Freaks Like Us
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Freaks Like Us

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  470 ratings  ·  129 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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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...more
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
Anna  Matsuyama
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.

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.
Sally Kruger
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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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
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.
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.
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...more
BAYA Librarian
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
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...more
Jun 24, 2012 Hannah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
There are things I liked and things I didn't like about Freaks Like Us, but one thing I know for sure - this book is like no other. The writing style is very unique, making the book kind of hard to get into, at first. A lot of the narration is stream-of-consciousness-like, and that combined with Jason's voice causes for some confusing paragraphs. There are parts that don't use punctuation and defy all rules of grammar, and some parts don't even make sense. But after a while, I got used to it. An...more
Mrs. Kenyon
Jason, Derrick and Sunshine are Alphabets. This is not an official description; they gave it to themselves and others like them. They all have some sort of a mental disability with shortened descriptions (ADHD, MDD, BPD and GAD). Jason is SCZI (Schizophrenic) and hears multiple voices in his head. Derrick and Sunshine have been his best friends since childhood and they are now in the last year of high school.

Jason and Sunshine also have a secret. Sunshine asked him to do something for her on Sat...more
Ms. Yingling
Jason is an "alphabet". He is schizophrenic and likes to go by the name "Freak"; his best friend Derrick is "Drip" is ADHD and his other friend, Sunshine, is selectively mute. They stick together and try to protect each other from the kids in school who give them a hard time. Jason lives with his dad, who is fairly understanding of his limitations, and sees his mother when she is not deployed in the military. When Sunshine goes missing, Jason is understandably upset, and just wants the authoriti...more
Sep 30, 2012 Lizzy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Best Bits: First off, I think I should just say that I appreciate the uniqueness of the characters in Freaks Like Us. Yes, Jason and his friends have mental disorders, but as Vaught said in my interview with her, this isn't a book about life with schizophrenia. It's a book about friendship, love, and trust. The thing is, I think readers will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be diagnosed with something like schizophrenia. I'm not saying that the exact symptoms Jason experiences ov...more
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....more
Jul 25, 2013 Beverly rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: 12-15 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: indie next list/
Every day is a struggle for Jason and his two best friends, Derek and Sunshine. They are alphabets - special ed students more identified by adults for their disorders (OCD, SED, BPD, ADHD, ASD = alphabets) than their personalities. Jason is facing his greatest challenge in a short lifetime of challenges. Sunshine has disappeared, and he is suspect #1 just because he is schizophrenic. Jason does not blame the adults for suspecting him. Of course they are going to look at the crazy kid first. The...more
Tässäpä erilainen nuorten aikuisten kirja. Päähenkilönä ja kirjan kertojana on 17-vuotias skitsofreeninen Jason, jonka pään sisään päästään kurkistamaan tarinan edetessä. Jason ja ystävänsä Derrick ja Sunshine ovat "aakkosia", nuoria joilla on kirjainyhdistelmädiagnoosi. Derrick on ADD ja Sunshine on selektiivisesti mykkä. Kolmikko on ollut erottamaton jo vuosia, he ovat lapsuudenystäviä, jotka ymmärtävät toisiaan paremmin, kuin monet muut. Lapset ovat nimenneet Jasonin aikoinaan Freakiksi, mitä...more
Sab H.  (YA Bliss)
The overall win factor in this book is Jason's (aka Freak) voice and character. Jason is schizophrenic, and quite honestly, this is the very first time I have read from the point of view of a character that has been diagnosed that way. It was interesting is definitely an understatement, because the voice was marvelous and Jason's struggles and "voices" and his visions were so much to deal with that I often felt overwhelmed--just like Jason was. It was really a neat experience. He doesn't only ha...more
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
A Book Vacation
3.5 stars

This novel is written is such a way that I think it might actually mirror the mind of someone suffering from schizophrenia. Now, I can’t be 100% certain of that, and I honestly don’t think anyone can be, but the way Jason interacts with those around him and the way he thinks during this narrative sounds like it might be spot on to me. Freaks Like Us gives the reader a very in-depth glimpse into Jason’s mind allowing us to see and understand why it’s so difficult for him to explain his f...more
Freak, Drip, and Sunshine are best friends, there also alphabets; meaning they all suffer from some sort of psychological disorder. When Sunshine disappears, Freak; aka Jason is thought to be behind it, but Freak would never hurt Sunshine, he cares for her deeply and wouldn't want anything to do with hurting her, but the voices in Freak's head are trying to convince him otherwise.

I enjoyed this book for its realistic writing into the head of a schizophrenic. While I personally don't know anyone...more
Lewes Library
Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught explores the world of, as our main character Jason (aka. Freak) puts it, alphabets. Jason is SCZI - schizophrenic, his best buddy Drip is ADHD, and Sunshine, Jason's favorite person in the world is SM - selectively mute. When Sunshine mysteriously vanishes one day after school, Jason must fight through the voices in his head, try to separate which memories are true and which are a product of his mind, and convince the adults that what he says shouldn't be discounte...more
Seventeen-year-old Jason Milwaukee [he's known as Freak] and his best frienda Sunshine and Drip ride the short bus to and from school and are identified as Severely Emotionally Disturbed for various reasons. Jason, who has been identified as schizophrenic, refers to his friends and the other students in special education as alphabets since there are so many letters associated with them. As might be expected, life can be challenging for Jason and the others. Bullies such as Roland and Linden pick...more
Jason suffers from schizophrenia and is one of the "alphabets," students in the SED (severely emotionally disturbed) class at the high school. He's hung with Drip (ADHD) and Sunshine (selective mute) since they started kindergarten and the threesome have a special connection that allows them to accept and help each other. When Sunshine goes missing one day after school, suspicion naturally falls on the freaks, as Jason calls them. The unfolding situation makes the voices in his head become more...more
Jason Milwaukee -- Freak -- and his two friends Drip and Sunshine are part of the alphabet class. They prefer thinking of it that way, rather than as the class for kids who have all kinds of mental disorders. Freak suffers from schizophrenia, and he struggles on a daily (hourly, minutely) basis to break through those voices to hear his own.

All three of these kids are subject to relentless bullying, especially from Roland and Linden. It's one particularly brutal bullying day, though, when the st...more
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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...more
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