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.
Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Clockwise Press.
Fragile Bones is an insightful journey into the mind of someone with high functioning Autism. Told from two perspectives, the reader experiences both the outsider and insider view coupling poignant emotion with total understanding.
- This was my first book featuring a main character with high functioning autism. I didn’t know there was a distinction between different forms of autism. It was a true learning experience. My eyes were opened to how even the most minute things can cause anxiety and fear in those with autism, from shirt colors, to mixing of foods, specific items or shapes. It was fascinating and enlightening.
- Lorna Schultz Nicholson did a ton of research for this story and you can really tell. Harrison’s sections are filled with meticulous attention to detail, spouts of words and ideas that seem to flow from Harrison without ability to filter. His obsession with bones brings him comfort and certainty. If he can recite the bones, everything is okay. When Harrison gets overwhelmed, sometimes he feels helpless and confused. The reader can identify with his loss of control as he abruptly goes from okay to flapping his arms and throwing things. Loss of motor control and speech is real and it’s chaotic. Harrison looks at the world with a wonder that is beautiful and inspirational. He sees things in ways that are unique and personal. He makes connections and has so much passion. He doesn’t always understand how the world works, he can’t differentiate between a girl who is a friend and a girlfriend. He takes everything literally and at face value.
- Anna is smart and perceptive. She’s kind hearted and even though she signed up for the Best Buddies program to up her resume for college, she grows as a person and discovers a lot about herself. Anna didn’t really care and wasn’t aware of the struggles that people with mental disabilities go through. Anna researches and studies, she makes mistakes and learns quickly from them. Anna is hyper sensitive to Harrison’s mannerisms and tries to find creative ways to defuse the situation when he starts to freak out.
- I LOVED that the author explained the Best Buddies program and featured people with all sorts of disabilities. Sometimes people write off those with mental disabilities and group them in as all being the same. Each and every one is different and the people are unique. As someone who was part of the Best Buddies program it moved me that Lorna really put heart and soul into it and showed how the program could be started at schools who do not have one.
- Alan is hilarious. He’s a little pervy but like the typical teenage boy. One scene had me laughing like crazy. The boys Youtube how to make out. ❤ Alan is charming and his friendship with Harrison is made of understanding and an unshakable bond.
- Anna and Harrison’s story in terms of plot didn’t feel like it went anywhere. The ending sort of fizzled out and it wasn’t so much closure as…it had to end.
- The story is slow and fell flat at points because no much was happening. Told from both Anna and Harrison’s perspectives, scenes are repeated and experienced from two POVs. While it was interesting to see the situation two ways, it was repetitive and I felt the urge to skim.
- Secondary characters like Joel and Marnie were intriguing, I would have liked to have seen more of them as part of the story. They had short scenes that were memorable but didn’t last.
- Bullying is a huge theme that is present throughout and affects almost all of the characters. Despite the constant reiteration of incidents, there’s not much on the repercussions for the bully, the after effects on bullied kids with disabilities (apart from Justin’s sister) and I felt like, in order to form a stronger connection to the characters emotionally, there needed to be a greater focus on bullying and the aftermath.
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