Aurora can be a bit too much; too much talking, too much activity, and too much volume. Frenchie, on the other hand, doesn’t talk at all. Aurora likes that about Frenchie. She doesn’t have to worry about interrupting him, like she tends to do to everyone else. After Frenchie and his mother Gracia move in next door, he and Aurora become best friends. They spend hours hiking through the Maine countryside with Frenchie silently bird watching and Aurora giving a running commentary while she hunts for a tourmaline for her rock collection.
After three years of being in the same class together, they get put in different rooms for sixth grade. Aurora had always helped Frenchie navigate through the school day, and she worries how he can manage without her. She also worries about how she will manage without Frenchie. His quiet, calmness is a steadying influence on her. They are each other’s special person.
One morning, Aurora gets distracted by her new friends, and she forgets to walk Frenchie to his class room. He never makes it there.
The whole town shows up at the fire station to join in the hunt for the missing child. Aurora feels horribly guilty for not taking care of her best friend. She has to find him. She just has to!
This is one of the most sensitive depictions of neurodiversity that I’ve read. Frenchie is a nonverbal autistic child and Aurora has all the hallmarks of ADHD. Written in alternating first-person POV, it was neat to get inside the mind of these children and see the world the way they do. I also enjoyed that Aurora and Frenchie have support from their teachers and acceptance from the community. Besides learning more about neurodiversity, I was touched and uplifted by this heartwarming story. I highly recommend.
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