autism

Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

The State of Grace
The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Disclaimer: advanced reader copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

The State of Grace is the YA debut of Rachael Lucas, and it’s an OwnVoices novel about a teenage girl, the aforementioned Grace, who has Asperger’s. It’s been a long time coming for actual autistic representation in fiction, and especially in YA, which is known for tackling different subjects especially around mental health (and disability, to an extent).

As someone with family experience of autism, there were touches here and there which really make this book special, little insights into the life of an autistic person and how autistic people are treated as people. This is what really elevated this book for me – this is a book crafted with care from personal experience and it’s relatable and understandable.

Grace is a realistic character and feels more ‘teenage’ than some YA heroines as she gets to grip with teenage love and deals with school bullies and teachers and being a teenage girl. The romance in this book is sweet and, although I’m tired of every YA heroine needing a swoony love interest, we also need to be aware of the desexualisation of disabled people and that relationships with and between disabled people can, and do, exist and flourish.

I also loved that this book was set in North West England and I’m pretty sure I spotted some of the places from my childhood in this book so it gets a big thumps up from me for that!

The State of Grace is a quick, sweet and funny read that fills a much needed gap in UK YA. A must-read!

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Review: Cuckoo by Keren David

Cuckoo
Cuckoo by Keren David

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I read Cuckoo (I read it during YALC weekend!) but I’ve been way behind on my reviewing due to a job offer(!) and trying to pack up to move house…

Cuckoo is the story of Jake, an actor in Market Square, the country’s hottest soap. Except he’s pretty much been dropped, and his family are suffering from the lack of income. His dad’s angrier, and Jake’s autistic brother Adam can be difficult to deal with – and then Jake finds out none of the money he’s earned over the years has been saved. Soon, he finds himself homeless – hidden at first, couchsurfing on all his friend’s sofas, and then on the street.

The first thing I should probably mention is the format of this book – it’s fairly short, split into short chapters which are each the script of an individual video. The book is Jake telling his story through the medium of vlogging, and there are comments at the end of each chapter. It’s a really unique format, and after reading another scriptbook this month (Cursed Child), this actually does work – there are enough characters in each chapter, each with a unique voice, that it really is effortless to read.

As someone who has an autistic sibling, I thought the character of Adam was dealt with particularly well. I think it’s easy when writing autistic characters to slip into constant tropes, and I didn’t think this happened here.

If you’re looking for something truly unique (especially in format, which was particularly innovative), and a quick read for summer that tackles some difficult issues, look no further than Cuckoo by Keren David.

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