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Kids Like Us

Review

Kids Like Us

KIDS LIKE US is Hilary Reyl’s debut Young Adult Novel. It follows autistic main character, Martin, as he spends a summer in France for his mother’s job. We follow him as he adjusts to a new general-ed school as well as the new environment and culture. In the midst of this transition, Martin also begins to fall for a girl who he connects with a character from his favorite French novel, Search. Over time he realizes that she is more than a connection to a book character and that love is not out of reach for “kids like him."

"I highly recommend KIDS LIKE US to anyone who wants to expand their horizons with their reading by learning about a diverse main character as well as a foreign setting for some."

This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I had no idea what to expect going into it as I hadn’t heard much about KIDS LIKE US beforehand. I have never read a book with an autistic main character so this definitely stood out from everything I have read previously. Hilary Reyl portrays autism in a really interesting way, truly proving that autistic people are not drastically different from anyone else. This was an illuminating perspective for me as a reader because it was new and Martin was also a relatable character with the same wants and needs as anyone else.

Speaking of Martin, I found his character to be well developed and really stand out among the cast of characters surrounding him. Not only because he was the main character, but because his personality was deeply delved into by the author. I really appreciated this aspect of the novel because it allows the reader to get to know Martin beyond what they already know about him at face-value, his autism. We get to see his hopes, fears and his deep connection with elements of his past.

The other characters as well serve as instrumental and exciting elements of the plot. Each character has his or her own subplot and individual motivations. This makes every aspect of the novel interesting, not just the plot centered around Martin. One of the random details that I loved specifically was the selection of Martin’s mom’s job. She is a director for large scale Hollywood movies and that is what brings Martin’s family to France. This detail as well as the effects it has on Martin was a particularly fun addition to the plot and another aspect that made KIDS LIKE US stand out from other Young Adult novels.

My only real problem with the plot was that some of the stories seemed to be a little underdeveloped. This was particularly relevant with Martin’s connection to his friends back home. They had continuous conversations via text, but their relationship was never truly expanded on as a subplot. I would have liked to see more of Martin’s backstory, including this aspect of his life. However due to the large amount of subplots and different characters in the novel, it makes sense that not every aspect of the novel could be focused on intensively.

Overall, I would give KIDS LIKE US 4 out of 5 stars. It is a new and fun read and also contains interesting romance and friendships. This book also provides something relatively new to the Young Adult community, an autistic main character. I highly recommend KIDS LIKE US to anyone who wants to expand their horizons with their reading by learning about a diverse main character as well as a foreign setting for some. I would also recommend this book to a more broad audience that loves romance and complex friendships within novels.

Reviewed by Danielle F., Teen Board Member on December 3, 2017

Kids Like Us
by Hilary Reyl

  • Publication Date: November 13, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 14+
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • ISBN-10: 1250180694
  • ISBN-13: 9781250180698