In Caitlin s world, everything is black or white Things are good or bad Anything in between is confusing That s the stuff Caitlin s older brother, Devon, has always explained But now Devon s dead and Dad is no help at all Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven year old girl with Asperger s, she doesn t know how When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white the world is full of colors messy and beautifulKathryn Erskine has written a must read gem, one of the most moving novels of the year


10 thoughts on “Mockingbird

  1. Nicola Mansfield Nicola Mansfield says:

    Reason for Reading I have Asperger s and when I saw a book that featured a female protagonist with Asperger s I was elated and HAD to read the book.I came away from this book very satisfied As a female with Asperger s I felt that Caitlin was portrayed realistically There can be wide differences in how males and females present and I think the author managed to bring those out in Caitlin, though the intense plot does put Caitlin in a situation above and beyond normal everyday life.A small town Reason for Reading I have Asperger s and when I saw a book that featured a female protagonist with Asperger s I was elated and HAD to read the book.I came away from this book very satisfied As a female with Asperger s I felt that Caitlin was portrayed realistically There can be wide differences in how males and females present and I think the author managed to bring those out in Caitlin, though the intense plot does put Caitlin in a situation above and beyond normal everyday life.A small town has been devastated The local junior high was hit by two gun wielding students who managed to kill one teacher and two students before the police shot one perpetrator and apprehended the other One of the students who was shot is Caitlin s older brother, Devon Their mother had died many years ago when Caitlin was a baby and Devon had really become her rock He was a great big brother He treated her well and knew how to deal with her as a person with Asperger s almost naturally He d tell her not to do stuff cause it wasn t cool or that people didn t like it when she did this or that and why and his advice helped her Now Caitlin s world revolves around seeing a councilor daily at school, coping with her father s sudden crying sessions and missing Devon in her own way People want her to beemotional and showempathy traits those with Asperger s do not always appear to show and Caitlin finally finds the word CLOsure and knows that is what both she and her father need.The plot itself is well done A small community coping with this horrible violence that has entered its once thought serene boundaries The author shows the effect not only on the family of those murdered and the staff and students at the school, but staff at other schools, neighbours, and a boy who was the cousin of one of the killers There is fear, disbelief, and togetherness but no anger as they bond to help the community as one, heal Very well done.As to the Asperger s, from the author s note she does not outright say but it seems clear that either she or a loved one has an aspie child and she is writing from experience Caitlin is well presented as a female with Asperger s The typical picture the public has of someone with AS is a science, math, computer geek and this is not wrong These are often very strong interests in males which doesn t mean some females will too but typically females show their geekiness in words and books They are writers, bookworms, grammar police, etc Caitlin here is an excellent student with great writing skills and a fascination with the dictionary, who keeps lists of words with the accentuated part in caps Typical female AS behaviour Caitlin has some meltdowns, fortunately the author doesn t over do them, as has been done in other books I ve read Girls are less likely to have seriously noticeable meltdowns and hyperactivity making the typical age of diagnoses around 16 rather 8 as in boys Caitlin s two least favourite subjects at school are recess and PE This really endeared her to me as those were my most hated subjects as well There is this anxiety feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as an aspie and Caitlin associates this with recess so whenever she gets this feeling she will say she is feeling recessy or has the recess feeling This beautifully describes an everyday symptom of Asperger s.The main aspect the author emphasizes here though is the AS person s lack of ability to show emotion or empathy I think Erskine does manage to show that while we do not show emotion it does not mean we do not feel emotion Two very different points to keep in mind Empathy is something that Caitlin herself struggles with and tries to understand and the whole book is a process for her in finding out how to show she has this to others and to understand herself, that she does While many Asperger s people may lack emotion or empathy, I think the majority of us agree that we lack the ability to SHOW it, rather than that we do not feel the emotions or know how to feel them I would also like to add my own bit of advice Never force an Asperger s person to look you in the eye, it is akin to torture.Anyway, I felt a lot of sympatico with Caitlin and the author in her ability to show a positive female character with Asperger s My only negative is that I personally do not agree with the the medical methods being used to treat Caitlin


  2. Lisa Lisa says:

    Books are not like people Books are safe For a girl with Asperger s who has lost her brother in a school shooting, safety is a luxury she can t reach while people keep staring at her and while her father is in deepest grief Finding Closure is her mission, and as her world is literal and doesn t contain the complexity of different underlying meanings, she goes by her beloved dictionary s definition of closure to start with In a process that requires incredible bravery, she manages to deve Books are not like people Books are safe For a girl with Asperger s who has lost her brother in a school shooting, safety is a luxury she can t reach while people keep staring at her and while her father is in deepest grief Finding Closure is her mission, and as her world is literal and doesn t contain the complexity of different underlying meanings, she goes by her beloved dictionary s definition of closure to start with In a process that requires incredible bravery, she manages to develop a method for herself to reach other people working on discovering empathy in a practical rather than linguistic sense and she makes connections in life through literary references To Kill A Mockingbird, the book title she didn t understand as it was too allusive, becomes a symbol for her wish to get back to living after The Day Their Lives Fell Apart Don t kill any innocent people a simpe message, brutally ignored Don t discriminate against people who are different another message, equally important, and equally often ignored If politicians stand up and talk about school shooters as disturbed , and young kids with Aspergers get to hear that their behaviour is disturbed as well, that is brutally disturbing to their peace of mind, as understanding the world literally part of their reality Show empathy, even if it is hard work, and you will eventually learn not to feel like life is as stressful as recess in school for a child on the autistic spectrum Absolutely wonderful story with a strong message for all of us we all have difficulties, and we all have talents Let s work on being able to read the Facial Expressions Charts properly so we react with empathy in our interactions Not only Caitlin struggles with that, and not all of us are as honestly trying as she is


  3. Betsy Betsy says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Children s librarians read quite a few books for kids and the result is that we tend to want to discuss them with one another Unlucky librarians are surrounded solely by people who agree with their opinions You re much luckier if you happen to have a group of close folks around you who can offer alternate takes on the books you read and critique Now, it doesn t happen every year but once in a while children s books novels in particular become divisive Folks draw battle lines in the sand an Children s librarians read quite a few books for kids and the result is that we tend to want to discuss them with one another Unlucky librarians are surrounded solely by people who agree with their opinions You re much luckier if you happen to have a group of close folks around you who can offer alternate takes on the books you read and critique Now, it doesn t happen every year but once in a while children s books novels in particular become divisive Folks draw battle lines in the sand and declare that a book is either infinitely lovable and the greatest thing since sliced bread, or loathsome beyond belief, the words shaming the very paper they are printed upon In the last few years such divisive books have included everything from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to The Underneath This year, 2010, one particular book has earned that honor Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine marks the author s second foray into books for youth the first being her young adult novel Quaking It has garnered a great deal of praise, from such notable authors as Andrew Clements and Sharon Creech It has been nominated, as of this review, for a National Book Award in the Young Person s category And I tell you truly, I m afraid that it s a book that just doesn t do it for me There are some great books coming out in 2010, but this is simply not one of them.Caitlin doesn t quite understand Her older brother Devon is dead, killed tragically in a school shooting She understands that, of course, but she doesn t like what his death has brought with it As a kid with Asperger s, Caitlin has a difficult enough time figuring out the world around her as it is Now she has glommed onto a word that seems to offer her a way out her current unhappiness Closure If she can find closure for Devon s death, maybe that will help her, help her dad, help everyone who s hurting The only question is, what can a girl like Caitlin do to help herself and everyone else as well Here are some of the criticisms of Mockingbird that I personally do not agree with 1 That children will not pick this book up Certainly they won t pick up the hardcover the paperback sports a much nicer, if unfortunately trendy, image due to the fact that it s just a blue sky and not much else But if they begin to read, I can see them being sufficiently intrigued to continue 2 That this is not an authentic view of Asperger s I don t agree, partially because you do have to take each child on a case by case basis.Here are some of the criticisms of Mockingbird that I personally DO agree with First off, there is the fact that the book is attempting too much at one time This is true Mockingbird wants to be three different kinds of books all at once It would prefer to be a book about a school shooting and how a community deals with the aftermath This is the very first thing Erskine mentions in the Author s Note, so it appears to be the most important to her The second thing it would like to be is a book about Asperger s Done Third, it would ALSO like to be a book about a dead family member That s three different storylines Three that in and of themselves would bethan enough for any middle grade novel And I think that two of them together would have worked just fine, but by adding all three together Erskine overplays her hand She relies on Caitlin solving not just her own personal problems, but the problems of an entire community This rings false for the reader, and the novel s conclusion ends up feeling rushed and pat rather than true and heartfelt.Which brings us to my second problem When it comes to the conclusion of any novel, the reader needs to believe in it If everything appears too pat, you lose something along the way In the case of Caitlin, the closure is too clean Right off the bat you have the question of why Caitlin is so obsessed with the nature of closure, not just for herself but for everyone Compare this book for a moment to Alan Silberberg s, Milo Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze Like Caitlin, the hero of that book, Milo, is searching for a kind of closure to his mother s death He is singularly self obsessed, much like Caitlin, but his pain is his own, with some understanding that his dad and sister must feel somewhat similar When Milo finds a solution to his problem finding and seeking out objects that remind him of his mother it inadvertently brings him and his father together again That, I could believe Caitlin s belief that she needs to find closure for her entire community, though Unfortunately, I felt manipulated by that sudden shift in plotting It seemed necessary for the story for Caitlin to help her community come to terms with her brother s death, but I didn t believe for a moment that Caitlin the character would care about others in this manner She goes from an inability to feel empathy one moment to becoming the most empathetic girl in the whole wide world the next I didn t buy it.The writing itself for the most part wasn t problematic However, there were little moments when I found it getting a touch cutesy After hearing Mrs Brook tell her that she is convinced that Caitlin can learn empathy, our heroine slips off her shoes and touches her toes to the floor I pull my feet off of the floor and shove them back into my sneakers At least I tried dipping my toe in empathy That s a fair example of a couple points in the story where the text becomes a little too on the nose to feel real It doesn t happen often, but there are moments.The Asperger s I do not question because that is tricky territory I do not have a child with Asperger s and Ms Erskine does However, this raises a fairly interesting point in and of itself When Cynthia Lord wrote the Newbery Honor winning book Rules she made her narrator not an autistic boy, but rather his put upon older sister This was remarkably clever of her Then, when you get to the end of the book, the reader finds out via the bookflap that the author has an autistic son of her own The book is therefore lent a kind of authenticity through this admission As I read Mockingbird however, I found myself wondering if the author had any personal connection or knowledge of Asperger s that could lend the book similar authenticity I read the bookflap and the Author s Note and came up with nothing Nada It was only through the grapevine that I heard the rumor that Ms Erskine has a daughter of her own with Asperger s Now why on earth would the book wish to hide this fact By the time I reached the end I wanted to believe that the writer had some knowledge of the subject, but instead of including a list of useful sources, or even a website kids can check, the Author s Note speaks instead about the Virginia Tech shootings A harrowing incident to be sure, but why avoid mentioning that someone you love has a connection to your main character It made for a very strange gap.Finally, there is Caitlin s voice It drove me absolutely insane Some have argued that this is a good thing If Caitlin s voice annoys you then the author must be doing something right in creating a character that doesn t fall into the usual middle grade pattern of protagonists She is unique I note this theory, but I don t agree with it My annoyance isn t necessarily who Caitlin is, but rather the fact that I never for one moment believe that I m listening to a girl Instead, for much of this book I felt like I was reading an adult woman putting herself into the head of a girl like Caitlin How else to explain the off putting humorous moments when Caitlin fails to understand a word or term We have been assured that she reads at an adult level Certainly her vocabulary should be through the roof, and yet she stumbles when she hits words as simple as closure and fundraiser turning it into the strangely out of character fun raiser It seems that Caitlin is only as smart as the plot allows her to be Otherwise, she s adorably out of place, and that manipulation rang false.Many folks have found themselves comparing this book to a fellow 2010 release, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper Like Mockingbird, Ms Draper s book is a first person narrative of a girl dealing with the world around her In Draper s story the main character has cerebral palsy, just as Ms Draper s daughter does and just as that book ALSO fails to mention anywhere The difference for me lies in the characters What I have found, though, is that many people dislike these books for similar reasons Some people find Mockingbird charming and Out of My Mind manipulative Others feel it s the other way around Personally, I think that Draper s book is the better of the two, though Ms Erskine is an excellent writer I m certain that in the future she will produce books that I will like to read Unfortunately, in the case of Mockingbird the problems outweigh the positives The book doesn t ring true for me, even if the writer is talented Hopefully in the future we ll seeof her work but for now I ll be recommending books like Out of My Mind and Milo over others like Mockingbird.For ages 9 12


  4. C.G. Drews C.G. Drews says:

    Ugh, I did not have a good time with this book at all I read it because it s about a girl with Aspergers who go undiagnosed a lot due to stigmas promoting that boys arelikely to have it They aren t Girls arelikely to go undiagnosed due to being able to blend in and imitate their peers better ASD is a broad spectrum, but this didn t feel like a very accurate portrayal The protagonist possibly had other learning disabilities Because her thought process wasn t typically ASD at al Ugh, I did not have a good time with this book at all I read it because it s about a girl with Aspergers who go undiagnosed a lot due to stigmas promoting that boys arelikely to have it They aren t Girls arelikely to go undiagnosed due to being able to blend in and imitate their peers better ASD is a broad spectrum, but this didn t feel like a very accurate portrayal The protagonist possibly had other learning disabilities Because her thought process wasn t typically ASD at all And most of the people in my life are on the Autism spectrum and NONE of them are similar to Caitlin at all But like I said spectrum But there comes a time when a book feels like it s being writen from how a neurotypical views ASD, not from what it is actually like to have ASD.Caitlin also lacked huge ASD pointers, like having an obsessive interest she liked drawing but wasn t obsessive about it and she had no need for routines and no emphasis on anxiety Also the biggest insult is saying that people with ASD are not emphatic This is so untrue it breaks my heart Oftentimes it s hard to show your empathy or it s shown in different ways, but the whole book was about Caitlin learning to care about people and it s justit s a stigma and it needs to stop The felt like an NT going omg it must be so hard bad to be ASD and it was very ableist.But that saying, the author s daughter has AS So.yeah I had issues with its portrayal, but maybe that s just me.Obviously there are many perspectives and experiences If you liked this book, then fine But don t hate on me for my opinions and experiences NOTE This review has been edited toaccurately summarise my thoughts and feelings at a later date Also it s super hard to read a book when the character has my name WEIRDNESS ENSUES


  5. Kelli Kelli says:

    The age range for this book is a bit of an enigma I can t properly review this without acknowledging my own personal stake in it and giving that backstory, so here it is My daughter got this book out of her elementary school library when she was ten It kept her awake at night, caused her anxiety, and she hated it I encouraged then forced her to write a reading response about it because that was the requirement and because she wouldn t discuss the book with me, though she was visibly ups The age range for this book is a bit of an enigma I can t properly review this without acknowledging my own personal stake in it and giving that backstory, so here it is My daughter got this book out of her elementary school library when she was ten It kept her awake at night, caused her anxiety, and she hated it I encouraged then forced her to write a reading response about it because that was the requirement and because she wouldn t discuss the book with me, though she was visibly upset about it and it was only then that she asked me, Do you know about Virginia Tech From there we had a larger conversation, and she wrote a shockingly insightful two page response to the book, letting her teacher know that she felt it should be reshelved under horror because no child wants to read a book about a school shooting I was surprised to see on the back cover Ages 10 and up This book really upset my daughter Fast forward to now After trying to read this a few times, I opted for audio and steeled myself for the impending bloodbath I imagined would be between the pages Not so Not so at all The author handled the how of the death delicately and far from immediately There was nothing graphic in the writing and nothing scary, beyond the fact that this is about losing a sibling to a terrifying act of nonsensical violence perpetrated in a place children expect to be safe As an adult, I found the story to be about so many things, among them primarily autism and a view of the world through a different lens, but also grief, empathy, closure, support, and relationships I love any story for kids that fosters understanding and acceptance of others That was, in my opinion, this book s redeeming quality I found the main character well fleshed out and very lovable Though the ending felt rushed, this was a story worth reading I would just caution parents that regardless of the careful treatment of the subject, this is a difficult subject Having read it, my daughter s words ring in my head No child wants to read a story about a school shooting, Mom I have had children s librarians tell me this is on the eighth grade summer reading list, that it is a middle grade book, and that this is not an elementary level book I have seen it listed in Scholastic as sixth to eighth grade, but ultimately on the back it says Ages 10 and up My PSA to parents is to know your child and perhaps be better prepared than I was 3.75 stars


  6. Thomas Thomas says:

    4.5 stars.A moving story about an eleven year old girl with Asperger s syndrome whose older brother dies in a school shooting and the steps she takes to get closure Kathryn Erskine pulls this poignant tale off wonderfully it is sad, but sad in a way that gives the reader hope.Throughout the novel I had to remind myself that Caitlin was eleven as opposed to five or six this isn t a bad thing, and in fact it shows Erskine s talent for character development To see her grow by learning about em 4.5 stars.A moving story about an eleven year old girl with Asperger s syndrome whose older brother dies in a school shooting and the steps she takes to get closure Kathryn Erskine pulls this poignant tale off wonderfully it is sad, but sad in a way that gives the reader hope.Throughout the novel I had to remind myself that Caitlin was eleven as opposed to five or six this isn t a bad thing, and in fact it shows Erskine s talent for character development To see her grow by learning about empathy and closure by the end of the novel was truly touching I almost cried, but I finished the book while in journalism class, and crying in public isn t exactly socially acceptable.I also loved the To Kill a Mockingbird parallels It s one of my favorite books, so seeing the concurrent themes and similar characters in Mockingbird was an additional bonus.Highly recommended for children, teens, and adults alike this book is definitely deserving of the National Book Award, and will leave readers aching to understand one another despite their personal problems.Want to readof my writing Follow me here


  7. Mark Mark says:

    This book doesn t lose its beauty or heart for me, no matter how many times I read it It still gets me, every time How did you get to be so smart I shrug I m really working hard on finesse Then he takes my hands in his and I don t even pull them away because he is looking at my cuts closely and I would want to do that too if I saw cuts on somebody s hands so I let him look Do you still really want to do this I don t know if he means to keep cutting the oak tree or work on the chest but This book doesn t lose its beauty or heart for me, no matter how many times I read it It still gets me, every time How did you get to be so smart I shrug I m really working hard on finesse Then he takes my hands in his and I don t even pull them away because he is looking at my cuts closely and I would want to do that too if I saw cuts on somebody s hands so I let him look Do you still really want to do this I don t know if he means to keep cutting the oak tree or work on the chest but I say, Yes, just in case he means the chest You think this will bring us Closure I shake my head No I know it will He blows a little air out of his nose and nods He lets go of my hands and does onebig sigh Maybe we can make something good and strong and beautiful come out of this Good and strong and beautiful I like those words They sound like Devon I want to build something good and strong and beautiful I m surprised that I never wrote a review for this before, but apparently I read it last summer, when I was away from Goodreads, so consider this a catch up This novel is told from the perspective of Caitlin, a 5th grader with Asperger s, who has just lost her older brother to a random school shooting In addition, her mother has died of cancer years before, so now it s just her and her father in the house, and her father is taking the loss extremely hard Caitlin, however, is struggling to understand the changes that have suddenly taken place in her life, and in addition to having to make it through each day with her condition, she now also has to face the prospect of life without Devon, the only other person who truly understood her, and who made it possible for her to face the world With the help of a school counselor, some new friends, and her father, Caitlin attempts to find Closure to the events that took Devon out of her life.I love the narrative voice in this novel, respect the way Erskine treats a character with Asperger s, and appreciate the fact that the book makes me cry Every time I think this is a gorgeous book, that does tug at the heartstrings, but with the situations Caitlin is in, it s hard not to have moments like that There are tremendous lessons in this novel, about empathy, friendships, and generally dealing with people who are different than us It would be a fantastic novel to teach, and not just for the lessons about disabilities Larger lessons can easily be drawn from this one It s a fantastic book, and one of my favorites that I put on my YA syllabus for this semester I just hope the rest of the class liked it, also


  8. Tahleen Tahleen says:

    As someone who has Asperger s, 10 year old Caitlin has trouble understanding why people act a certain way and how to react to them in turn She would always turn to her older brother Devon to explain things and situations for her, but Devon dies in a tragedy that rocks their entire community So not only is Caitlin left without her most trusted friend and big brother, she must learn how to deal with the way her father is now acting, the way others treat her in school, learning empathy, and most As someone who has Asperger s, 10 year old Caitlin has trouble understanding why people act a certain way and how to react to them in turn She would always turn to her older brother Devon to explain things and situations for her, but Devon dies in a tragedy that rocks their entire community So not only is Caitlin left without her most trusted friend and big brother, she must learn how to deal with the way her father is now acting, the way others treat her in school, learning empathy, and most important of all, getting to Closure.If you haven t heard of this book yet, just to tell you, it won the National Book Award for young people s literature And let me tell you, it certainly deserved it Through Erskine s book we see the world through Caitlin s eyes and mind She doesn t Get It as she would say most of the time, as she can t understand certain emotions or reactions She has to work really hard to see how another person is feeling and how to make them feel better, instead of worse It s very illuminating to see how a person with Asperger s might view the world, and gives us a tool to understand them better and the way they see things better.Despite her lack of understanding others, Caitlin is remarkably intelligent and an incredible artist Throughout the book, Erskine uses Caitlin s artistic talents as a device her refusal to use color goes hand in hand with the way she likes to see the world Black and white are much easier to deal with than colors that can run together and blur But as she begins to learn empathy and friendship, as she begins to find the ever illusive Closure, Caitlin begins to see that color might be useful.What really struck me about this novel was the rawness and realness of everything Erskine does not really censor much, but not in an inappropriate way What I mean is, Caitlin just reports things as she sees them, bluntly and accurately this is especially true when she describe her father s violent reaction when he hears the news of his son s death and his subsequent grieving mostly detachment, refusal to speak of Devon, and lots of crying , and how she herself is dealing with the loss of the only person who seemed to understand how to talk to her We also see things that Caitlin misses She has incredible skills of observation, and doesn t shy away from telling us everything actions and gestures that she doesn t understand are not lost on us, and I felt it all the .We also see the way a tragedy can affect everyone involved, even those who are related to the ones who caused it It s heartbreaking, but the quest for Closure is a bold and valiant one that Caitlin tries to share with the entire community.The mockingbird title comes from Devon and Caitlin s shared love for the movie To Kill a Mockingbird Throughout, Caitlin keeps returning to this, to her nickname Scout that Devon gave her, and to all of their likeness to the three main characters in the film and book Jem, Scout and Atticus In the end, Devon is the symbolic mockingbird dead despite his innocence, but living on in the memory of his family and of his community.Incredibly moving and poignant I use that word not as a cliche I mean it with all my heart , Caitlin shows us a world that we mostly try to ignore She shows us ways to deal with grief, both good and bad, but all real after death and tragedy, we must find our way to Closure, and to living again


  9. Wendy Wendy says:

    One of my sisters loved this, the other didn t like it I m somewhere in between I thought the writing was well done smooth and polished But otherwise, I thought this was heavy handed the author s note is a sad muddle which kind of explains this and very one note.Perhaps this is a small thing, but Devon s Eagle Scout project is a big part of the book, and it irritated me that what is described as his project would not earn him an Eagle it just isn t big enough and doesn t include the requi One of my sisters loved this, the other didn t like it I m somewhere in between I thought the writing was well done smooth and polished But otherwise, I thought this was heavy handed the author s note is a sad muddle which kind of explains this and very one note.Perhaps this is a small thing, but Devon s Eagle Scout project is a big part of the book, and it irritated me that what is described as his project would not earn him an Eagle it just isn t big enough and doesn t include the required elements I suppose it s possible that there s a wider scope to the project that wasn t described, but it doesn t really seem that way He also would have been extremely young to earn an Eagle I assumed, until his age was specified and middle school attendance mentioned, that he was quite a bit older in high school like the vast majority of Eagle Scouts While it isn t impossible I have known of a few boys who earned the Eagle in eighth or ninth grade it s unlikely The boys I knew of had parents who were extremely involved in their kids Boy Scout programs and pushing them regularly or, in some cases, giving huge support to the boy s overdrive The single dad in this book would not have had the time or I think, based on what we see here competitive drive to make it happen


  10. Jennifer Jennifer says:

    Simply the best children s ficton I ve read since I was a kid Tears sprung into my eyes by the end of the first short chapter, and I was hooked It s complex but not overly complicated, and the Big Things That Happen as Caitlin might put it are slowly revealed I love how the intersection of other characters such as first grader Michael and class bully Josh are deftly tied together the ending is a stunner to pull off and had not one note of triteness or seemed forced in any way The issues Simply the best children s ficton I ve read since I was a kid Tears sprung into my eyes by the end of the first short chapter, and I was hooked It s complex but not overly complicated, and the Big Things That Happen as Caitlin might put it are slowly revealed I love how the intersection of other characters such as first grader Michael and class bully Josh are deftly tied together the ending is a stunner to pull off and had not one note of triteness or seemed forced in any way The issues presented are tough violence in schools, death of a relative, and the search for Closure, all told through the eyes of a bright young protagonist with Asperger s, which makes the emotional impact of this story even greater Each time Caitlin describes and fails to understand the emotional impact of what s going on around her, we as readers take on that emotion and are empathetically draw to carry the emotion for her, making for a really intense read that is hard to put down Erskine s enviable writing skills make me totally Get It, and love her for it