Rachael Lucas has written the most absolutely charming book about a teenager with Asperger’s who has a romance storyline. Yes, really.
A little aside here, people with autism are not often the subject of romances. We’re more often the problem child talked about through the eyes of a parent or we’re the weird relative, the best friend.
But not in A State of Grace, and that’s one of the many reasons why I loved it.
“Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules and mine got lost.”
Grace is a fifteen year old girl living in the North-West of England who lives with her younger sister Leah, her mother and – sometimes – her wildlife filmmaker father. But when her father goes off on his latest shoot, things start to feel a little off-kilter.
At the same time, along with the encouragement of best friend Anna, Grace ends up kissing the most desirable boy in school, Gabe Kowalski.
But as things get more unsettled at home with the arrival of mum’s school friend Evil Evie, Grace begins to struggle the changes, be they good or bad.
I absolutely loved this book. Rachael has written a lovely romance in a 1st person narrative that feels real.
But it’s more than that, its deeper. A State of Grace touches on casual ableism, the way autistic people are talked about less to, the way it is often assumed we aren’t taking things in and so are spoken about, the way we are assumed to be desexualised people, not romantic prospects.
Her insight into being an autistic person fills the pages with moments that made me smile and cry – the realities of being autistic, the wonders and the drawbacks. The full colour spectrum of it all.
This is an important book that I must urge everyone to press into the hands of young girls with autism so they can see themselves on the page, but also it is such a wonderful story of growing up that you will love it.
Interested? get it here. I urge you to do so.
What to read next:
- Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
- Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
- Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Thank you ever so much to My Kinda Book and Pan Macmillan for sending a copy out to me as one of the first Actually Autistic reviewers.