Let's Go to Comic Con!
Stanley lives with his obnxious older brother, harried real estate/account mother, and elderly grandfather who suffers from Parkinson's in California. He attends middle school, but it's becoming increasingly difficult for him to get through the day. His father is doing humanitarian work in Africa, and the boys miss him and his influence terribly. His best friend, Joon, keeps telling him to "be normal", and is hanging around with Dylan more than Stanley would like him to. The principal has frequent disaster assemblies to acquaint students with emergency procedures, but due to Stanley's sensory processing disorder, he finds the commotion and stress overwhelming. After one melt down, he finds himself in the nurse's office, and his mother finally tells the school about his condition. He is shown a room where he can go to decompress if necessary, which is very helpful. In the meantime, he and Joon are making plans to do a puzzle quest in order to earn VIP tickets to the local Comic Con. When Joon decides he would rather do this with Dylan, Stanley gets roped into participating with mysterious new neighbor, Liberty. Liberty is home schooled, lives with her uncle, and has secrets in her past. The two do a very good job with the puzzles, and come very close to getting all of them when Liberty's worried mother descends to take her home. Dylan, despite his anxiety, struggles to finish, and is helped at the very last by an unlikely source. With Liberty gone, will he manage to patch things up with Joon in order to go to Comic Con together?
I would have liked to have known more about Stanley's sensory processing disorder and ways he copes with it. I found it nearly impossible to believe that his mother had never told the school! There is a growing need for books with characters who are not necessarily neurotypical, and like any one kind of characters, the stories are all going to be very different. While I have lists of books about children on the autism spectrum, this is one of the first I have read about a student with a sensory processing disorder.
Comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, and other traditionally "geek" pursuits seem to be having a moment in the sun, and this will be a great read for fans of Rylander's The Legend of Greg or Schreiber's Game Over, Pete Watson.