Sunday, October 07, 2012

Freaks Like Us

Freaks Like UsVaught, Susan. Freaks Like Us.
4 September 2012, Bloomsbury.
Copy from Young Adult Books Central, also reviewed there.

Jason is an "alphabet". He is schizophrenic and likes to go by the name "Freak"; his best friend Derrick is "Drip" is ADHD and his other friend, Sunshine, is selectively mute. They stick together and try to protect each other from the kids in school who give them a hard time. Jason lives with his dad, who is fairly understanding of his limitations, and sees his mother when she is not deployed in the military. When Sunshine goes missing, Jason is understandably upset, and just wants the authorities to find her. Jason knows more than he is telling them, however, and strongly suspects that she might have left on her own. After being suspected in her disappearance, being between up by bullies at school, and generally having a horrific experience, Jason tries to settle into life without Sunshine, and is helped by the detective in charge of the case to get to the truth of Sunshine's disappearance.
Strengths: Like Going's St. Iggy and Klass' You Don't Know Me, or Vaught's own Trigger, this is a book that gets the reader inside the main character's head and goes through the panoply of chaotic emotions. I could kind of guess what was going on with Sunshine (abuse at home), but situations are circumspectly described.
Weaknesses: This is somewhat more of a young adult book because of the purposely confusing voice, but I think that older middle grade students will like it as well.

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