by Sue Halpern
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Sasha’s life, until recently, has revolved around her brother. She spends her time waiting for him to do something odd, to provoke the Conversation with any new person, to disrupt her day, to ruin her life. Life has somewhat returned to normal now that he’s away at a special school, but not completely. It turns out that Sasha’s new teacher is her old babysitter, who her brother scared away. Her reappearance in Sasha’s life helps her come to terms with her brother’s needs and heal a bit.
My book club chose as a theme one month books with kids (or someone in their family) with a physical or mental illness, and this was mine. Sasha’s attitude toward her brother’s difference is pretty hands-off and vague so it’s a while before you know what it is, just how it affects her. (Spoiler alert: he has Tourette’s Syndrome.) If you are not from such a family, I think Sasha’s story helps you understand what it’s like to be part of one, especially as the typically-developing sibling whose needs are often secondary and whose life often feels disrupted and unfair. Sasha also sees a therapist who understands her (and gets her to talk about her feelings) more than she thinks he does, despite her best efforts to the contrary. Overall, very solid.