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The Space We're in

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Ten-year-old Frank has trouble navigating his relationship with his younger brother Max who is autistic.

Frank loves soccer, codes, riding his bike, and playing with his friends. His brother Max is five. Max only eats foods that are beige or white, hates baths, and if he has to wear a t-shirt that isn't gray with yellow stripes he melts down down down.

Frank longs for th
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Margaret Ferguson Books (first published September 5th 2019)
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Average rating 4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  401 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This has become one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far. I am going to find it difficult to articulate just how powerful and important this middle grade read is, but I am going to try my very best because you need to read it. The book is from the perspective of Frank, who is a child himself. But he is an older brother to Max, who has severe autism.

I am not an ownvoices reviewer for this, but I am drawing from my experience of being an older sister to a physically disabled sibling. I feel like t
Dalziel Mapp
Yeah, no, I wasn't ready for this book to do what it did to me. ...more
Rebecca Bowyer
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I started crying on about page 23 and hardly stopped. When the tragedy referred to in the blurb happened, I was a complete and utter mess and had to put the book down for a couple of days to recover before I could continue.

Told through the eyes of Frank, the 10-year-old brother of 5-year-old non-verbal, autistic Max, this is so wonderfully written.

It's the story of all siblings of children with special needs who get less attention because their brother or sister needs more.

It's the st
Whenever a new author debuts on the children's literature scene, I always approach their work with a measure of excitement and caution. It is yet another publishing cog whose teeth are just set to roll along the mainstream line or has a publisher taken a leap of faith and presented us with a unique and engaging voice? I can assure you that Balen's debut stands firmly in the latter.

Having completed an MPhil in exploring the impact of stories on autistic children, Balen turned her writing towards
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just so special and brilliant. Frank's voice sings, and just jumps off the page and draws you in from the very first line.

I cannot praise the writing enough. So clever, so engaging, so fresh. I cannot believe it's a debut author!

This is definitely one you should be adding to your TBR - most definitely will be one of the hottest books of 2019.

Brooklyn Tayla
RTC. Thank you Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me a copy to read and review.
Bianca Visagie
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. The Space We’re In is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. The layout and style of the book made a powerful impact when reading it. The journey that Frank and Max goes on will make you cry, then smile, then cry again.

The author captures the thoughts of a 10 year old boy very well and Frank had such a unique voice. I am by no means an own-voices reviewer for this book, but I think the writing and characters were very rea
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story told from the point-of-view of a boy whose brother has autism. Loved trying to figure out the coded chapter titles!
Nabila Shaikh
"We are her world and her universe and her space and her sky and her galaxy and her cosmos too."

I already knew before I read it that I'd love it. The space we're in is a middle grade book that follows the lives of two siblings Frank and Max.
Frank (the older sibling) loves codes and ciphers and football. Max (the younger sibling) has autism and for him, some colors are too bright and he has problems with new things in his daily schedule and if that happens he has melt-downs.

Their mom used to be
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It is one of those book which will make you smile through your tears and nod head happily.
Narrated through the perspective of ten year old Frank who lives in a ram-shackled house with his father who work with computer codes, mother who used to paint before she had Max, his brother. Max is different from others, he like only four foods, can't stand flashy colors or loud noise, speaks through his hands and body language more than using syllables, he is Autistic.Frank had a hard time walking on th
Sophie Snowden
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
A very interesting story, which I did really enjoy but I struggled to get going with it. I enjoyed the peritextual elements and as you read the story these become a very important part. It is a truly beautiful story with wonderful descriptions. The author invites us to view the world from Balen's perspective, empathising with the struggles of coping with an autistic brother as well as dealing with the ups and downs of his own life. The illustrative codes used throughout the book bring it to life ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university-read
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with my daughter and it was one of the most heart wrenching and beautiful books I’ve read in a while. I was holding back my tears constantly through the last half. Highly emotional and highly recommended
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is written from the perspective of a kid whose brother has autism. Let me warn you, the book has been a rollercoaster ride for me. At one point you'll feel like crying, the next you'll be content with the writing. The cover of the book is beautiful and it shows two boys looking at the stars. It sits perfectly with the entire storyline. The title of the book will be understood by the reader once the he/she reaches midway. The book has been written in a simple manner and has the power to ...more
Francesca Kennedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Solitude and  books
A ten year old Frank narrates about his life. Who is he ? He is the elder brother of a five year old kid named Max who does strange things that he or his friends donot do. Max gets out of control , cries, shouts heavily  , rotates in circle , cannot talk , cannot understand simple things of life , only hums  , has great trouble adjusting outside the house in public and has a linguistic teacher . Caught between the pure love of a brother for his little sibling , to be responsible and being a fun ...more
Shaun Nightshade
The Space We’re In is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my life. It grabs you right from the start and keep you reading through the night wanting to find out the ending. Rarely have I come across a book as eloquent in vocabulary and emotion as this one. You view this world through Franks’ eyes, through his trauma and sadness to his happiness.

Frank isn’t the perfect child and he knows he isn’t. Yet his world isn’t perfect. His brother has autism and at times the family and Frank s
The Book Sheelf
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of two brothers, Frank and Max. Frank is ten, loves football and cottage pie. Max is six, will only eat quavers and can only wear one t-shirt (or he melts down down down). Through the eyes of a loveable ten-year old trying to find his space in the world and within his unconventional family unit, Katya Balen tells a story of autism, family, loss, love and what it means to be a sibling.

This is a beautiful, utterly devastating book that, despite being aimed at a middle-grade audie
It's rare I come across a book I like as much as this one. My bookseller gave it to me, because I was talking about forced sentiment and luckily,didn't find it in here at all.

My heart swelled. Oh my. Even the mom dying, it felt on the cards. The universe of it all. The multilayered-ness of it. The characters, the story, the young boy, Frank, coming to terms with his brother, Max. How special Max was, to see autism in that way. Oh boy, it's been a long time since I cried so hard. I loved it so mu
Sarah Juckes
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while, you come across a book that you connect with like it was written for you. This was one of those books.

Told in a beautiful voice, this book will appeal to fans of Annabel Pitcher and 'A Monster Calls'. It'll have you sobbing so hard that you won't be able to read more than a sentence at a time. It'll make you look at autism in a whole new way.

Put this to the top of your 2019 wish list.
Joseph Elliott
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly-written debut, told from the perspective of a ten year old boy, Frank. The protagonist's voice is so believable and engaging, it made me nostalgic for my own childhood. It also makes it all the more devastating when what happens, happens (no spoilers). A beautiful and heartbreaking look at autism, childhood jealousy and loss. Highly recommended. ...more
Christina Reid
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Need to get my thoughts together to review this and do it justice. It is brilliant!
Such a great cross-over adult and children's book like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryan Brinn
It's hard to explain just how much I loved this book!!! The novel is cleverly crafted, speaking effortlessly as a young 10 year old boy named Frank as we learn the honest truths about his family as he goes about his daily life. Frank's mother, has an artistic ability like no other which has had to take a backseat as she evolved into the role of doting mother to Frank and his younger 5 year old brother Max. Max and his severe autism take precedence in the household as everybody rallies around to ...more
Lara Samuels
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible story of finding strength when your world has been shattered by a cosmic change. The publication date listed on the Advance Reader Copy is 10/8/19 and I encourage elementary and middle school libraries to preorder more than one copy now. This is one of “those” books that resonates and will be ragged from all the readers who are going to love it.

This is Katya Balen’s first novel and it is so beautifully written that you hope she has already started writing another. Readers are going to
Mr Rowlands
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Might have shed a tear or two. Heartbreakingly beautiful!
Justin S
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When there is a problem in your family, you need to keep together, and move on.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, moving, will make you feel all the emotions! The boy narrating has a voice realistic for his age and also so poetic at times! Great depiction of having an autistic sibling and both the frustrations and joys that come with it.
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm trying to find words to describe the book.
It's one of those books that ends and you just smile, and then tears you didn't even know you were holding in starts pouring out.
Laura Gardner
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frank is ten years old and his little brother Max is five. Frank is obsessed with ciphers and soccer and loves playing in the woods with his two best friends, Ahmed and Jamie. Max has autism and the family’s life revolves around his needs and meltdowns. Max only eats white food, only talks with his hands and picture cards, and has destructive fits that exhaust everyone. Frank notices that his mother is getting more and more tired and worn down and blames his brother for the change. The entire fa ...more
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