Thursday, July 19, 2018

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl | Review

This novel asks us the questions about love and our identities.

It took me two days to finish this story and I really enjoyed the time I spent on this book. A coming of age story about a boy named Martin, a sixteen year old with autism. The book starts in second person which confused me at first. Eventually, I got used to it; this actually makes us more immersed in the story because it transposes us to his life. I do not have much knowledge about autism but this really got me thinking about it and how most of us actually see it.

Martin is an American teen on the autism spectrum living in France with his mom and sister for the summer. He falls for a French girl who he thinks is a real-life incarnation of a character in his favorite book. Over time Martin comes to realize she is a real person and not a character in a novel while at the same time learning that love is not out of his reach just because he is autistic.

It fascinates me how Martin associates the people he meets in France to the characters in his favorite book, In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. He attends a summer school where he meets a girl who he believes to be Gilberte (a character in his favorite novel) but soon learns isn't Gilberte, and falls in love with her anyway. I really love the line Martin says in one of the chapters,

At first, Mr. Swann loves Odette because she looks like this painting, but eventually Mr. Swann loves the painting because it is a painting of her.

I had to pause after reading that because yessss.

Things I love:

There’s soo much food which delights our senses as we read the ingredients that are used by Martin and Bernadette. Now where can I get myself some madeleines?
+ I rarely read much books set in France so this was really cool. What makes this even more interesting is how they speak in French (although the book is in English) and it explains the little details and differences the language has.
+ There are several discourses about neurodiversity which give readers a lot to ponder about.

Things I didn't quite like:

+ As much as I like Martin (and his sister Elisabeth and friend Layla,) I didn't really like the other characters, I felt like they were too shallow. I would have loved to get to know his love interest more because I wasn't really attached to her, as if she was just there and nothing more.
+ The ending. Don’t get me wrong, I was satisfied at what happened in the end. I just want mooore.

Let me add, this isn't just a love story, it's so much more than that.

Overall, it was a good read and I'd recommend it to anyone who wishes to better understand the autism spectrum, who are looking for a quick touching read, and to those who want to recall the feeling of awkward first love.

Rating: 4/5
Genre: fiction, young adult

Many thanks to Hilary Reyl, Text Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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