C.G. Drews's Reviews > Are You Seeing Me?

Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, aussie-authors, contemporary, read-2014, young-adult, autism

Oh how I love this book. It was one of those impulse-clicks on Netgalley. I swore I'd stop doing them...but then I turn up gems like these that I would never have thought to try! This book is so so special and how even am I going to explain it?

First of all, it's about Australian twins, Justine and Perry, going for a holiday in Canada. Bring out the moose, eh? (I know, that's a vicious Canadian stereotype, but if it makes the Canadians feel any better when I think "moose" I think "Supernatural" not Canada. But I'm digressing, aren't I?) Books about Australians are awesome, especially when they are fair dinkum Aussies. They use words like "sticky-beak" and talk about "Possum Magic". IT IS SO AUSTRALIAN. The humour is very Australian too. Lots of sarcasm. Lots of dry humour.

Like Justine's response to people staring at Perry:

"You've never seen a disabled person and their homicidal carer before?"


I'm just snickering over here, don't mind me.

I do scowl at the blurb because...it's a "holiday" not a "roadtrip". I'm not fond of misleading blurbs, but this one IS a doozy. Look, they go in an airplane across the ocean to Canada. Yes, there is a bit of driving. But one does not call a flight to Canada a roadtrip. No.

Let's talk about the characters, eh? (See what I did there? With the "eh"? Okay...forget it.) I absolutely adored both Justine and Perry! It's dual narrated, but in quite BIG sections. So you really get comfortable inside Justine's POV...and then it'll switch to Perry. I think that helped me get to know them sufficiently before it moosed to a different viewpoint.

They're twins, their 19, their dad has just died, and they're taking a holiday before some Big Life Changes happen. (That's all in the blurb, so not spoilers.) Perry has a brain condition, which I suspect is basically Autism. When it flipped to his POV, it was so excellently written! His voice is completely different to Justine's. Long sentences. Imaginary scenarios. And he didn't explain anything. He just narrated like it was happening in his head.

Like they went out to eat and Justine orders, and Perry starts thinking about food poisoning and imagining everyone in the restaurant dying. But he's saying everyone is dying around him. As the reader we have to pick out what's real and what's not real. I loved that.

Justine is also all types of awesome. She's caring. She's stressed. And she's capable. None of this clingy desperate lovesick YA that I keep falling into. This is real and kind of sad, but beautiful.

Let's moose over to talk about why the author wrote this. Like the stalker-reader I am, I snuck onto the author's website and read his blog. He actually has twins himself, and he wrote this book for his daughter. His son has autism. I don't think he wrote this book about them (since they're not yet teens), but he wrote it for them, and HOLD MY MOOSE (meese?) that's just incredibly sweet. It made me trust the book 100% too, because the author knows what he's talking about.

The writing and characters are just fabulous. What more do I want in a book?

I wouldn't call it the most original thing I've ever read. But it's enjoyable. It's sweet. There are some serious NO STAHP moments, and then I just wanted to hug my kindle.

But if nothing else, you want to read this for the Aussie humour, okay? Okay.

(This is Justine imagining HOW they should be greeted arriving in Vancouver...so her little dry interior monologue:)

Yes, go straight through. No need for passports. We love Australians here in Canada...We know you've had a rough flight. We know you've had a rough LIFE. All those sharks and snakes and rugby players trying to kill you every moment of the day. Far be it from us to make things more difficult. And, here, have this leftover gold medal from the Vancouver Winter Olympics. You've earned it.


I died at the "sharks and snakes and rugby players trying to kill you"...Welcome to 'Straya MATE.

This is like 4.5 (except Goodreads doesn't allow half stars so I don't usually bother with them). I LOVED it, but it was a bit predictable. It was happy/sad and bitter/sweet and I loved viewing the world through Perry AND Justine's eyes. And also I got to make lame moose jokes, so that's fun, eh?
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Reading Progress

July 16, 2014 – Shelved
July 16, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
July 22, 2014 – Started Reading
July 22, 2014 –
50.0% "Oh, I LIKE THIS. It's very Aussie, too. They full on just said "sticky-beak". This makes me happy."
July 23, 2014 – Shelved as: 4-star
July 23, 2014 – Shelved as: aussie-authors
July 23, 2014 – Shelved as: contemporary
July 23, 2014 – Shelved as: read-2014
July 23, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 23, 2014 – Finished Reading
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: autism

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Shannon (It Starts At Midnight) You must be stopped. My TBR is getting out of hand. Now I want this one too!


C.G. Drews SOMEBODY BLIND FOLD ME AND TELL ME NO MORE BOOKS.


message 3: by mahima (new)

mahima It looks like a good one! Thanks for the review Cait!


message 4: by Cassie (new) - added it

Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers) I just got on NetGalley with full intentions of requesting (ignoring my massive TBR list on my Kindle already) and I'M SO SAD IT'S ONLY AUSTRALIAN. There are SO MANY good-looking Aussie books out recently, and I just want to read them all!


message 5: by bird (new) - added it

bird I NEED THIS BOOK.


C.G. Drews Mawa: THANKS! *whispers* It was really really good.

Cassie: I'M SO SORRY. :(( I actually think it's stupid how Netgalley is so restricted. I mean, why can't we promote books out of our countries?? With places like Book Depository that ships anywhere, it's not like no one would be able to make the purchase, right?! There are so many American books I want to read BUT THEY WON'T LET ME. *offers condoling chocolate*

Bobbie: YES YOU DO.


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