Problems with communication — both verbal and nonverbal
  • Difficulties with sharing emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and holding a conversation
  • Routines or repetitive behaviors — such as repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes. Prepared by JoAnn Jonas, MLS, Youth Services librarian, reviewer, and Children's and Teen Library Services consultant.

Nora Raleigh Baskin was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows. She is the author of four novels for middle-graders and teens, including her new novel, The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Nora lives with her family in Weston, Connecticut.

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Reading Group Guide

Synopsis:

Jason Blake is anything but typical. He tells his story in his own language, that of an autistic twelve-year-old boy. He is intelligent and sensitive, with many special gifts, and he is different. We learn of his sensitivity and "differentness" as he writes about his life and describes his world. Through his writing, which he posts on a writing website, he meets another young writer, Rebecca, who responds to the post of his story. Jason is intrigued with this girl in his life and fantasizes about her being his girlfriend. Jason's challenges in school, socially, and at home all portray his difficulty in navigating normal life situations. Complicating his life is his desire to have a girlfriend, and his fear of meeting Rebecca and of her rejection becomes almost too much for Jason. By facing his fear and meeting Rebecca, he is able to grow and ultimately accept himself.

Discussion questions:

1) How do we know, right from the beginning of the book, that Jason is not a typical twelve-year-old? Name some of the characteristics he exhibits. Are these behaviors things you have seen before?

2) The letters NLD, nonverbal learning disorder, and ASD, autistic spectrum disorder, are labels used to identify the symptoms Jason displays. Describe what it would be like to have a conversation with Jason.

3) Does it seem that Jason has a hard time understanding what other people are doing or asking of him? Give an example of a communication from Jason's point of view. What things does he notice? What things are hard for him to tolerate? What things doesn't he notice or respond to?

4) What are some of the techniques his therapist suggests he use in order to communicate with NT (neurotypical) people? Do you think these are easy or hard for Jason to do?

5) What does Jason do well? What is he particularly knowledgeable about?

6) Describe Jacob's relationship with his mother, father, and younger brother Jeremy. How has Jason learned to communicate with each of them? What do they do that makes communication with Jason possible? What about his relationships with his aunt, uncle, cousins, therapists, teachers, and librarian? Who is most successful communicating with Jason?

7) Jason's writing, and his use of the writing website, is an outlet that allows him to be anonymous and to be known to others without their awareness of his autism. What do we learn about Jason from his writings?

8) When Jason and Rebecca begin to correspond on the writing website, how does it affect Jason's life? Is he successful in sharing this relationship with others? How does it change how he feels about himself?

9) Through the dialogue in the book, we get insight into how Jason's mind works. Describe the difference between how Jason perceives things and how his "more normal" brother, Jeremy, does.

10) In Chapter 10, Jason is sent home from school, after causing a huge disruption in art class. Everything about the episode shows us who Jason is and how he perceives his surroundings. Describe how Jason experienced the events of art class, and then present the point of view of the teacher and other students. Finally, once Jason is at home, how do his parents see it? We also find out more about how he feels about his parents. What does he tell us about his dad? His mom?

11) In his story about Bennu the dwarf, Jason explores the possibility of a person being fixed of the thing that makes them different. What parallels can you draw between Bennu and Jason?

12) When Jason's parents reward him with a trip to the Storyboard convention, and he finds out Rebecca is attending as well, describe the dilemma that Jason faces. What is his biggest fear? How would you handle facing the same fear of exposing who you really are to someone you liked?

13) How did Jason end up going to the convention? What does he tell us about his relationships with his dad and mom?

14) What happens to Jason after he meets Rebecca? Is Jason's reaction to Rebecca understandable? If you were Rebecca and had just met Jason, how do you think you would react? What questions would you ask yourself?

15) During the convention Jason says that he will never write again. He feels himself shutting down. Do you think that he will continue to write?

16) What happens in the writing workshop that turns Jason around? How is he able to communicate with Rebecca the last time they see each other?

17) How does Jason use Bennu to show his own happy ending? Do you think Jason has also accepted himself?

18) What makes a person who they are? Is it how they look, what they wear, how they act? Does Jason know that he is different from other children?

19) Is Jason's family able to accept him as he is? Does Rebecca accept him? Does that help Jason accept himself? Explain why or why not.

20) Through Jason's voice, we can experience the thoughts and perceptions of an autistic child. Do you think readers of this story will have a better understanding of autism? Support this position, using examples from the book that help explain autism.

Activities:

1) Many young people use writing as a way of sharing who they are: it helps them find a voice that they don't have in talking with people. Try writing something that reveals something about yourself that you may find difficult to tell but that you can write about. The expression that Jason experiences from writing frees him from some of his limitations. What do you feel as you express yourself in your writing?

2) Autism, or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex and unique way of decoding the world. On the following website you can find out more about the disorder and how it affects people: www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/asd.cfm

The signs or symptoms of autism can include:

  • Problems with communication — both verbal and nonverbal
  • Difficulties with sharing emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and holding a conversation
  • Routines or repetitive behaviors — such as repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes. Prepared by JoAnn Jonas, MLS, Youth Services librarian, reviewer, and Children's and Teen Library Services consultant.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(50)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating, challenging, enthralling, and incredibly well scripted

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a bit different from the ordinary. It will make you think, it will make you dream, it will make you believe in all that can be possible.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Nobody

    This is an amazing book. I have a cousin with autisum and it made me respect and understand him better than ever before!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Loved it!

    I love this author. She takes the time to research whatever she is writing and turns it into an enjoyable read!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    CarllzReviews!LOL!!!!!!¿

    The person who said he has adhd is wrong he has autism and this book was really god and touched my heart!¿

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2009

    Disappointing

    The best part of this book is the artwork on the cover. I wish I hadn't wasted money on it, the reviews are misleading. There are many better authors to choose from. I think the writer was trying too hard or something.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Autism

    As having an older brother with autism, tuberuscerlosis, and many other health problems, I thought this book was amazing! If you are intrested in this subject I also reccomend the book, RULES.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Has a great meaning

    This book is not only good but it has a meaning that no one could say this any better! Now i understand how the people feel! Like their no buddy...wow!

    I love this book!

    Seny from my nook

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    Amazing!!!

    If you want a great book then you are lookig at it. This is a sad but happy. Its heart wrenching. I am sure you will enjoy this book. This book will make you view not only the world and people differently, it will make you view yourself differently. All i can say is i love this book. What about you?
    LIVE LEARN LOVEc

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Amazing

    I have read this book over 3 times and learn something unique and different each time i read it!(:

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by LadyJay for TeensReadToo

    Jason is different from other 6th-graders. He loves routine, hates noisy, overcrowded places, and constantly reminds himself to breathe.

    He is obviously not like other NT's (neurotypicals), the so-called "normal" people in the world. The NT's say things, but nothing is ever behind the words. Jason doesn't understand why people talk and never mean what they say. This is why he doesn't look at anyone. Jason gets distracted by faces - the way they morph when someone is speaking.

    Such is the life of a young autistic boy. He longs to make everything okay, for his parents' sake, but progress is slow. Jason only feels "quiet" when he is on the computer. His stories allow him to take on different personas, and in that realm, he is safe and content.

    This novel gives an extraordinary view of an autistic child's life. Having Jason narrate his own story allows the reader a view into his world. It is chaotic, and sometimes frightening, but there is also hope.

    Jason's love of writing opens a whole new world to him. In that world, he can be whoever he wants to be; in that world, he is a "normal" kid.

    ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL is an excellent novel that everyone should read. It is eye-opening, unexpected, and thoughtful. Ms. Baskin deserves major kudos for this wonderful piece of writing.

    Reviewed by: LadyJay

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Anything But Typical, BORINGGG :p

    Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin is not a very interesting realistic fiction novel. Anything But Typical, was a pretty stupid book. The topic jumps around to much, which confusing and unclear. Also the main character, Jason Blake, is an autistic boy and he doesn't do anything typical. The novel is set in modern day New Jersey, a small quiet town.
    In the novel, Jason Blake is a big fan of writing, since not many people like him, he turns to make believe stories to take up him time. Jason's parents decide to take him to the "Story Board Convention," that happens every year. Jason's cyber girlfriend, Rebecca, is going too. When Jason finds out that she is also going, Jason freaks. He doesn't want her to find out who he really is, because he feels frivolous in the elite crowds.
    Jason was a normal kid, he played baseball and went to friend's houses, until he reached 6th grade. In kindergarten, the teachers recommended Jason to get tested for ADD, and ADHD. Jason got older and his conditions became worse. He was almost behind in every class, every subject. Kids made fun of him constantly. For instance, in computer class Jason likes a specific computer, his computer. He saw that the computer was being used. His skin hurt, he couldn't breathe easily. Also when Jason went to visit his Uncle Bobby and cousin, Seth. Seth made Jason angry by making fun of him, calling him "special" so Jason lost all control. He hit Seth, and didn't even realize what he did.
    In the novel, you're basically reading everything from how Jason feels, to his perspective on every situation of every day. The author also uses Jason's high vocabulary skills in her writing.
    If you like slow paced books, then this book is good for you. Also if you enjoy knowing everything the character is thinking, feeling, and saying, you should read this book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sweet and Touching all the way!!!

    This book intrigued me by page one. The daily struggled of the main charicter makes me want to cry! I read through this in only three days, I recoment this to anyone who wants a read of all you can want!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2013

    Eleveen year old

    I really liked the book it reminded me of a book callednout of my mind whitch is about an autistic girl.Both stories help non autistics or nuerotypicals in jason's veiw see inside an autistic mind.See that they think about the same things that we do that they are not as dome as they seem and sometimes smarter

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Love

    A must read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Omg!!!!!

    This book is great

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    Rate and review

    It was a good but sad book but att times i would get confused at
    if what the book was saying was happening or was it just jason and hisidea ofhowthat event would occur.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Great

    Its about a boy who has adhd and fines someone like him when he thinks no one is.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Luv it

    I loved it. I thought Nora did a good job explaining his thoughts

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    I like

    Very good. Is a great way how nora r. Baker makes rebecca turn out to be........... i wont spoil the ending. Over all a great read in my opinion

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2012

    Watching Grass Grow Would be More Interesting Than Anything But Typical

    Anything But Typical is about 6th grader Jason Blake. Jason is different from everybody else (the neurotypicals), he has Autism. Jason doesn't understand the neurotypicals, like why do they lie so much or why do they treat him like a baby. Afraid, is how Jason feels most often. He's afraid, that at anytime something could go wrong and he will embarrass himself, which will then result in his parents intervening. Jason's passion is writing, and he comes across a tiny amount of understanding, when PheonixBird, a girl actually named Rebecca, posts about his story. They then talk frequently online over the writing website, StoryBoard, and Jason really feels like he can be himself while he's talking to her. Then Jason discovers that he may meet Rebecca at a StoryBoard convention and he's once again afraid, thinking that when she sees him, she will have the same reaction as all the other neurotypicals do and shun him like everyone else. This book takes Autism in the first person and really shows that just like regular people, all they want to be, is accepted. Anything But Typical talks too much about Jason's feelings, and does not talk enough about his experiences. There are hardly any exciting parts in the story and very little dialogue too, which may bother some like it bothered me. Other parts are about Jason and his struggles, which seem so simple and could be fixed so easily, yet they portray Jason as someone who doesn't really want to change and someone who doesn't even want to or try to solve the conflicts. Also, the relationship between Rebecca and Jason, turns out to be pointless and doesn't have much significance to the book, as he really doesn't say anything to her. The only thing that kept me from rating this a one star, was that there is one surprising twist near the end, and it keeps the ending slightly interesting. I would recommend this book to female teenagers, as males may think this book is too boring, and to people who know an autistic person, so that they may get a feel to how they see things.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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