C.G. Drews's Reviews > When My Heart Joins the Thousand

When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A.J. Steiger
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really liked it
bookshelves: autism, contemporary, read-2018, young-adult, disability

So this was just super heartfelt and just GOOD. Also slow. I won't deny I found the pacing and lack of things happening a little tedious (but I'm the kind of person who finds sleeping tedious because I WANT TO MOVE; so take that onboard). But like altogether it's the kind of book I want people to read when they want to know how the world treats autistic people?!? It was quite good for the autism rep. (Finally, holy heck.)

And there's also animals! Book references! Sandwiches! Feels! Disabilities! And your heart --> in pieces on the ground. All the good stuff we obviously need.

+ I'd also consider this kind of upper-YA, because it's about a 17yo aiming for emancipation.
Basically she has her own apartment, a job, and no parents in the picture. Alvie also is pretty keen to have sex and I always think it's good when YA discusses it (although Alive's reasons for wanting sex are kind of warped; but she knows it...she just wants to prove to herself that she can). But still, themes of independency and searching for a relationship that's going to be forever kiiiinda didn't feel like the average YA. This isn't a negative, more a comment!

+ The actual story = not a lot happened.
Work. Eating a sandwich. Avoiding the social worker's questions. Etc. Etc. It was a bit tedious to me and halfway through I kind of wandered away. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But I came back. I am a conqueror.

+ So let's talk about the autism rep a second, okay?!
I'm always super excited to read ASD books because I'm on the spectrum and we get the most HORRIBLE rep generally. This book absolutely slams you with the bad stuff too though: misdiagnosis, being told "I know there's a real you locked in there somewhere!" and bad parents and ableism slurs. But the book unpacks them. Makes Alvie react to them. Reject them. Makes the good people reject them. That's how it should be in autistic books. And Alvie herself was an amazing and pretty accurate (imo) depiction of a girl on the spectrum! I particularly loved how she haaates smells (SAME and it never comes up in books!!). But she also has super severe PTSD, so like don't mix those symptoms up with her ASD. My only negative is that she was VERY intense with her missing of social cues, which (for reasons) I felt wasn't realistic. Like she's been in therapy as a kid + she's a girl and we're more likely to at least know we're messing up the social cues. But Alvie was like "here let me give you 38 facts about rabbits" and it just felt stereotyped.

But it. was. still. such. good. rep AND THERE WERE SO MANY WHOLESOME MOMENTS I JUST !!!

+ And the ship!? SHIP IT.
Stanley is like the absolute sweetest guy ever, with also a bucket load of problems. He definitely has depression/anxiety and tons of issues from his past aaaaand he's got a severe disability where he breaks bones really easily. So he walks with a cane, is occasionally in a wheelchair, and is often in and out of hospital. I loved reading about him. He was a sweetheart but also had messy reactions to things and screwed up and just AHHH. STANLEY. Flawed but heartfelt characters are my faves. (view spoiler)

+ It's also majorly built on the book Watership Down!
Which I know!! Nothing!! About!! AT ALL!! Ok so I missed a ton of references and it was annoying at times, but I still enjoyed the book.

+ There's tons of frustrating things too, but we're dealing with a book about kids really struggling with mental health too.
So of COURSE they're going to make crappy decisions. I think it was really well presented and handled, even though both of them arghhh. Just stop, children. Stop and sit down and TALK.

Anyway, my solid answer to this book is: yes. Even if I was kind of bored in the middle haha. I mean, I think this book would be great for people facing adulting (ALTHOUGH don't make the decisions Alvie does; holy heck) and just trying to find their way in the world. The ending had me all feeling squishy. And I love how these are two teens who are a bit broken and life has kicked them and they have disabilities -- but there are no messages of 'you need to be fixed'. NONE. I'm so freaking pleased. More like this thanks.
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Reading Progress

September 30, 2016 – Shelved
September 30, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
March 11, 2018 – Started Reading
March 11, 2018 –
page 50
14.2% "It's really nice to find autistic girls (!!) I just wish the word autism wasn't avoided and flinched at. Seriously IT'S NOT A BAD WORD."
March 13, 2018 – Shelved as: autism
March 13, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
March 13, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
March 13, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 13, 2018 – Shelved as: disability
March 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Kirsti (new) - added it

Kirsti YA and Watership Down? this sounds too good to be true!

C.G. Drews Is it terrible admit I don't actually know anything about Watership Down. 😂

message 3: by Kirsti (new) - added it

Kirsti Probably but there's still time to remedy that haha

message 4: by Tandie (new) - added it

Tandie Great review. I was trying to decide if I want to get the audiobook. There’s an animated movie of Watership Down. Pretty old, like back in the original Disney Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty day. Still...rabbits leaving their violent society in a quest for Utopia. Bunnies in peril!

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