An unforgettable story in the tradition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.
Details: "Mockingbird" by Kathryn Erskine, 224 pages, 3.98 stars on Goodreads
My Thoughts: Even though I usually review young adult books on this blog, the synopsis of this upper middle grade novel intrigued me. I know someone with Asperger's (although I don't know her very well, but she goes to my school), so I was interested in reading a book from the point of view of a girl with Asperger's. Kathryn Erskine did an excellent job of portraying how Caitlin thinks differently from others and has difficulty understanding how to socially interact, but how she's by no means any less intelligent because of it.
Caitlin's older brother, Devon, was always the one who helped her. He told her when it was okay to say certain things and when it wasn't, and whenever she was sad, he would make her feel better. Prior to the start of the book, there was a school shooting and Devon was killed. Her father is racked by grief, and Caitlin feels alone in the world. Time and time again through the book, my eyes watered, and I didn't even realize it until several minutes later. The book completely engrossed me, far beyond what I expected.
"Mockingbird" was powerful and honest. No matter how old you are, it's still a moving read, and definitely worth being picked up. It's really eye-opening to see the world through Caitlin's eyes, how she doesn't always understand idioms or why when people smile they're not always happy. Some people found her affinity for art to be cliché, but I thought it added a nice touch to the story even if it is used a lot. 5 smilies out of 5.