on March 15th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Meet Harrison and Anna.
One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of “appropriate behaviour” mystifies him: he doesn’t understand most people and they certainly don’t understand him.
The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.
Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.
Fragile Bones is the story of Harrison, a boy with high-functioning autism, who watches Grey’s Anatomy religiously and knows all the bones in the human body. He will also recite them to you when he gets nervous, walk in circles, and flap his hands. When he joins the Best Buddies programme in school, he gets paired up with Anna, who thinks the programme will look good on her college resume. Slowly but surely, Harrison becomes more comfortable in her presence and is eventually able to call Anna his friend. This is the story of their unusual friendship.
“My dad always comes home just after six and I’m usually finished dinner by 6:30. Sometimes he comes home at 6:03 and sometimes at 6:05. He is unpredictable and I don’t like that. But I set the table every day and I make twenty-one dollars a week so I would have enough money to buy you an ice cream. My mother said I need to buy your ice cream as this is the appropriate thing to do.”
The book is a recollection of events usually told once from Anna’s point of view and once from Harrison’s. This gives you a comprehensive and interesting view on how each party interprets each situation, and I thought that was a nice touch, although I did skip the conversations when they were doubled, as I don’t really need to read things twice.
Harrison’s point of view was really well fleshed out – it really felt like being in his head, with the endless sentences, closely following his thought processes. It was a little repetitive and tiring at times, but I felt like it did add to the experience. It was a good and realistic take on understanding what it’s like for someone with autism to go through things that seem trivial to others. Things you and I wouldn’t think twice about – although some of the things mentioned in the book would be difficult on me too, seeing as I have anxiety. But that’s a different matter.
I thought Anna was really great with Harrison. She did extensive research on high-functioning autism, respected Harrison’s wishes even if they didn’t make any sense to her, and probed a guy who’s sister had autism as well. I liked watching them grow closer together (although not too close, because germs) and seeing Harrison become fond of Anna.
While the ending was a bit abrupt and fell short to me, I have to say I thought this was a really cute and entertaining read, and I would definitely recommend it if you want a quick fictional read on autism. Another book would be House Rules, which is also written from the point of view of a boy with high-functioning autism. They felt quite similar to me in their thought processes and obsessiveness, so I’d say – although I am by no means an expert – that this was realistic and the author has done her research well.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy