"Corinne Duyvis: How did Rory come into being? Was her autism an integral part of her character from the start, or did that aspect develop later on?
Jennifer Castle: […] After a lot of thought, I realized the thing I was most interested in was not necessarily the journey of an autistic protagonist (and honestly, I didn’t feel I was qualified to pull that off), but the story of a friendship between a neurotypical protagonist and her childhood bestie whose autism created problems that drove them apart. Because that’s a story you don’t see often in literature, but one I think many readers can relate to. So as the premise of You Look Different took shape and I had to come up with five very different characters who would fit together like interlocking puzzle pieces, Rory came into being. In the book, Rory and the main character, Justine, are inseparable at age six, but by eleven, Rory’s quirks are beginning to wear on Justine. I think that happens normally among girls around that age, autism or no autism — in general, their tolerance level for anything they see as “weird” goes way down. Peer pressure goes way up. Many kids who are stuck in the middle get socially crushed by that collision.
The autism factor felt like an intriguing prism to look at how friendships change as we grow up. Now sixteen and more mature, Justine feels intense regret and guilt about the way she cut Rory out of her life, but doesn’t know how to fix it.”
In honor of Disability in Kidlit's one-year anniversary, you have a chance to win a signed copy of Jennifer Castle’s YA contemporary novel You Look Different in Real Life, which features a neurotypical protagonist and her autistic best friend. Simply leave a comment on the WordPress post or reblog this Tumblr post. (Yes, doing both increases your chances!) In one week, we’ll select a single winner from one of these locations. This giveaway is open worldwide!
The other day, I saw an anon post by a (presumably) Jewish person lamenting the lack of Jewish themes in YA that didn’t fall under the category of WWII/Holocaust-based tragic stories. That does seem to very much be the trend… it’s difficult to find Jewish characters and societies in YA outside of the WWII narrative, and even then, they’re often not the viewpoint character.
Enter STARGLASS and the upcoming sequel, STARBREAK, both by Phoebe North. These books begin on a generational starship that was founded based on Jewish religion and culture. The entire society is heavily steeped in Judaism, and it’s present throughout the novel(s). If this interests you, I recommend them!
[although I must do so with trigger warnings for depression and suicide]
STARBREAK will be released July 15.
These are inventive and gorgeously written books. Here’s to Jews In Space!
IN MAY 1984, Samantha Baker came downstairs for school to discover something horrific: her family had completely forgotten it was her sixteenth birthday.
Samantha, of course, was Molly Ringwald in a fedora. The film was Sixteen Candles, and the moment was pivotal for the American Teen Movie.
Well, sure. There are other moments in John Hughes’ first outing as writer-director, which was released…