This book immerses you into the world of autism. It was really insightful seeing the world through Caitlin's eyes--she has one of the most distinct character voices I've ever read. This book helped me understand more about this disorder, both from Caitlin's point of view and from those around her. I felt myself sympathizing with all sides. I felt frustration on Caitlin's behalf for not being able to readily understand body language and emotion, and I understood the feelings of helplessness of those trying to help her. I admired the way her counselor stood up for her, and at the same time pushed her to move out of her comfort zone. When Caitlin takes her advice and tries to make a new friend, a surprising connection is forged-- one that helps Caitlin through her grieving period and find closure.
Caitlin's family has really been through a lot. Her mom died from cancer a few years before the story opens, Caitlin struggling with autism, and now the family is trying to cope with Devon's death. At first, it seems that this latest trial will tear the family apart. But in Caitlin's search for closure, she not only brings healing to her family, but to the community as well. I loved the references to the book 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and how it helped give Caitlin the strength to take charge of her family's situation and start to turn things around.
This book emotionally drew me in, and I kept thinking about the story days after I finished it. A must-read!
Awards: National Book Award for Young People's literature (2010),
YALSA Awards for Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011)