Title: Tornado Brain
Author: Cat Patrick
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Number of Pages: 304
Thirteen-year-old Frankie has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD and has a lot of trouble making friends. When Frankie’s ex-best friend Colette disappears she and her sister Tess try to solve the mystery of what happened to her, discovering more about each other and themselves in the process.
I liked that this book was totally different from any other book with a neurodiversity theme I’ve read, and Frankie’s narrative voice felt very fresh and unique. She was a somewhat alienating character at first and I could see why people in her life had trouble relating to her. This book did a terrific job exploring the ‘why’ behind Frankie’s sometimes difficult behavior.
I think telling the story from her perspective might help build empathy among readers for people who aren’t ‘typical.’ I myself have Asperger’s Syndrome and I found myself relating to a lot of her issues. I was surprised by how sad the ending of this book was, I don’t want to spoil it but I will say it totally threw me for a loop.
The adult characters were thinly drawn and Colette and Tess could have both used to be better developed, but that might be partially due to Frankie’s difficulty understanding or relating to people. As far as I know this book isn’t #ownvoices but it still did a good job of telling a story from the POV of someone on the autism spectrum. Frankie’s character rang true and her hardships were thoroughly believable and managed to avoid being over-the-top or maudlin.
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