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Wednesday, 28 February 2018 / No comments

Blog Tour: Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson

Title: Differently Normal
Author: Tammy Robinson
Publisher: Hachette
Date of Publication: Feb 2018
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Summary:


For Maddy, life is all about routine. It has to be, to keep her autistic sister happy and healthy. With just Maddy and her mother as Bee's full-time carers, there's no time in Maddy's life for complications like friends, let alone a boyfriend. So when Bee joins a new Riding for the Disabled stable and they meet Albert, the last thing on Maddy's mind is falling in love.

Some things, she's about to learn, are outside of our control. 

Albert has resigned himself to always being a disappointment to his strict father. When he meets Maddy, he gets a glimpse of what being part of a family can be like, and of the tremendous sacrifices that people will make for the ones that they love.

Review:


I'm always a little wary of reading books with autistic characters, while at the same time looking out for them. There's a risk that the character will be a stereotype, or a list of symptoms, and also that carers will be portrayed as inspirational, or worse, a victim of their circumstances with a heavy burden.

Maddy's sister Bee has multiple disabilities, including autism. She also has severe epilepsy and so can't be left alone. Maddy and her mother care for Bee between them. She's not portrayed as a burden to them, and Maddy loves her dearly, but it can't be denied that Bee's needs have an impact on Maddy's life.

Albert is happy working at the local stables, but doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, other than get out of town and away from his father and brother. Albert has been stepped on and put down his entire life, and the only place he feels happy is at the beach.

Maddy and Albert meet at the stables and he's instantly taken with her. She takes a little longer to warm up, but a genuine friendship develops between the two. Tension develops when Albert reveals his plans to leave town. Maddy knows she could never leave Bee, so how could the two of them have a future together?



I loved the relationship between Maddy and Bee. Maddy is caring without being smothering, and doesn't wallow in her role as carer. I also liked the way Albert accepted Bee and
recognised that if he wanted to get closer to Maddy, then Bee was part of the package.

Told in alternating viewpoints, this is definitely a book that pulls at the heartstrings, and I shed more than a couple of tears throughout.

I've focused a bit on Bee here, and this is not her book, it's Maddy and Albert's, but she is such a pivotal part of the story, and it was important to me that she be portrayed with care.

Recommended for an older YA audience.



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