Review On the Spectrum

I received this book from the publisher through Netgally in exchange for an honest review.

Growing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she decides to escape for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. Charged with his care, Clara and Alastair set out to explore the city. Paris teaches Clara about first love and gives her a new love of food. And Alastair teaches Clara about patience, trust and the beauty of loving without judgment

my-thoughtsFor some reason the synopsis doesn’t say that much about the book I mean it was enough to get me interested in it but it’s missing one important detail. In the beginning of the book Clara is diagnosed with orthorexia, throughout the book her family whom she doesn’t know well, and boyfriend help her to come to terms with this. Clara has only seen her father a few times in her whole life, but not because he’s a bad guy, he’s not in this much and maybe not enough you don’t get to know him well and it doesn’t feel like Clara does either. There is some romance in this as usual I had problems with it but not for the usual reasons the love interest Michael aggravated me because he seemed to think he could cure Clara’s eating disorder and kept trying to get her to eat foods she found repulsive. This isn’t a story of love curing mental illness however the message that it doesn’t work that way wasn’t as strong as it should have been.

I think this could help people to understand orthorexia and autism spectrum disorder better but the representation is definitely did not seem perfect, I’m not an expert though. I think the main problem is the characters are two dimensional, it’s partly because the book is so short, and this resulted in a few moments where Alastair felt like a bunch of symptoms instead of a fully developed character. I’m certain there’s books with much better representation of ASD however I had never read a book before with a character who has orthorexia (or any eating disorder) and this is the only book I know of that features it. I appreciate that it teaches people about something that they might not have even heard of before I’m just not sure how well executed it was.

The center of the story is Clara getting to know her half brother Alastair, Alastair is a very sweet kid and my favorite character that’s not saying much though. I didn’t particularly like or dislike any of the characters they are all underdeveloped. Alastair and Clara have a lovely well developed relationship much of the book is them exploring Paris these scenes were enjoyable but not as charming as I wanted them to be. The whole book wasn’t as charming as I wanted it to be I wasn’t expecting it to be amazing just a quick heartwarming read but it ended up being a just okay book for me. I liked the sweet moments between Clara and Alastair but everything else fell flat. Even though its not a terrible book, it had it’s good moments, but I don’t think I’ll be reading anything else by the author.

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