Roy has a child who is special needs and he inspired the main character, Nathaniel. Nathaniel as Aspergers Syndrome, which is on the Autism Spectrum. I am always fascinated by books that give us an inside glimpse into their view of the world. Nathaniel refers to himself as an Aspie. He has genius level intelligence in math formulas. He uses those formulas to help him understand the overwhelming social world around him.
Nathaniel is lucky, while his struggles with social skills makes relating to others challenging, he does have two great friends. Jessa and Cooper have known him since he was a small child and accept him for who he is. Not many Aspie’s can say that. He is in a band with his friends and helps them write songs that will make them internet sensations. He also has a good friend who is also on the spectrum named Molly. They have weekly bowling dates. It is facinating to hear them relate to each other. Roy writes with great sensitivity. This is a wonderful book for teens to gain an understanding of what it feels like to be an austistic teen. Hopefully it will give them compassion and the willingness to befriend an Aspie.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
What do they know about Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Talk about his friendships with Cooper, Jessa and Molly.
Talk about how Nathaniel’s father made him go to the party.
Why do you think his father has such a hard time accepting him?
Talk about Nathaniel’s escape to his own world. You don’t have to have ASD to want to do this. How do you escape from stress?
Talk about You Tube videos and what makes them go viral.