This engaging story is about a couple of teenage boys coming to terms with all that life throws at modern teenagers – girls, homework, and uncooperative parents. I am reluctant to tell you that the main character Marty has a mild form of autism, because although it is central to the way the story is told and to the way Marty sees the world, the book is not about “dealing with autism”.
It is neither condescending nor seeking sympathy. Autism is in the background but only to just explain the unusual and charming way that Marty experiences his world.
Marty’s best friend, Luke, is coping with his own issues – he’s lost a lower leg to meningitis – and both get involved with a school based business young enterprise scheme (YES) in part to be close to the girls they are both besotted with. As in real life, Marty has to deal with a number of issues and personal challenges along the way. As their YES project progresses, life’s challenges threaten to overpower their lives. The constant in Marty’s life is his recently deceased grandfather – a rock whose influence was far reaching in the boy’s life and whose absence is sorely missed.
This is a story that almost any teenage readers could associate with.
Each of the teenage characters, including the flawed but irresistible female muses, is utterly believable. I had fallen in love with Marty by page 10, and really wanted his life issues to be resolved. More importantly I wanted to go on the journey with Marty and see where he ended up. Most teenagers will enjoy sharing Marty’s journey as well and will relate to much of this modern story themselves.
by Deborah Burnside
Published by HarperCollins
Reviewed by Gillian Torckler