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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: Livvie Owen Lived Here (Dooley)

Title: Livvie Owen Lived Here
Author: Dooley
Genre: Fiction, Realistic, High School, Autism
Pages: 240
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Livvie Owen feels things differently than other people do, and she doesn't like change.  Unfortunately, Livvie and her family are about to be evicted from their house...again...and it's Livvie's fault.  Livvie is autistic and when things go wrong, her angry outbursts can scare people (including landlords and neighbors).  But Livvie remembers a time when everything was good, when her parents were working, when the family lived in a wonderful house.  Livvie wants to move back to that house because she is sure that everyone will be happy again, so she devises a plan to find it.  Unfortunately, the house doesn't exist anymore...because of Livvie.

I truly loved this book, and the character of Livvie.  I think that she is authentic, both as an autistic girl, and as a teenager.  Her relationships with her family and her friends at school are well-developed and realistic.  Having Livvie as the narrator of the story really helped me connect with the emotions that Livvie was feeling (even if she doesn't know what they are called).

Because the book jacket tells you that Livvie has destroyed the one house where her family was happy, it is not a surprise when you learn what happened.  When Livvie finds out what happened to the house, I still felt crushed and sad for her.  But this is ultimately a hopeful book, with a spunky heroine determined to create a place where her family can be happy.  An honest look at what it is like to cope with the world, and be autistic. 

Numerous books have been written lately with characters on the autism spectrum, in fact, I'm going to be creating a booklist of titles soon since our 7th graders will be reading "Rules" by Cynthia Lord in the fall.  I will definitely be including this one!  The author is a teacher (yeah!) and this is her first book.  It will be published on 8/17, but I have an advance copy if you would like to read it.  Until then, check out the book trailer


Alison said...

I haven't heard about this yet. I like that more books are dealing with autism. The Curious Incident book seemed to break a barrier.
Alison Can Read

Mrs. Yusko said...

There do seem to be quite a few books published lately for teens dealing with autism at some level. We have many kids in our area and at our school on the autism spectrum, so I hope that these books get read widely!


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