Title: The Someday Birds
Author: Sally J. Pla
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Number of Pages: 336
Twelve-year-old Charlie has high-functioning autism and OCD- he is riddled with neuroses and dreads changes in his everyday routine. His dad was a journalist overseas and now has a traumatic brain injury, leaving Charlie’s grandma to look after him and his three siblings. One day Gram leaves to be with Charlie’s dad during a potential life-changing brain surgery, and Charlie, his sister, and his twin brothers go on a road trip with their oddball babysitter to accompany her.
The whole experience takes Charlie out of his comfort zone, but it also gives him the opportunity to nurse his passion for ornithology and work on his bird-watching checklist to share with his father. The Someday Birds is a cute story with a lot of heart, and Charlie is an appealing protagonist. The side characters aren’t particularly well-developed, with his siblings managing to be little more than mean and belittling towards Charlie and his interests. The portrayal of OCD was also just okay for me, I have a severe form of it and Charlie’s struggles with the illness felt underdeveloped.
I did like how his autism was incorporated into the story, he’s never ‘officially’ diagnosed and the condition seemed like a natural extension of his character. His fascination with birds was also flawlessly integrated into the storyline, with it both serving as a ‘special interest’ and a mutual source of connection with his dad. This is a very voice-driven story, definitely not an ‘edge of your seat’ type of book, but I enjoyed taking the journey with this likably offbeat protagonist.
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