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Kids Like Us is the delightful, heartwarming story of Martin, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who falls for Gilberte-Alice, a ‘normal’ French girl. While spending summer in the French countryside with his mother, Martin mistakes Gilberte for a character in a novel he is obsessed with—Marcel Proust’s masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. He gradually realises she is not Gilberte, the fantasy girl, but a real person named Alice. Falling in love, in all its unpredictability, teaches Martin that he can in fact connect, can get out of his bubble.
Offering a valuable window into the mind of a high-functioning autistic kid, Kids Like Us is also the ultimate book about acceptance. Perhaps we are all in our own bubble; perhaps the line between reality and imagination does not have to be fixed. We meet Martin’s adorable older sister, Elisabeth, his friend Layla and her very useful ‘moth’ theory. And there’s lots of great cooking. The prose is sharp, original and brimming with empathy and humour. For those who loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
‘Whether tender and familiar or brilliant and disorienting, Kids Like Us weaves together a truly atypical love story—from pound cake and Proust, from autism and family dysfunction—but always with the rare, luminous humanity that makes a true teen anthem, another Fault in our Stars.’
‘A heartfelt celebration of young life with all its strange and endearing awkwardness, obsessions and first eruptions of love.’
‘For a teenager on the spectrum, a simple human connection can be an epic challenge. In her wonderfully touching YA debut, Hilary Reyl tells the story of one boy’s effort to connect his imaginary world to the real one. There is love, humor and compassion on every page. You’ll be blown away by this boy and by this book.’
‘The most original voice since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime tells the most radiantly human love story since Eleanor and Park. Reyl’s extraordinary YA debut isn’t just a book you read; this is one of those rare books that reaches in deep and writes you back.’
‘Kids Like Us is a song in which, like life, both harmony and dissonance play their part. The writing is beautiful; the setting lush and evocative. I didn’t want to leave Martin’s world.’
‘Kids Like Us was a really beautiful story…I loved the writing and the sparse but well placed details. I thought this was a thoroughly accurate and interesting exploration of the autistic mind, feelings and experiences.’
‘Reyl movingly captures the point of view of a person who sees the world in a completely different way. Her writing is lucid and luminous, and the first-person narrative has a cinematic quality as Martin processes the world around him. Charming, thoughtful Martin is easy to root for, and readers will cheer as he triumphs over obstacles.’
‘The original narrative voice of 16-year-old Martin drives adult author Reyl’s insightful and multi-layered first book for teens, which brims with nostalgia, romance, complex supporting characters, and fascinating introspection.’
‘The book’s indebtedness to Proust goes beyond lyrical phrases to a thematic embrace of the slow savouring of the richness of human experience. In the end, however, it is Martin’s ability to move beyond things past to the possibilities that open up when you accept yourself and others that gives this wise story its resonance.’