Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Jordyn is terrified that her autistic brother will ruin her friendships and social life in high school. Even if it means pulling away from her friends and the boy that she likes, she will do whatever it takes to avoid associations with her brother, Phillip. While she navigates school and her feelings for Alex, a boy she kissed a while ago and then told she wasn’t interested, her life changes when the school Phillip goes to has to send him to her high school temporarily. Over time, she realizes that her brother has taught her a lot and might even be able to teach her how to say “I love you” to the people she cares the most about.
This book focuses primarily on relationships. It uses the trope of being in love with a best friend until he gets into a relationship, but in doing that it manages to capture the complexities of teen relationships when there is that competition. The main focus of the book, however, is less on romance and more on the family difficulties and dynamics that Jordyn is facing with her parents and her brother. Although a lot of people might be bothered by how selfish and uncompassionate Jordyn can be to her brother, it also shows how difficult it can be for a teenager to have a family member who is demanding and potentially embarrassing. Her emotions and behavior can be unpleasant, but it always feels like real emotions that someone might have in a similar situation. It tackles a difficult subject in challenging ways, but the emotion in the book is there and makes it worth reading.