19 November 2012

Better than Weird by Anna Kerz

It isn't always being different, especially when you go to school with people who don't understand "different." Especially when your dad left home after your mom died, years ago, and you are worried he'll never come back. Especially when you can't seem to figure out when things are funny or not, when people are angry, or when you are supposed to keep still. Especially when you would do anything to hold onto just one friend (besides your grandmother).

Aaron has a lot on his plate. His excitement for his dad to come home (with a surprise!) is overwhelming, and he's been making lists of all the things they can do together. Plus, he's working with the chorus to be part of the upcoming play, even though it doesn't seem like anyone thinks he's a very good singer. And he's trying to avoid Tufar who even Aaron can tell looks angry every time they cross paths. His mind is in one hundred different directions, and he's having a very difficult time just getting through each day without getting into trouble or getting hurt.

This is the story of Aaron, a pretty normal kid who everyone else thinks behaves badly or inappropriately. Parents and brothers and sisters of kids with special needs, learning difficulties, or behavior disorders will recognize their own lives, and Aaron's perspective on life is endearing, eye-opening, and humbling for all of us. Great reading for all readers in middle school, particularly.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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