Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Me on Fragile Bones

Title: Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna
Author: Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Release Date: March 15, 2015
Publisher: Clockwise Press

Meet Harrison and Anna. One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of "appropriate behaviour" mystifies him: he doesn't understand most people and they certainly don't understand him. The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.

Fragile Bones is intriguing and eye-opening, a look into the lives of two teens and the struggles they face daily. A look into autism and not only how it impacts Harrison but the people around him.

Harrison is an interesting character with his honest no nonsense voice, his rituals and routines, his breakdowns. His family, as supportive as they can be, with their gentle nudges towards trying new things. His is a very clear view of the world. Black and white, no shades of grey. Ordered. The world is chaotic, changing, unpredictable, and Harrison's brain can't quite process that the way someone's without autism can.

Anna is bright and cheerful. She tries so hard to get her mother's approval, to get her to understand it's not all about going to university on the east coast or in the UK. She tries so hard in school. She tries so hard to make things work with Harrison, not just going through the motions but genuinely interested in getting to know him better. But she doesn't need to try so hard all the time. The answers aren't always found in a textbook. There's no shame in not being perfect, in not knowing everything.

Harrison's family tries to help, they try to understand him. I didn't always like them, though. I'm torn between supporting them as they support him, as they try to break him out of his shell, and disliking them for putting too much pressure on him to mature and one day get a girlfriend. That he'll have to get over his phobia of germs if he's ever going to kiss a girl one day. I'm not sure if he'll ever be interested in girls that way.

This is a very interesting and relevant kind of book. It's not overwhelmed by the young romance Anna has, there's a good mix of friendship and learning along with it. It's all about Harrison and Anna learning from each other. Harrison's growth is slow, but I expected that. Baby steps. If the series continues, I imagine I'll continue reading it.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Clockwise Press through NetGalley.)

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