Author: Krissy Bells
When Robert Adler and Meredith Conrad fall in love, all that is left for them to do is prepare to live a fairy-tale life. With the blessing of their second child, a son named Michael, everything they have always dreamed of begins to become a reality. But his autism diagnosis is something they never anticipated. The struggle they face after the diagnosis puts a strain on their family that begins to tear them apart. Years later, Michael begins high school, and the true love his older sister Ann Marie finds there helps bring her insight and appreciation of Michael’s unique gifts and identity. It might be just what is needed to put their family back together.
The book begins with two shorter intros, from the perspective of Robert Adler, and one from the perspective of Meredith Conrad. The stories are a lead-in to the actual story, which focuses on siblings Michael and Ann Marie – Meredith and Robert are their parents.
It’s Ann Marie whose perspective we follow, but a large focus of the book is on Michael, and on how his family, first his parents, then his sister, deal with his autism. Whereas Ann Marie’s initial reaction was mostly to avoid Michael, when she meets a boy named Kevin at her school, he makes her see that ignoring her brother isn’t the way to go. The stronger the relationship between Ann Marie and her brother get, the more her parents seem able to cope with Michael’s autism as well.
Michael is a very realistic character, even though he musn’t have been easy to write about. The writing, overall, is good, and the plot was solid too.