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Anything But Typical

Anything But Typical

For Ages: 10 - 14
  • reading group guide
  • 22awards
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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  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439158449 | 
  • March 2009 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9 | 
  • Lexile HL640
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List Price $7.99
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Reading Group Guide

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
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 see more

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About the Author

Nora Raleigh Baskin
Photograph by Lisa Bevis

Nora Raleigh Baskin

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 ofnovels 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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