We are celebrating the inaugural Bartlett Reads community reading event by reading the New York Times bestselling book The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by local author David Finch. This September, the community will come together to read the book, and attend eventsbased on the themes in the book.
Waiting for No One by Beverley Brenna
Taylor Jane Simon is an eighteen-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome who has a refreshingly different view of the people she encounters and the life she wants to have. Young adult readers will identify with Taylor’s struggle for independence and self-control, and empathize as she outlines the ways-both positive and negative– that her Asperger’s Syndrome affects her daily life. Connecting with a play by Samuel Beckett, Taylor explores a fear of solitary existence while reaching out to a world at times perplexing. Most important, Taylor wants to be seen as an individual, not as a stereotypical “person with special needs,” or a rare wild flower-images that haunt her from the past.
Livvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley
Olivia “Livvie” Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they again face eviction, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once. The problem is, Livvie burned down that house. But she’s not giving up. Here is her story.
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white–the world is full of colors–messy and beautiful.
A Certain October by Angela Johnson
Scotty compares herself to tofu: no flavor unless you add something. And it’s true that Scotty’s friends, Misha and Falcone, and her brother, Keone, make life delicious. But when a terrible accident occurs, Scotty feels responsible for the loss of someone she hardly knew, and the world goes wrong. She cannot tell what is a dream and what is real. Her friends are having a hard time getting through to her and her family is preoccupied with their own trauma. But the prospect of a boy, a dance, and the possibility that everything can fall back into place soon help Scotty realize that she is capable of adding her own flavor to life.
Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer
Ben has always had it pretty easy–with no acting experience, he landed the lead in his high school musical, and he’s dating the prettiest girl in school. Haunted by memories of 9/11, he makes the decision to enlist in the army–with devastating consequences. Somehow nobody ever thought Ben would be one of the soldiers affected, but after his convoy gets caught in an explosion, Ben is in a coma for two months. When he wakes up, he doesn’t know where he is, and he doesn’t remember anything about his old life. His family and friends mourn what they see as a loss, but Ben perseveres.
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions. But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate’s birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It’s up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin’s frequent tormenter, didn’t bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn’t have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun…
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives). Still, Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. But when a fatal tragedy threatens Amber’s optimism–and her way of life, can Amber continue to be the rock star of hope? With an oddball cast of characters, and a heartwarming, inspiring story, this novel unveils a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope. The world is Amber’s stage, and Amber is, well…she’s sorta like a rock star. True? True.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear–part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify–and he’s always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm’s mailroom in order to experience “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm.
He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file — a picture of a girl with half a face — that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.