Unfair is a middle grade novel about Ryan November. Ryan is autistic and has problems understanding the emotional and social world he lives in. He lives with his mother, two aunts and father. While Ryan has problems understanding emotions and social cues he does, however, understand numbers and patterns.
Ryan and his best, and only, friend Alison share a birthday. Ryan wakes up on the morning of his birthday knowing that he can see into the future. He finds a strange silver piece of string on his bedroom floor, when he picks it up it embeds itself under his skin forming a circle. Alison joins them for breakfast and over breakfast Ryan has his first vision. Alison is about to spill her milk over; he stops it from happening because he doesn’t like mess but his actions confuse and annoy Alison who believes she wasn’t going to spill the milk.
After breakfast they go to the lake where they first met each other, this is where the adventure begins. Ryan confides in his best friend and explains why he pinned her hand down at the breakfast table. Curious, Alison asks how far into the future he can see but Ryan has an emotional melt down, the vision he sees terrifying him. Alison tries to get him back to the cottage but can’t lift him up the stairs. Then out of the lake appears a lady, made of water, who claims she can help. Her appearance causes Ryans screaming to stop as he stares at her in disbelief. This is the first fairy encounter the two friends come across in the story.
After defeating an evil undine, of the faiy folk, the pair discovers secrets are being kept by Ryans parents and aunts. Then after coming face to face with an angry rock (you have to read it to find out what I mean) the cottage, Ryan lives in with his family, is burnt down. Ryans parents and aunts are then kidnapped by the faiy folk and the two friends journey into the fairy realm to rescue them. It’s in the fairy realm where Ryan comes into his own, what are his restrictions in the ‘real world’ are his super powers in the fairy realm. Here Alison learns how Ryan must feel in the ‘real’ world. A great way of showing the importance of putting ourselves in others shoes to see how they must be feeling. Ryan has to pass some tests that are set for him as he fights sylphs, brownies and salamanders and mentally battles with a voice in his head. The longer he stays in the fairy realm the bigger the pull it has on him and he has to decide whether he wants to stay there or go home to his family.
I was lucky enough to have a whole rainy Saturday day to myself and I spent it reading this story. I couldn’t put it down and finished it within the day. It’s very well written. I think the author is a genius. His use of flow charts to show mental processes is brilliant. He brings in mathematics in a fun and interesting way. And the way he has managed to describe awkward emotions can help children understand what may be going on in their own heads in some situations. It may help to give children an understanding of what autistic children, in their class or school or environment, may be going through and also may help to give autistic children some visual aids in interpreting emotions. The author clearly has an in-depth understanding of autism. And the whole story has a fun tone. It certainly is a book you want your children reading.
A fun story full of lessons, morals, adventure and good over evil, I absolutely loved it!
Definitely five out of five stars from me! I’ll be checking out his books written for adults.
un/Fair by Steven Harper
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
It’s difficult enough to live in the neighborhood “freakazoid” house. It’s even more difficult when you’re autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the unexpected ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn’t anticipate that the fair folk–undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs–want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history–and himself. Except as Ryan’s power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos, power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.
Steven Harper/Piziks is the author of multiple fantasy and science fiction novels written for adults, notably the Clockwork Empire and Silent Empire series for Roc as Steven Harper and movie novelizations and tie ins for Pocket Books as Steven Piziks (IDENTITY, THE EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, GHOST WHISPERER: THE PLAUGE ROOM). He’s also the father of an autistic son.
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Link to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29633540-un-fair
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Giveaway Information: Contest ends September 23, 2016
* One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
* Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of un/FAIR by Steven Harper (INT)
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