Title: The State of Grace
Author: Rachael Lucas
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Number of Pages: 219
Grace is a teenage girl with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has one good friend and a horse she adores, but she still has issues with social skills and is struggling in school. Her dad is a workaholic, and her mom is spending all her time with a woman Grace and her sister hate. Grace kisses her classmate Gabe and they start going steady, but she’s overwhelmed by the multitude of changes in her life.
This book was okay. The portrayal of Grace’s autism spectrum disorder was decent. It portrayed her sensory overload and autistic burnout in a way that wasn’t too exaggerated and felt genuine. I wasn’t surprised that it was #ownvoices. I had a really hard time connecting with Grace.
She came off as an entitled brat who was enabled by her stressed-out mom because of her Asperger’s. The way she treated her mom was horrible and she just got away with it. This made me angry for the entirety of the book because it felt like her mom was bending over backward to accommodate Grace’s princess behavior. None of it was really addressed either.
I also felt like most of the characters were somewhat underdeveloped. Gabe is supposed to have ADHD but it feels like an afterthought- something to make him be able to relate to Grace and her difficulties. The way the story played out felt more like middle grade than young adult sometimes. It was obvious that the author put some thought into what it feels like to have Asperger’s but the execution was somewhat lacking.