Wow, what a sweet book!
Though the cover didn’t particularly draw me in, I now see how it ties in with the story, and I like it more. What really had me hooked, though, was the first page. I found myself in a reading slump and thought I’d just check out the first page to decide whether or not I wanted to read the book. Before I knew what was happening, I was on the second chapter.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My rating: 5/5 stars
One-word description: Cultural
Do you ever have those moments when you feel like you know a little bit of too many languages, so your brain is just a muddle of confusion trying to separate them all? I just so happened to be traveling in Spain while I was reading this book, which is set in France. In this sense I could relate a bit with the story’s main character, Martin, who mixes up his pronouns. After I finished another chapter, I was trying out my poor excuse for Spanish and asked somebody “Hablo Inglés?” Essentially: Do I speak English?
I don’t know. Do I? I certainly don’t speak Spanish. Not yet anyway.
I really enjoyed the way the book included the French culture, and it felt like the author, Reyl, knew what she was writing about rather than just setting a book in France without showing anything about it. She talked about the language and cultural differences, particularly when it comes to food and schools.
Kids Like Us also helped me better understand autism. I have a brother who’s high functioning, and I’m always looking for novels and nonfiction alike that can help me better understand autism as a whole. While my brother is obsessed with history and politics, Martin relates everything in his life with In Search of Lost Time, a French classic he’s read again and again.
Sometimes navigating social interactions can be like trying to learn a foreign language—it’s hard. I also liked how the book had characters with autism also had different interests. Usually, most books I’ve found have one character with autism, not two. I liked seeing how Martin interacted with his friend Layla, even though she was back in the United States while he was in France for the entire book. Which I can relate with a lot. As a military brat, most of my friends aren’t in the same time zone as me, let alone the same country. Characters don’t have to be physically present to be involved in a novel, which isn’t something I see a lot of.
Though the blurb kinda advertises the book as a romance, I saw it more as a story of friendship, which I support 100%. Though there are mistaken identities and many assumptions, there is also great character development.
In all, I gave Kids Like Us 5/5 stars for an excellent setting without being excessive, autism representation, and great character development. I’d recommend the book to anybody who enjoys contemporary YA and French food and culture.
Let’s chat! Has Kids Like Us made it to your to-be-read list yet? Have you read it? What are some contemporary YA recommendations you have?