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Freaks Like Us

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  846 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
When Jason Milwaukee's best friend Sunshine vanishes, Jason knows that something is terribly wrong, but solving her disappearance will require pushing through all the voices in his head and then getting the world to listen to him. His schizophrenia is stopping him from remembering the events leading up to her disappearance, and often he discounts his own memories, and his ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Sep 09, 2012 Greg rated it really liked it
Maybe the easiest way to describe this book would be to say it's a mixture of Gone Girl, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Paper Towns.

The book is told in the first person by "Freak" a schizophrenic (SCHIZ) high school senior who is part of the 'alphabets'; kids who ride the short-bus and are in special classes with other kids who have been labeled with a whole host of acronyms.

His best friends are a spastic kid named "Drip" who has fairly severe ADHD and Sunshine who is S
Oct 14, 2014 Ggarver31 rated it liked it
In Susan Vaught’s captivating novel, Freaks Like Us, the reader is taken on a suspenseful adventure through the mind of a schizophrenic teenage boy named Jason. He and his two best friends call themselves alphabets because they all have different letter abbreviations to describe their mental diagnoses. These three show the true meaning of friendship because no matter their struggles, they put one another first and don’t let each other down. However, when Jason’s best friend Sunshine goes missin ...more
Anna Kļaviņa
Schizophrenia a mental disorder that have such negative perception in society that discussion is raised to change the name. In Japan it has been done and now in it's called integration disorder.

So it's not surprising at all that when selective mute Sunshine (17) disappears that her best friend Jason who has schizophrenia is suspected more than her other best friend Derrick who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Oct 22, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
An interesting look at life through the eyes of an active schizophrenic. That also makes it hard to read at times. Definitely for older teens not because of subject matter or language, but because the narrative is challenging.
Aug 02, 2012 Shortlatte rated it it was amazing
While I had high hopes going into Susan Vaught’s Freaks Like Us, I’m happy to say that it exceeded my expectations. Granted, my first impression wasn’t quite so enthusastic, as the first few chapters did little to sustain the interest that the book’s intriguing cover blurb had inspired. Yet I soon learned that this was a symptom of a learning curve rather than of poor writing. Narrator Jason initially comes across as quite young, and the stream-of-consciousness narrative that signifies his thoug ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
I always love hearing books from the point-of-view of characters who are not reliable narrators. There is just something quite interesting about trying to decipher Jason's thoughts. Of course this book also made a great example of different mental illnesses and the lack of respect mental illness has which I thought was a wonderful point to slide into the main mystery. People tend to forget the kids who go through school with ADHD or schizophrenia because it does actually happen and it is nice to ...more
Berwald ~Cannibal in the Making~
Sep 26, 2014 Berwald ~Cannibal in the Making~ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
At first, I didn't know what to read. I actually read this book for an English project in my class. The librarian of my school showed it to me and told me that it doesn't get a lot of attention to kids. So, I decided to pick it out for my project. I began reading and the prologue, I found funny, was written on our main character's, Jason's, Algebra test. Basically, he explains to us that he is Schizophrenic, and he has two main voices and four other ones. He calls them Bastard, Whiner, and No-Na ...more
Sally Kruger
Jul 08, 2012 Sally Kruger rated it really liked it
ARC eBook courtesy of

Release date: 9-4-12

Jason "Freak" Milwaukee and his friends ride the short bus. They call themselves the Alphabets. They've all been diagnosed with conditions like ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, or in Freak's case, schizophrenia.

Freak, Drip, and Sunshine have known each other since before elementary school. They are now in high school and have learned to cope through behavior therapy and medication. They put up with a lot in their daily lives, but at least they have each
Sep 06, 2012 Liviania rated it really liked it
Jason Milwaukee, AKA Freak, isn't your average narrator. He's schizophrenic and his observations of the world are interspersed with aural hallucinations. His best friend Sunshine disappeared between getting off the bus and going home, and there's a 24-hour window that's the best chance of finding her. Jason knows her best and thus refuses to take his meds, since they'll make him sleep for eight hours. He's willing to do whatever it takes to find Sunshine. Unfortunately, he might've hurt her. If ...more
Oct 06, 2012 Ramie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason is a freak, or so that's what everyone tells him. Heck, he's not even called Jason anymore, he's just Freak, an alphabet. An alphabet, you ask? Yeah you know, one of those people who are identified by letters, in Jason's case: SCZI for schizophrenic. Kids like Jason, the alphabet kids, are also known as the short bus kids. Still for Jason, it's not just the special ed classes, no way - see some of those letters in the alphabet, well they can represent violence, so you cannot just stick tho ...more
Esther Bernstein
Apr 30, 2013 Esther Bernstein rated it it was amazing
Full review on Reader's Dialogue:

Let me start with saying that Susan Vaught is a psychologist - and after reading this book, I'd recommend her to anyone I know! She obviously gets people with these illnesses - the descriptions of Sunshine's selective mutism and Drip's ADHD just sound so right, like she gets to the heart of how they think. And that is, of course, overshadowed by the way Freak is written.

Even though the entire story happens over one 24-hou
Elizabeth Briggs
Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught is a unique, gripping YA mystery that I highly recommend. Before ALA I had never heard of this book or the author, but saw an ARC at the Bloomsbury counter and picked it up by chance. I'm SO GLAD they were giving these out, because otherwise I might never have read this book.

Freaks Like Us is a mystery about three friends with mental disabilities, and when one of them goes missing, the other two try to find her within the first 24 hours of her disappearance. The bo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Once Upon a Twilight
Apr 13, 2016 Once Upon a Twilight rated it really liked it
Freaks like us is the second book I have read from Susan Vaught. I am truly becoming a fan of her work. There are no vampires, werewolves or mythical creatures in her stories, only real life people in real life situations. She opens our eyes to things that go on every day and no one really knows or thinks about.

Freaks Like Us is about three teenagers who call themselves "Alphabets." They all have some sort of mental disability. They call themselves Alphabets because that’s how they are labeled.
Victoria Waddle
May 25, 2015 Victoria Waddle rated it really liked it
Sunshine is the one person who understands Jason, who helps him when the voices in his head make it hard to know what is real and what is an illusion. The two of them, plus Drip (Derrick), ride the short bus home from school each day and battle the bullies who make hard lives even harder. Sunshine is so shy that she almost never speaks; she is selectively mute. Drip has ADHD; Jason—Freak—is schizophrenic. They call themselves the ‘alphabets’ because their disabilities are known by acronyms—ADHD, ...more

This book had been on my to-read list for awhile, and finally sat down to check it out only to get sucked completely in. Seriously read this in only a few hours. Amazing and perfect.

This book is unconventional in that it is told in the first-person by Jason (aka "Freak"), a seventeen-year-old schizophrenic boy. He's been dealing with his diagnosis since he was eight, and he and his two friends, Derrick (aka "Drip") and Sunshine have formed a strong bond because of their "alphabets"--their te
Grace Viray
Jun 11, 2014 Grace Viray rated it really liked it
This novel is like a psychological mystery what with by the disappearance of a girl named Sunshine, the best friend of both Derrick and Jason, all of whom are kids suffering from a different form of mental illness. Jason, the 16 year old kid diagnosed with schizophrenia is the narrator of the story which immediately begs the question: how reliable of a narrator is he? Yes, the style of writing is different at the beginning for it clearly portrays Jason's muddled stream of consciousness with all ...more
May 29, 2012 Omar rated it really liked it
Not bad. Not bad at all. For a book about a schizophrenic guy in 1st person, not bad at all. The first thing you should be aware of before reading Freaks Like Us is that you should know that it is written in first person through the perspective of a person with a mental disorder, so sometimes there are run-on sentences, and the voices in his head and random flashbacks can get a bit annoying. But overall it tells a great story with a unique perspective.
Aug 06, 2014 Riki rated it really liked it
Jason Milwaukee has always loved his best friend Sunshine. She understands what it’s like to be an alphabet and has always been an important part of his life. When Sunshine goes missing, Jason knows something has gone terribly wrong. Finding out the truth behind her disappearance requires him to fight with not only the compelling voices in his head, but also with getting the world to listen to him. You see, being schizophrenic means he is unpredictable, and to Agent Mercer of the FBI, that means ...more
Adele Broadbent
Jason or ‘Freak’ as everyone including his friends call him, is an alphabet. His friends Drip and Sunshine are alphabets too. Drip is ADHD. Sunshine is SM. (Severely Mute) and Freak was GAD (General anxiety Disorder) but now is SCZI (Schizophrenic), due to the voices he hears in his head. They are a tight knitn group, looking out for each other – but when Sunshine goes missing on the way home from school, Freak is launched into a journey of confusion, anger, and frustration with his parents, the ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Cinda rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, diverse
I read this for my YA book club, and it's a good example of why book clubs are a great means of nudging us to read outside of our usual box. I highly recommend this mystery told from the point of view of a high school boy with schizophrenia. There were times when I felt trapped in Jason's mind, right along with him.
Mike Spettigue
Oct 12, 2015 Mike Spettigue rated it really liked it
Freaks Like Us is a well thought out novel that not only piques the interest of the reader, but also gives a perception to the mind of a schizophrenic. This novel would likely appeal to those interested in forensics/murder cases, or to those who display interest in the inner working of the human mind. The novel follows Jason's ever-deteriorating thought process whilst in the search of his best friend Sunshine after her disappearance, and with him being a schizophrenic, many things run through hi ...more
Jul 28, 2015 Tanya rated it really liked it
One of the most infuriating tropes in YA literature, or crime fiction in general really, is the protagonist knowing a giant secret and deciding that they will do a better job investigating than the police. Now, I’m not going to say I never read these books. Hell, I’ve written them. I even understand why this exists, but it gets overused and often quite badly. You spend most of the book yelling at the characters to get their heads out of their asses and talk to the cops. But in Freaks Like Us, Va ...more
Jul 08, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Jason AKA Freak is one of the alphabets, students with emotional and and behavioral problems. He's schizophrenic and hears voices. When his best friend Sunshine disappears, he'll have to quiet the voices in his head to help find her.
Susan Vaught does a masterful job getting into Jason's fragmented mind. He is one of the more unique and interesting characters I've read in a long time. His first person narrative also includes the voices, giving readers real I sight into the mind of a schizophrenic
Susanna Anil
Nov 11, 2014 Susanna Anil rated it really liked it
The novel Freaks like Us, by Susan Vaught is a nonfiction book that talks about love and the problem the whole world has – bullying.
Freaks like Us is about a group of teenagers Derrick (Drip), Jason (Freak), and Sunshine. They have been friends since they were little kids, and the only reason they even met is because of a discrimination against all of them. They are alphabets, a nickname they call their conditions. They all have different conditions similar to being ADHD and ADD. All of their
Mar 11, 2016 Kimmy rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2014 Jenna rated it really liked it
It is not often that I come across a book that is quite like Susan Vaught’s Freaks Like Us. Under normal circumstances, I probably would not have even read this book. Contemporary YA fiction normally doesn’t interest me. What drew me in was the psychological aspect of the book. Jason Milwaukee, aka Freak, is schizophrenic. Even when he is taking his meds, there are always voices in his head. And though he would tell you that he does not see things, the hallucinations are particularly bad when he ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Lex rated it liked it
I've got to be honest... I skimmed a lot of the last quarter because I desperately wanted to know the ending, but she just wouldn't get there. For the first time, I almost, almost, almost skipped to the end. There was so much suspense, and I just had to know. However, the ending wasn't anything near what I expected, and I'm still deciding whether or not I was disappointed.

"Freak" or Jason is a completely new type of narrator. I've never read anything like him before. I was seeing the world thro
BAYA Librarian
Mar 31, 2013 BAYA Librarian rated it really liked it
Special Ed students Freak, Drip, and Sunshine are alphabet kids, known by their respective letters – ADHD, SCZI, SM -- that stand for their diagnoses. Jason, a schizophrenic, has been called “Freak” his whole life by the voices that judge him, those living inside and outside his head. He even calls himself “Freak” to take ownership of the derogatory moniker and empower himself against his world of nightmarish visions and self-doubt. When Sunshine disappears after school, suspicion is placed on F ...more
Jenna Anderson
Sep 02, 2012 Jenna Anderson rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
My Thoughts for Parents and Teachers

If you are looking for a story that will keep you up into the night or make you late for work or school, then Freaks Like Us is for you. I found myself not wanting to put it down. I had to know what happened to Sunshine.

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Children’s Books for the complimentary review copy of this book.

Other reviewers will most likely recap the plot and characters. What I’d like to focus on is the content. I’m doing this to help teacher
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astrology sign: Libra

favorite book: Harry Potter (all of them) and His Dark Materials
(all of those, too)

favorite song:I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

current pet total:12 if you don't count the chickens, peafowl,
turkeys, ducks, geese, pigeons, or guineas.

names of my schools:
Vanderbilt University (MS, Ph.D.)
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) (B
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“Some people are so strong, they don't need to change [...] They change everyone around them.” 7 likes
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