By Jennifer Roy

This was another book that I read for the project on Autism in children’s literature.

This is the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his typical teen issues: having a crush, wanting to be cool, dealing with peer pressure, handling an insensitive parent, applying to grad school… oh wait…. I should probably explain that he has Asperger’s Syndrome (on the Autism spectrum).

You never know with books that deal with any disability or difference. It could be a wonderful narrative where a person is well-rounded and complex and deals with real life in an interesting/insightful way OR it could be a narrative where the character is nothing BUT that disability or difference: he or she is stereotypical, tragic, noble, and maybe overcomes his or her disability or difference.

Thankfully, this book was the former.

This was a great book about what it means to be a fourteen-year-old kid and what it means to feel insufficient. Sure, his circumstances might not be the typical teen story, but I could completely relate to being that age and already not living up to your own expectations of yourself.

In addition, Mindblind provides great insight and understanding into Asperger’s Syndrome. I was relieved to see that Nathaniel has a very loving mother and a very loyal group of friends, none of whom are friends with him because of pity. Nathaniel wrestles with his own inadequacies, but in his friends’ eyes, he is far past impressive. They support and encourage each other, and he is not the only one who needs a pat on the back. His foes are few and far between: his father and a kid from school. But mainly, his issues are within himself.

 I did think the genius thing got a LITTLE out of hand with him being fourteen and in the scholastic position he is in… but I hate to give any spoilers.

I highly recommend this book to young-adult and teen readers.

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