I was pleasantly surprised by Hilary Reyl’s YA debut, Kids Like Us, which tells the story of teenage Martin, a boy with autism, who travels to France and subsequently meets who he believes is a character from his favourite book.
The story, which is very well written, delves deeply into Martin’s world, submerging the reader in his (sometimes adorably misguided) thoughts and ideas. I absolutely loved Martin as a character; he was funny, sweet, naïve and so kind hearted; I wanted to wrap him up in a big bear hug whenever something went wrong.
What I found most surprising about this novel was how relatable Martin’s story was; friendship, crushes, misuse of trust and trying to fit in are all themes that anyone could relate with.
The one thing that stopped tis novel from being the 5 star read it was originally going to be was the extracts/references to Martin’s favourite book, Search. While I understood the need to include some references, the large paragraphs of ‘extracts’ ended up slowing the story down and becoming a little boring.
The final aspect of the story that really interested me was the setting. Set in France, the country side, the people, the language and the food (yum) are all described (through Martin) in stunning detail.
Overall, Hilary Reyl’s Kids Like Us was a great book that really delved into the world of a young autistic boy in a way that was incredibly relatable. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a wildly popular book. 4 stars.
Note: You may have seen that in a previous post, I said that Kids Like Us was a 5 star read. I am currently in the process of reviewing my star rating system and upon further consideration, decided to lower my star rating for this book to 4. Sorry for any confusion.