The View from the Very Best House in Town

The View from the Very Best House in Town
Age Range
Release Date
February 08, 2022
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onnybrooke, the mansion that sits on the highest hill in Coreville, is the best house in town. But when Sam is accepted into snobbish Castleton Academy as an autistic “Miracle Boy,” he leaves Asha, who is also autistic, to navigate middle school alone. He also leaves her wondering if she can take anything for granted anymore. Because soon Sam is spending time with Prestyn, Asha’s nemesis, whose family owns Donnybrooke and, since a housewarming party gone wrong, has forbidden Asha to set foot inside. Who is Asha without Sam? And who will she be when it becomes clear that Prestyn’s interest in her friend isn’t so friendly? Told from the points of view of Asha, Sam, and Donnybrooke itself, this suspenseful and highly original debut explores issues of ableism and classism as it delves into the mysteries of what makes a person a friend and a house a home.

Editor review

1 review
Friendship can be hard.
Overall rating
Writing Style
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What worked:
The story is told from three points of view. Sam and Asha are the two main characters, and they’ve both been diagnosed with autism. They’ve been tight friends growing up, but now Sam’s been accepted into an elite school, leaving Asha to fend for herself. Strangely, Donnybrooke shares a third point of view even though it’s the most magnificent mansion in Coreville. Can a house be vain? The various points of view explore issues of friendship, privilege/social status, and autism, and the author shares characters’ feelings with sensitivity and insight.
Prestyn is the daughter of the family living in Donnybrooke, and her character poses a puzzle to solve. She’s the snooty rich girl readers might expect, but she takes an interest in befriending Sam, if befriend is the correct word to use. She invites him to Donnybrooke to work on a school project, but it’s clear she does it to antagonize her mother. She displays hurt feelings at times and invites Sam over to her house every Thursday, but the underlying question is why she’s doing it. It’s crystal clear that she detests Asha, and the source of her ill-temper is eventually revealed.
While Sam is the character attending the more prestigious school with more opportunities, Asha is the one better at handling her difficulties. Sam’s problems begin on Day 1 when the head of the school singles him out during a school assembly. She thinks calling him “Miracle Boy” is a compliment, but it makes him a target for other students. Assumptions are made about his abilities, and he finds his interest in space being stifled. Making friends has never been more difficult. Asha has an older brother in college, and he offers her support and advice along the way. She gets frustrated with his cryptic thoughts, but he encourages her to be herself. Young readers can also learn a thing or two.
What didn’t work as well:
While the main characters interact, it’s hard early on to see where the story’s headed since there isn’t a clear conflict that needs to be resolved. Asha and Sam have similar, but different, problems that eventually come together. The course of events feels very realistic without the author manipulating them into a literary happy ending. The story plays out in a natural, satisfying way.
The Final Verdict:
Friendship can be hard. The author sensitively shares the thoughts and emotions of two young friends just trying to be accepted. The unfair treatment they receive throughout the story is frustrating, but young readers should appreciate how the characters persevere. I recommend you give it a shot.
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